National Parks Week (April 16th-24th) Recommended Reads: A Weird and Wild Beauty by Erin Peabody and National Geographic’s National Parks Guide U.S.A.



Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

National Parks Guide

 National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition: The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast!
National Geographic Kids
Published February 9th, 2016 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Goodreads Summary: Happy 100th Birthday, National Parks! Join the centennial celebration by reading all about these greatest of American treasures — from Acadia to Zion — in preparation for a parks visit sometime soon. Filled with color photos, information on animals, fascinating lists, fun facts, maps, cool things to do, conservation tips, and much more — think of this book as your trusted guide to these most majestic of places.

My Thoughts: This book makes me want to go on a road trip! As you all know, I am a huge fan of National Geographic books because of their brilliant graphics, text features, easy-to-follow text structure, and interesting information. This text is no different. Like the title states, it goes through many of the USA National Parks from the east to the west and gives the reader not only history about the national park but also beautiful photos, fun facts, visiting tips, a map, excursions within the park, and must-do activities. This text will be a great companion to any trip to these amazing parks.

Discussion Questions: Which national park do you want to visit?; What activity looks like the most fun to you at that park?; What national parks are near you?

We Flagged: 


Giveaway and National Parks Video by National Geographic

Celebrate the beauty and wonder of America’s national parks during this centennial year with an amazing outdoor adventure! Climb mountains, hike trails, see wildlife, explore the country, and plan it now with National Geographic books as your inspiration and guide. Be sure to enter for the chance to win a National Geographic Expeditions family trip for four to Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks at

weird and wild

A Weird and Wild Beauty: The Story of Yellowstone, the World’s First National Park
Author: Erin Peabody
Published February 2nd, 2016 by Sky Pony Press

Goodreads Summary: The summer of 1871, a team of thirty-two men set out on the first scientific expedition across Yellowstone. Through uncharted territory, some of the day’s most renowned scientists and artists explored, sampled, sketched, and photographed the region’s breathtaking wonders—from its white-capped mountain vistas and thundering falls to its burping mud pots and cauldrons of molten magma. At the end of their adventure, the survey packed up their specimens and boarded trains headed east, determined to convince Congress that the country needed to preserve the land from commercial development. They returned with “stories of wonder hardly short of fairy tales,” to quote the New York Times.

With the support of conservationists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Law Olmsted, and John Muir, the importance of a national park was secured. On March 1, 1872, Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Park Bill into law. It set aside over two million acres of one-of-a-kind wilderness as “a great national park for the benefit and enjoyment of people.” This important and fascinating book will introduce young adults to the astonishing adventure that led to “the best idea America ever had.” Today over 130 countries have copied the Yellowstone model, and billions of acres of critical habitat and spectacular scenery are being preserved for all of us to enjoy.

This book has a wonderful ecological and historical message for readers ages 12 and up. No book about Yellowstone’s founding has been written for this age group before, yet Yellowstone National Park is a major destination for many families, so many readers will likely have heard of Yellowstone or even have visited there. This is a great book for any school library or for history or science classrooms in middle and high school, where information can be used for research projects.

My Thoughts: Many of us take advantage of the national parks that have been preserved throughout the United States without knowing the history of the National Park Program or realizing how important it is to preserve these parks. This book will help middle grade and teen readers learn about this history and the beautify of a park they’ve probably heard of or been to but may not know everything about. Peabody does a good job making the history readable and interesting.

Discussion Questions: Why did President Grant pass the Yellowstone Park Bill? How did this bill change the direction of parks in the U.S.? If you went to Yellowstone, what would you most be looking forward to?

We Flagged: “J.G. Holland sat at his desk, staring wide-eyed at the pages spread before him. Holland was an editor at Scribner’s Monthly, a popular magazine and source of news for Americans in the mid- to late 1800s.

Holland had just received the most bizarre-sounding account. It spoke of a strange land where the ground gurgled and hissed. A land where scalding waters blew from craters and vats of steaming pink mud threatened to swallow a man whole. The place, according to the man who’d recently traveled through the region, abounded with ‘boiling springs,’ ‘mud volcanoes,’ and ‘huge mountains of sulphur.’

Incredulous, Holland tried to absorb the dazzling imagery. The author, clearly spellbound by what he saw, gushed about the brilliant turquoise pools and hot-water fountains. The mud volcano, the man wrote, erupted with the force of thundering cannons. Its boiling broth scalded trees hundreds of yards away.

This world of absurdities, the traveler informed Holland, was not some far-off land. It belonged to the United States.” (Prologue)

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The National Geographic book gives such a wonderful overview of all of the major national parks and would be a great introduction to these parks. Then, the students could choose to learn more about a specific national park. Erin Peabody’s book would be a fabulous resource for the students who choose Yellowstone. It is so thorough and it, combined with the National Geographic book, would give a detailed overview of Yellowstone.

Both Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity and Cheryl at Skyhorse Publishing for providing copies for review!**

4 thoughts on “National Parks Week (April 16th-24th) Recommended Reads: A Weird and Wild Beauty by Erin Peabody and National Geographic’s National Parks Guide U.S.A.”

  1. This reminds me that I haven’t watch Ken Burn’s documentary about National Parks. There’s a board book about National Parks that has been selling well at our store.

  2. This book looks wonderful, Kellee. I’ve been to Yellowstone several times through the years, once with my students. It’s so lovely, and so exciting. Thanks, I’ve put it on my list!

  3. Loved these! I hope you’ll check out Mountain Chef, coming out in August. It’s the story of a Chinese American man’s work to lobby for a National Parks Service. So many great resources coming out this anniversary year!


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