When I picked up “A Girl’s Guide to the Wild,” I assumed it was going to be a sassy outdoors guide for women. As in, “girls weekend” and “girls night out” and all the other times women call themselves “girls.”
But the guide, written by Oregon-native Ruby McConnell and illustrated by Seattleite Teresa Grasseschi, is actually for girls — females not yet 18, and specifically 9–12.
Empowering and entertaining, the handbook, out today for $18, covers the basics of hiking and camping, and offers ideas for places to go, activities to try — from building fish traps to panning for gold — and food to make. It includes guides to more advanced skills, such as reading and drawing maps, building fires and constructing a weather station.
But it also keeps girls fully in mind, delving into topics not generally covered in outdoors guides, such as taking care of long hair, finding private places to change and dealing with your period out in nature.
Perhaps the best parts of the book are the mini-profiles of adventurous women — including Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts; Libby Riddles, a dogsledding champion; and Fannie Farmer, the inventor of the standard measure. Short and inspiring, the profiles show the range of ways girls can chart their own courses — whether in the outdoors or not.
And for those women looking for an outdoor guide of their own? McConnell wrote that handbook in 2016 — titled, appropriately enough, “A Woman’s Guide to the Wild.”