(I’m jumping with joy that my Feb 2018 book, Girl Running, got a Kirkus star! Details here.)
One of our great American resources is our national parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon…Of course those national parks have ended up in books for kids.
Grand Canyon is an information-packed, elegantly structured picture book that uses text features to engage young readers. It can be read as a straightforward account of a hike through the canyon. The hike starts at dawn and concludes up on the rim at sunset. We take the hike with a father and his young child and with a very knowledgeable guide who tells us about the geological past of the canyon. Or it can be read with excursions into various geological and biological topics covered in the margins of the pages.
One of my favorite things about the book was the snazzy elements added into the book:
- Back matter. Four entire spreads are devoted to the back matter! I was especially glad to see discussion of the human history of the canyon here in the back matter since it’s not in the main text of the book.
- Die cuts. Five different spreads have die cut holes. We see, through the hole, some evidence of the ancient world visible on this hike we’re taking. We turn the page, and we are suddenly back in that ancient world, seeing, for example, how the spot where we are hiking was once underwater.
- Gatefold. The book focuses on small, discrete things we could notice on a Grand Canyon hike. But how would it be possible to have a book about the Grand Canyon without trying to capture the awesomeness of its totality? The last spread of the book satisfies that desire with a beautiful gatefold illustration of the canyon as seen from the rim
If you’re interested in more national park love, visit Page through the Parks. We’re a group of children’s writers and illustrators who have done national parks books. We post about kids, nature, and books–our own and other people’s–about nature especially for kids.
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin. Neal Porter Books: 2017