Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It's National Parks Week! Here are some books to help you celebrate it.

America's National Parks are 100 years old this year and it's also National Parks Week, which very nicely and deliberately coincides with Earth Day on April 23rd.  The parks, after all, are all about conservation.  National Parks Week runs from April 18 to April 24, 2016 and to help you enjoy the natural beauty and history of these parks, admission is FREE.  Whether you are a first-time or returning visitor, there is always so much to do and to see and learn.

And to help kids enjoy the parks, National Geographic has published three centennial books all about the parks and things they can do.

National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition: The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast
Sarah Wassner Flynn and Julie Beer
National Geographic Kids
2016, 176 pages, age 8+

This colorful easy to navigate guide introduces the reader to all the parks throughout the country.  Each 4-page spread includes stunning full-color photographs of the park, a map with suggestions for tours that came be taken, some Dare to Explore suggestions for doing other things in the area, a Checklist of things to do within the park and of course, some fun facts.  Besides park information, readers will discover the role President Theodore Roosevelt played in the establishment of National Parks, explore past events from America's past in some parks, there's even a checklist of things to bring to make sure your visit is fun, a section on animals that are native to the different parks.  One of my favorite sections is on spooky sites in parks and formerly endangered species who didn't disappear thanks to the efforts of the National Parks.  For fans of statistics, there are lots of park record setters listed.  There is also a glossary and do read the Ranger Tips for each park at the back of the book.  My recommendation: if you are going to visit a National Park this year, this is the book to take with you.

Junior Ranger Activity Book: Puzzles, Games, Facts, and Tons More FUN
National Geographic Kids
2016, 160 pages, age 8+

So, you've got the kids in the back seat of the family car and you're off to visit a National Park.  If you are like me, you don't want to hear a lot of "are we there yet?"  The answer to that question is this book.  There are word games, fill-ins, jokes, matching games, searching games, pages and pages to keep kids occupied and informed. And of course, fun facts, like this one: The recipe for s'mores, a popular fireside snack, first appeared in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook.  I wonder how many s'mores have been made in national parks throughout the years?  No matter which park you are visiting, there's fun stuff relating to it.  And there is a nice Answer Key at the back of the book.  There are also lots of maps and incredible photographs I've always loved activity books, especially those geared to an adventure I was taking my Kiddo on.  One of the nice things about many of the activities is that they can be done in the car and the whole family can participate.  More than one child?  My advice is get a copy for each one to avoid the possibility of fighting over it.  Trust me - they will like this book.

Buddy Bison's Yellowstone Adventure
Ilona E. Holland
National Geographic Society
2016, 32 pages, age 4+

A road trip to a National Park can be lots of fun, even for your youngest readers.  Elena and Christopher are visiting their Aunt Rosa, a ranger at Yellowstone National Park.  No sooner do they arrived, but they hear that some that there are some injured baby birds somewhere in the park. While Aunt Rosa deals with the baby bird emergency, the kids decide to wander by themselves.  Elena meets and makes friends with National Park Trust mascot Buddy Bison, but then, she realizes that Christopher is missing. Besides learning park rules about wandering alone, kids will also discover fun facts throughout the story.  There is also a History of Yellowstone and 5 Tips for Park Preservation.  This is a nice introduction to conservation, safely and the importance of National Parks at a level young readers can relate to.

Here is something you might be interested in:

National Geographic is celebrating the 100th anniversary of our National Parks Service by offering the chance to win a spectacular family vacation for four to Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks. Here are the details:
"This fabulous 8-day family adventure from National Geographic Expeditions is a dream trip come true. Discover the incredible geological treasures of the American Southwest and marvel at the rainbow colors of the high desert; explore the Grand Canyon’s North Rim on foot or mule; hike amid Zion’s wonderland of slot canyons, hanging gardens, and waterfalls, and splash through the Narrows of the Virgin River; wind through Bryce Canyon’s whimsical maze of red rock spires, and go on a scavenger hunt. Stay in historic park lodges with Old West atmosphere, and take part in activities and excursions geared for explorers of all ages.  

The National Geographic National Parks Sweepstakes runs from April 1-August 31, 2016. To enter or obtain full Official Rules go to:"

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge is a weekly celebration of 
nonfiction books hosted by Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy


  1. Every one of these is something I'll share with my former colleagues and my family, Alex. I've been to a few parks, and live near Rocky Mt. National Park, and of course many of us take it for granted! Yellowstone is a treasure, isn't it? Thanks for sharing all!

  2. I remember driving through Yellowstone several years ago, and just being in awe. Such treasures.

  3. Visit my blog homepage to preview the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to...series of nonfiction picture books which feature the scoop on many national parks and national monuments.

  4. National Geographic does such a great job of making nonfiction interesting. Their photography is always wonderful, but the layout is also helpful for readers.

  5. I'm not really one for being out of nature but these books look great. I wish I were the type to celebrate parks more.

  6. Love the look of the Junior Ranger book! One day, I would love to drive around and visit more state parks.

  7. I just reviewed the Centennial guide last week--it is such a cool book! I am in awe of National Geographics engaging and beautiful books!


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