There have been many books in my Guiding Life. Some were inspirational, and some I use on a regular basis when planning events or engaging with my girls. I think stories and books are an important part of delivering a well-rounded program. I share a list of them here with you now. Feel free to ask me for more information about any of these books!
Girl Guide Books
This is such a fantastic book. So inspirational! It really illustrates how Girl Guides is not just some social club for girls, but a progressive movement that teaches girls how to value themselves through strength and community service. I highly recommend it to every guider. I’ve read excerpts of it to girls as young as Sparks and they were excited to belong to such a noble organization!
Ok, not strictly a Girl Guide book, but this gem was written by a Grade 6 Girl Scout, for other Girl Scouts! This book about self-confidence shows how Girl Scout Alice Paul Tapper took an idea and turned it into a national movement to give girls more confidence. After noticing that girls at school weren’t participating as much as boys, she put a plan into action and used her voice to encourage others to use theirs. Now Alice wants kids everywhere to be brave, be bold, and raise their hands!
This book has it all! Singing songs, telling ghost stories, playing games or roasting hot dogs. It helps teach kids how to build a safe, blazing campfire, then discover all the fun things you can do around it!~ Toast some s’mores, hold a wolf howl, or create your owwn musical instruments for a singalong.
Such a great resource for anyone taking children out into nature. No-nonsense advice about all aspects of roughing it with kids in tow!
Cookbooks for Camping (or fun!)
I have found many recipes in this book that I make again and again for my campers! Kids like to look at the pictures and its easy for them to pick out recipes.
A CANADIAN Camping cookbook! Great for recipes related to specific (and popular!) spots in Canada. Let the girls pick a dish for where you are going, or plan a whole meeting around trying out different recipes from different campgrounds in Canada! Great resource for Sparks-Rangers!
The Camping Cookbook (another one!)
Quick and easy recipes for delicious outdoor cooking. Another good one to let the older girls browse through to plan a camping menu. Great illustrations
Be Unique (Be Yourself!)
A classic tale of a bull who was not like the other bulls. But he was happy and peaceful!
This story about a pig with a passion is about following your dreams! Others may not think a pig can dance, but you do you, Brave Girl!
This is a book about unconditional love and acceptance. It’s more for Sparks age, but I don’t hesitate to read it to Brownies too. Some kids never hear that they are loved, or valued. It’s sad, but true. I want all my girls to know that they ARE loved and valued, no matter what they are feeling or how they are.
This book is for girls that need a reminder that they are wonderful, smart and beautiful.
This picture book help children understand what Autism is and how it affects someone who has it. They will learn that Autism may cause people to behave in ways that are different from what we are used to because their brains work differently. This book explains that Autism is not bad or something to be afraid of.
This is a great book to help kids understand Asperger’s (now called High Functioning Autism). It talks about all the ways kids with Autism can be different, why they sometimes do things that appear strange or unusual. It leaves the kids with a sense of the dignity, individuality, and potential of people with Asperger Syndrome. Pluys, you know…CATS!
This book is actually designed for children who are just learning about their own Autism diagnosis, but I think it really simply and carefully lays out what Autism looks like, and explains certain behaviors quite well, especially for the Sparks age.
What is perfect for you? For a persnickety eraser, “perfect” is making sure these book pages are spotless. For a fun-loving pencil, “perfect” is making a squiggly mess. By doing what they each do best, can this imperfect pair become perfect pals?
A host of silly animals demonstrate the shared love found in all combinations of family relationships!
Our friends come in different shapes and sizes, this book is really great for Sparks when it comes to talking about how we make our promise to “share and be a friend”.
Ever feel like you just can’t keep up with someone? You do something, it seems like they do something better? Well that’s goat’s problem. Can he and Unicorn ever find a way to be friends despite their differences?
We go on a lot of outtings. It’s important for the girls to get out into the community and have adventures. Many people marvel at the fact that we can take 20-30 Spark and Brownie aged girls out into the world and never lose a single one! It has to do with our motto: Be Prepared! This super simple book is a great way to talk to girls about what to do if they do feel lost. It’s a very quick, matter of fact book that gives a very clear and proper example of what to do!
There is a lot more to life than being “right”. That’s a difficult concept for adults, let alone children who tend to think in black and white. This book shows us that we can do what we love, even if its not perfect!
A Little Bit Brave is a funny, reassuring picture book which shows that we’re all a lot braver than we think. Its a great book to read as you prepare for that first Sparks or Brownie sleepover!
I’m pretty sure you all know this one! Its a fantastic story for children who need a little reassurance when it comes to being separated from their families for sleepovers and such. Use it as prep work for those Sparks or Brownie sleepovers! Make sure to let parents know too!
We all have to find our own groove. Don’t not do something because everyone else seems to be able to something better! Get out there and give it your all!! This story is usually followed up by my telling them all about how Rainbow Owl can’t sing, but I love to sing so much, and have so much fun dong campfires that I won’t let a silly thing like lack of talent stop me!! I do it to have fun, and I do have fun! Then we all talk about things everyone is nervous about trying and how we can try it!
This book is pretty popular with schoolteachers, so I don’t introduce it to the girls unless I’ve checked to see if they’ve read it in school. This is a story about bravery and how we can overcome our fears with this important strategy: Think-Tell-Do. When he thinks he is afraid, he tells himself he can do it, and then he just does it. It’s a good book to read before trying anything new, especially something intimidating like Low Ropes or tubing, or even a Sparks or Brownie Sleepover.
