What’s better than cozying up with a great book on a rainy day? How about getting outside and having a book-inspired adventure once the sun starts shining again? We’ve paired up a collection of new children’s titles by local authors with real-life, nearby adventures that you and your family can embark on, ripped straight from the stories!

For this pairing, we are spotlighting new books featuring the ever-popular (among the discerning under-eight literary critic circle) animal theme. From intrepid whales and sea lions to adorable baby bears and elephants, the stars of these picture books will keep you turning the pages, and the suggested activities will help bring the characters to life! Click through for our six recommendations for reading and adventure!

Explore the Savanna with Elephants

Read this: Meet Me at the Moon, by Gianna Marino. When Mama elephant must leave to ask the skies for rain, Little One begs her to stay. Mama uses familiar landmarks (the wind, sun, and stars) to reassure her baby that she will come back, ending, “When the night sky is bright, Little One, meet me at the moon, where the sky touches the earth.” A simple but poignant tale of love and faith with beautiful portraits of the African landscape.

Then do this: You’ve seen them in books and movies, but nothing compares to viewing the largest land mammals on earth up close. The Oakland Zoo is home to one male and three female African elephants, housed in a 200-acre naturalistic enclosure. Elephant lovers will want to attend the special Feast for the Beasts event on March 28, when visitors get to place produce in the elephants’ pen and watch them devour it.

9777 Golf Links Rd
Oakland, CA
Online: oaklandzoo.org

Do you have any suggestions for other book-inspired local adventures? Tell us in the comments below!

—Emma smith