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National Outdoor Book Awards

The Prize


The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is one of the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award programs. Click here for our index and the current award winners.

The purpose of the Awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing for books relating to the outdoors, nature, the environment. The National Outdoor Book Awards are administered by a non-profit, educational institution.


Children's Book Category: Any children’s book dealing with nature or outdoor activities is acceptable. Age orientation may range from pre-school to teen years.

 Year Title and Author(s)
2005 The Little Green Island With a Little Red House: A Book of Colors and Critters by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Jane Dyer
"On a little green island, stands a little red house, with a little orange cat, a little gray mouse..." So begins, Sharon Lovejoy's gem of a children's book about colors and critters. Written for young children, ages three and older, Lovejoy uses tender rhyme, playful fonts, and wondrous illustrations to introduce a bestiary of creatures inhabiting homes, yards, fields and woods. It's certain to excite and delight all young budding naturalists.
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2004 Whose Garden Is It? by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Jane Dyer
Who owns that beautiful garden blooming with every color of the rainbow? The gardener says it belongs to him. But the woodchuck insists it's his. And so does the rabbit, the butterfly, and the little squash bug. This lovingly done book does what all good children's books should do: it stimulates thought, and through words and illustrations, it asks youngsters to reach their own conclusion to that pressing question: who really owns that garden? (For ages 3-7.)
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Dot & Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Dot and Jabber are mice — mighty dapper looking mice, we might add — and they have an interesting vocation. They are detectives. Their job in the Big Bug Mystery is to find out what happened to all the bugs in the meadow that have suddenly disappeared.

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Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie by Gloria Whelan
This story is about a young girl, Holly, whose family lives in the country in the upper Midwest. It is a particularly difficult time for the family and there's little money available to purchase Holly a coat for the winter. Then Nellie, Holly's mother comes up with an idea: they'll pick berries and sell jam and jelly.
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2002 Wild Wings: Poems for Young People by Jane Yolen, Jason Stemple (Photographs)
Wild Wings is a beautiful collaborative effort between author Jane Yolen and her son, Jason, the book's photographer. The images, both visual and verbal, can't help but engage a child's interest and nurture a desire to learn about birds. For ages: 10-12.
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What Does the Sky Say? by Nancy White Carlstrom, Illustrated by Tim Ladwig
In What Does the Sky Say?, a child watches the sky through the changing of the seasons and in all kinds of weather, all the while learning to listen to the voice of the sky. The message of Nancy White Carlstrom's imaginative and poetic text is calming and inspiring, and Tim Ladwig's colorful illustrations capture the magic of childhood and our deep connection to all creation. For all ages.
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Coyote and Badger: Desert Hunters of the Southwest by Bruce Hiscock
This book, for children from 7 to 10 years old, is a natural history story about predators and their struggle to survive. The tale unfolds when a coyote and badger meet and a mysterious bond forms between the two as they begin hunting together. Set in New Mexico among Anasazi ruins, the story is perfectly complemented with Bruce Hiscock's warm and luminous watercolors of a spacious desert.
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Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon
This sweet and tender tale is about a baby's shoe which is lost while a family is picking blueberries. A wondrous scene unfolds as a sequence of creatures come along and sleep and play with the shoe. One, a bear, even thinks he might eat the shoe. Filled with colorful and enchanting illustrations and marvelously written, it's a book that will delight children and reassure their sense of belonging to the natural world. (For ages 4-10).
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Jellies: The Life of Jellyfish by Twig C. George
Beautifully photographed, Jellies is an extraordinary book which manages to make science appeal to the minds and hearts of children. It's rich in facts about this fascinating creature of the sea, but even richer in imagination and the joy of discovery. (For ages 8-10)
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1999 The Inuksuk Book by Mary Wallace
An Inuksuk is a stone structure, a type of road sign, used by the Inuits of the Arctic to communicate important information. They show the way when travelers are a long way from home, or warn of dangerous places, or point to a place of reverence. This 64-page book, which will intrigue children of the pre-teen years, consists of a series of short stories about the Inuksuk and its importance in the Inuit culture.
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Honorable Mentions
bulletLadybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada (2002)


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The National Outdoor Book Award Categories
This is a non-profit, educational program. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges consisting of respected outdoor columnists, authors, educators, and book reviewers from throughout the country. In early November, the NOBA committee announces the winners of the nine categories that make up the awards program plus a set of books that achieved honorable mentions. The NOBA awards are given in nine different categories.
bulletChildren's Books
bulletDesign and Artistic Merit
bulletHistory and Biography
bulletInstructional and How-To
bulletNatural History Literature
bulletNature and Environment
bulletNature Guidebooks
bulletOutdoor Adventure Guidebooks
bulletOutdoor Classics
bulletOutdoor Literature

If you like this list of outdoor award winners, you may enjoy these additional lists of award winning books on mountaineering. Check out the winners (and finalists) of the following awards:

American Alpine Literary Award


Banff Mountain Book Awards


Boardman-Tasker Memorial Award for Mountain Literature


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