Rover Book List – Scouting and Leading

Aside from Scouting for Boys and Rovering to Success, what other books can a person read to learn more about scouting? Here is a book list compiled by Rovers all across the country of books they have read to help them in their journey as scouters and leaders. Many of these are chosen for being more inclusive or having a different depth of information. Some are older books, and some are new.  Please let us know if you have books to add to this list.

  • Scouting for Girls—Adapted from Girl Guiding, by Baden-Powell, 1916.
  • How Girls Can Help the Empire, by Agnes Baden-Powell.
  • How Girls Can Help Their Country, by Juliet Gordon Lowe et al; adapted from AgnesB-P’s book.
  • Scouting for Girls (GSUSA handbook; any pre-war edition)
  • Juliet Gordon Low, The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts, by [historian] StaceyA. Cordery, 2013. A solid historical read of Low’s life.
  • The Boy-Man. By [British biographer and Oxford scholar] Tim Jeal. This is a solid work,written journalistically and addressing “the whole story” about B-P, i.e., his altruism and enthusiasm but also his odd family life, the fact that he was almost certainly an oppressed gay man, the colonialism and military atrocities of the time, classism in B-P’s era, etc. It’s all footnoted—a really good read. (I kind of feel that all scouters should read this; it helps see B-P as a real (and flawed) person and helps us avoid pedestals and blind romanticism.)
  • A Woman Tenderfoot, by Grace Gallatin Seton, 2011. Adventure and life through as told by Ernest Thompson Seton’s wife.
  • Braiding Sweetgrass- Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Wisdom of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2015. (Recommended by Kristen Klever)
  • Camp Fire Girls: The Original Manual of 1912, by Luther Halsey Gulick (1910 co- founder of Camp Fire), 1912.
  • The Book of Woodcraft, by Ernest Thompson Seton, 1921or The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore (Legacy Edition): A Classic Manual on Camping, Scouting, Outdoor Skills, Native American History, and Nature, by Ernest Thompson Seton (paperback, 2020). As one of scouting’s progenitors via his “Woodcraft Indians,” Seton’s books are an essential read and full of sketches. Note, though, that much of his content is based on American Indian/Native American practices and philosophies. Seton wrote the first BSA handbook, and was the BSA’s first Chief Scout.
  • Annapurna: A Woman’s Place by Arlene Blum
  • Black Faces, White Spaces by Carolyn Finney
  • Anna Comstock’s ‘Handbook of Nature Study.‘ Written in 1911 and updated around 1940??, it’s just full of golden moments.
  • The Skillful Hands manual, by Albert Boekholt, with his illustrations, and also with excellent illustrations by Pierre Joubert, another universal Scouting painter, both French Scouts. The book is an illustrated guide to handicrafts for outdoor camps and is a real gem for anyone who likes Pioneering, a noble fundamental art of Scouting, based on the use of tools and the knots and ties necessary for camping constructions and outdoor life in Nature. The book has chapters on the necessary tools: axes, hammers, saws, knots, ropes, wooden wedges, and also shows how to build shelters, masts, enable areas for cleaning, kitchen, etc. The first edition in French is from 1950. You can download it, in pdf, in spanish with images here. 
  • Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. Frank, uncomfortably introspective and right  n the day’s headlines, it will challenge her readers. Opens up all aspects of racism. Not a kids book in anyway. Interesting and mind opening. 
  • Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape Paperback – September 13, 2016 by Lauret Savoy.  Lauret Edith Savoy writes poetically about her experiences in nature and the traces of her personal history as a Black woman, physical history of the places she visits and other voices in history about those places.
  • The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World  – February 1, 2011 Edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming and Lauret Savoy


6 Responses

  1. I would add that “Black Earth Wisdom” by Leah Penniman would be a great book for all Rovers to read.

  2. Larrry Faust says:

    Surprised that BP’s “Rovering to Success” isn’t listed. A PDF version can be found at

  3. Jeanie Antonelle says:

    “How to Catch a Mole” by Marc Hamer.

  4. Ken Pataky says:

    These are the books I suggest you add to your Girl Scouts Rovering list:

    Adventuring to Manhood (Baden-Powell),
    BSA Guidebook to Senior Scouting,
    Crew Scouter’s Handbook (BSAC),
    Knotting (Gilcraft),
    Look Wide: A Guide for Senior Scouting (BSA UK),
    Once A Scout Always a Scout (Hale),
    Pioneering (Gilcraft),
    Rover Scouting (Griffith),
    Rover Scouts (Gilcraft),
    Scouting Out of Doors (Gilcraft),
    Scouting Round the World (B-P),
    What Scouts Can Do (B-P)

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