PAGE THROUGH THE PARKS by Janet Fox, Barb Rosenstock, and Liz Garton Scanlon
“Inside all of us is a wild thing…” – Maurice Sendak
Most writers care about nothing more than the imagination, that wild playground that is the heart and mind inside all of us. It is that imagination that has given us the books we adore – from WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE to FINDING WILD – and given children the validation they need to explore and express their own untamed imaginations.
Where else are children as free as they are in books? In the actual out-of-doors, of course! Exploring, discovering, digging, climbing, pretending, risking, running and reaching. Richard Louv, author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER, says, “In nature, a child finds freedom, fantasy, and privacy: a place distant from the adult world, a separate peace.”
In our increasingly urban, ultra-wired world, many children aren’t given access to this fantastical, private place. And honestly? That’s akin to the loss of a library. But it’s not that we don’t have nature – we’ve just forgotten how important it is to get out into it.
Thank goodness that the National Park Service is in the business of reminding us. To celebrate its centennial this year, the NPS offered every single 4th grader in the country an annual pass to the parks all last year – a true field-trip bonanza! (Go to https://www.nps.gov/kids/features/2015/everyKid.cfm for more information.)
There are also commemorative coins, an IMAX film, poetry recitations and more – all a way of saying how important these national parks are, how grateful we are for the foresight of past presidents and nature lovers alike in setting aside and sharing with us lands like Yellowstone and Yosemite, Big Bend and the Everglades.
Now, as people who love to immerse ourselves in our country’s wild spaces and as writers who’ve featured them in our books, we’re jumping on the NPS Centennial bandwagon. PAGE THROUGH THE PARKS is our love letter to the National Parks – and to the children who deserve the time and space they provide – to explore, discover, dig, climb, pretend, risk, run, reach, and read.
This month, we’re celebrating with book lists and blog posts, with photos and Facebook pages, and with great big give-aways. But we’ve actually been celebrating quietly for a lot longer – in our books FAITHFUL, THE CAMPING TRIP THAT CHANGED AMERICA, and IN THE CANYON.
As Louv says, “Reading stimulates the ecology of the imagination,” and as we hope to put kids back in touch with the wild, wild world, we couldn’t agree more. The three of us are nature-loving authors. We love the alchemy of books and big breaths, stories and the sky, words, and wild wonder. And those of you parenting, teaching, and loving kids probably do too. Hurrah, and lucky us!
To help readers celebrate, between August 1 – 25 we’re giving away copies of our books on Goodreads:
THE CAMPING TRIP THAT CHANGED AMERICA: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/194493-the-camping-trip-that-changed-america
IN THE CANYON: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/194670-in-the-canyon
And for teachers and librarians, we’ve put together a big boatload of fun, including books, tote bag, artwork, a puzzle, a coffee mug and more. You can see pictures here: https://www.facebook.com/PageThroughTheParks/
And enter to win here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDYxMzFmYjM0OTQyMTcxYTU4YjVmMzAwNzk5ZWZiOjE=/?
Now, let’s Page Through The Parks!
Your rangers for this expedition are:
Janet Fox is an author, mom, outdoor enthusiast, and former teacher. She’s been to the bottom of the ocean in a submersible, and had a brief fling with rock stardom. Her novels are written for children and young adults but have won her fans of all ages. Her newest book, THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE, is a gothic fairy tale set in Scotland and has received a whole bunch of stars. At the moment she’s sporting blue stripes in her hair. Find out more at www.janetsfox.com.
Barb Rosenstock loves true stories best. She’s the author of multiple award-winning nonfiction and historical fiction picture books including the 2015 Caldecott-honored The Noisy Paint Box, illustrated by Mary Grandpré. Barb speaks at conferences and many elementary schools to encourage young people to tell their own stories. A native Chicagoan, she lives outside the city with her husband, sons and two big poodles. Learn more at www.barbrosenstock.com.
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, many of which feature the natural world, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book All the World, and her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer. She teaches at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains and on a lake in the Midwest, and now lives with her family in Austin, Texas. Find out more at www.lizgartonscanlon.com.
Love the National Parks and looking forward to reading these books!
Thank you, Donna! We do love them, too! I’m posting on each park on my blog this month, with lots of other content: http://www.janetsfox.com
Just visited Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde and can’t wait to share these books with my students at the Village School!
Oh, I love Mesa Verde, too! Enjoy celebrating these amazing places with your students — and here’s a link to an activity guide to IN THE CANYON: http://lizgartonscanlon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CCSS_Guide_In_the_Canyon.pdf
This is amazing! After visiting 2 National Parks this summer, I am excited to share their beauty with my students!
Oh, lucky you!! They are truly special places and we’re so lucky to have them protected!
Thanks Donna! We obviously love the parks (and books!) too! We also compiled a list of National Park themes kid lit, you can access that .pdf list at: http://janetsfox.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Kids-Books-on-or-about-the-National-Parks-1.pdf
What a terrific and much-needed movement! Nature and free form outdoor play are so important in growing young bodies and imaginations, curious about the world & motivated to care for it!! Thanks for your efforts to engage readers with the wild!
Katey – Thank you so much! It meant so much to me when I was a kid to be outdoors, and we’re hoping that between the Parks’ celebration and the books we’ve flagged, we’ll inspire more adventures. Cheers!
I love the big wildness of our national parks, and also the shared togetherness the parks provide us. People of so many backgrounds gather together, sharing amazing vistas and hikes, talking, connecting, and using each others’ cameras. Happy 100th!
It’s true — the great outdoors can be a real equalizer, can’t it?