Title: National Geographic Kids National Park Guides U.S.A
Written by: Sarah Wassener Flynn and Julie Beer
Published by: National Geographic Kids, 2016
Themes: national parks in the USA, sights, activities, trips, conservation
Ages: 7- adult
In the last hundred years, life in the Unites States has changed a lot, but there are some places that have remained unchanged, looking much as they did when the first European settles arrived: the United States’ national parks. These vast parcels of protected land, originally established as a way to protect the land and wildlife, contain more than 84 million acres of stunning scenery and natural wonders-a true national treasure.
What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to introduce you to this National Geographic gem, which celebrates the centennial anniversary of the National Parks Service. Take kids on a journey, with this packed edition of the vastly diverse parks across this country. It is neatly divided into regions: East, West, Southwest and Midwest. This companion guide details each park with maps, special attractions, activities, fun facts and more.
Did you know you can visit 25 glaciers in Mount Rainer National park?
Want to see bats? Head to Calrsbad Caverns National Park.
Why I like this book:
Rangers’ tips, best views, animals you may see, stunning color photography and more all make this a fascinating read and guidebook, even if you only plan to visit one park this year! In addition any class doing projects about the natural beauty and variety in the USA would do well to purchase this rich resource. Even kids who normally shy away from outdoor activities are sure to find facts of interest here that I hope will spur some natural adventures. Whether you want to see stalactites in the caverns of the southwest or you want to plunge into the natural smelly hot springs of Yellowstone, this book will show you where and how.
Science, exploration and storytelling can change the world and our parks are critical for the sustainability of our planet. They can connect us with the natural world and inspire kids and adults to be better stewards.
As many of you know, one of my lifetime goals as long as I am living in this country is to visit as many national parks as possible, so while I normally donate my review copies to school libraries, I may just have to hang onto this one as I make my way from Acadia to Zion.
Don’t forget this is National Parks Week, April 16th to 24th April, 2016. Here’s a list of the parks participating by state where entry is free.
- If you want to do a series of lessons on the national parks, I highly recommend the PBS DVDs. THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA is a six-episode series filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales – from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska. It is a story of people: people from every conceivable background – rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. The first episode includes a lesson plan for 4th graders.
- This book is just one of MANY Nat Geo initiatives this year to mark the US National Park Service’s upcoming centenary (on Aug 25). For example, Subaru is partnering with National Geographic on a digital initiative aimed at helping children learn to love and want to preserve their national parks.“Find Your Park, Love Your Park” consists of an interactive digital map featuring every national park within United States borders alongside a set of downloadable educational modules aimed at children aged nine years and above as well as at educators and families in general. Modules can be used for simple things such building nature walks and identifying animal tracks and insect species or as the basis for understanding more complex subjects related to conservation, protection and biodiversity.
- The May edition of Nat Geo Kids will be devoted to national parks and and an online content hub, natgeokids.com/parks will feature My Shot Kid photos, park profiles and a quiz.
- K-12 education: The National Geographic Bee will take place May 22-25, in Washington DC and will feature geography questions about US National Parks.
- Many schools live within reasonable distance of a park and a day trip may be a great way to celebrate this centenary. Don’t forget, 4th graders get in free!
- Over the next five years, as Earth Day moves closer to its 50th anniversary, we’re calling on you to help us achieve one of our most ambitious goals yet —we’re planting 7.8 billion trees and we’re starting now. Maybe your class or homeschooling group can reach out and become involved in a local tree planting initiative.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.