Making a mistake is a great way to learn! Childhood is full of mistakes and kids shouldn’t feel guilty or bad about them! They should learn from them! This book explores some ways we learn from our mistakes! Don’t be afraid to try.
Never give up on your dreams. The things we want are sometimes difficult to attain, but all that hard work and effort is worth it when we reach our goals!
Another great book about perseverance. Sometimes things are hard to do, especially if they are scary. But if you stay calm, think your way through, you’re going to make it!
The square starts out as just that—a red, four cornered shape. However, in the following pages, it is cut into tiny pieces, ripped into strips, and painted a variety of colors. With each new challenge from the unseen force, the square creates something new—and beautiful.
This is a metaphor for the ways forces out of our control can utterly change our constitution in life, but we always have the option of picking up the pieces and starting anew. The best part is, it’s not super obvious and it doesn’t tell the children what to think. It’s great for some meaningful discussion on resilience.
Children need to learn to recognize feelings of anger, express them, and build skills for coping in helpful, appropriate ways. In this book, children learn that it is okay to feel angry–but not okay to hurt anyone with actions or words. It offers skills for self-calming, getting help, talking and listening, apologizing, being patient, and viewing others positively, so they can feel peaceful again. It includes a special section for you with discussion questions, activities and games and tips that reinforce these important anger management skills.
“I promise to share and be a friend.” What does it mean to share? This book presents sharing as a positive choice, then describes four ways to share. It points out that sharing goes beyond things: Children can also share their knowledge,, their creativity, and their time. What if they don’t want to share? Or if someone wont’ share with them? That’s in there too!
In this book a young child describes what it means to have rights–from the right to food, water and shelter, to the right to go to school, be free from violence, to breathe clean air, and more. These rights belong to every child on the planet, whether they are “Black or white, small or big, rich or poor, born here or somewhere else.” And it is of the greatest importance that we all respect these rights.
Jack’s limitless creativity and infectious enthusiasm will inspire budding young inventors to imagine their own fantastical designs. It’s great before engaging in an art activity or a STEM one!
A box is just a box . . . unless it’s not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows. This book is perfect for Sparks or Brownies that will be building towns or forts out of boxes, or making their own drive-in movie cars!
Each of us has an artistic spirit just waiting to be discovered! Come along as this exuberant gang gets creative–painting, singing, dancing, cooking…There is no end to where our imaginations can take us when we Think Big!
Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth’s life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day.
Science and STEM
I love to inject a little Girl Power into all our STEM projects. This book has wonderful examples of intelligent, creative, problem-solving women to inspire our girls and give them real-life heroes!
Rainy Day Kids Adventure Book (outdoor games and activities for rain, snow and wind)
This book is just packed with outdoor activities, games, crafts and fun for rainy, windy and snowy days! I keep a backpack stocked with all the things needed to do the activities in this book. The girls love to see that backpack come out!
A great book of tested and true science projects that can largely be done with things around your house: insulating gloves, stunning spaghetti towers, automatons, and more!
Project Garden: A Month-By-Month Guide to Planting, Growing and Enjoying ALL Your Backyard Has to Offer
This book has amazing ideas for gardening with kids! It’s actually made for families to enjoy gardening together, but most of the projects can be done on a larger scale! If your unit is interested in gardening, this is the book for you! It has a lots of upcycling projects too!
Science from this book requires no specialized equipment or dangerous chemicals. Instead, they use materials most of us keep in our pantries to introduce the fundamental principles of physics, chemistry and biology.
Going on a night hike? Camping under the stars? This book nicely compliments such activities with engaging information about owls and bats.
I love this simple book for Sparks. Two friends celebrate what makes each month so special. It’s a great way to help Sparks understand the seasonal cycle and I’ve found it can be helpful in trying to get Sparks to plan out in a Girl’s First Fashion (because they sometimes have a hard time imagining what February will look like in September!) You could even use it to theme out your months: “May is time for Flowers”, “June is time for bugs” etc.
Some really fum stuff to help kids consolidate and master what they have learned at school. Most of the hands-on experiments only require common everyday objects that can be found in the home. Some really good stuff in here!
This is such a great resource. The inside is filled with history, legend, and the history of a people sadly often forgotten when it comes to understanding Canada. I draw stroies and myths from this book all the time, and I can compliment them with the information in the book!
How can we talk to children about the devastating effects of residential schools and the issues Canada faces now with reconciliation? Shi-shi-etko and Shin-Chi’s Canoe are a fantastic start.
This book is so great if you’re planning to do any holiday baking with your Sparks or Brownies. It will help you talk about what you want to do, how you’ll do it and what kind of safety issues might come up.
A big storm is coming and Emily Elizabeth and her family must evacuate to a shelter! It can be a scary situation, but with Clifford involved, we know everything will work out just fine! We use this book when we are working on our Emergency Preparedness Challenge (Ontario) as a way to discover what evacuating is, why we might need to evacuate, and how we can prepare.
A classic book that explores good deeds.I especially like it because it talks about how not all good deeds are successful, but its the thought that counts!
Filled with true stories of inspiring women who broke the social and cultural norms of their times and places to innovate, improve, and breathe creative life into the world. Anytime I can work one of these stories into my programming, I do.
Calling all Rainbows and Rainbow Owls! I read this story at the end of the year to my girls and I get a little choked up. Not only is it appropriate for Spring, I hope it lets them know that even though we will now go our own ways, a piece of me goes with them.
You can find most of these books in your local libraries. If you choose to buy one, please consider doing so by clicking through my links to Amazon. You don’t pay any extra, but a small portion of the sale goes toward paying for the upkeep of this site.