Durango author Kate Siber has recently published her first children’s book, National Parks of the U.S.A. This book is beautifully executed with wonderful illustrations by Los Angeles artist Chris Turhnam.
Siber is a correspondent for Outside magazine and a freelance journalist and has traveled extensively, including to 30 of our 59 national parks.
It was her extensive writing of articles about national parks that brought Siber to the attention of an editor at Quarto publishing.
They had the idea and an illustrator already lined up and thought she would be a great addition for the project. Siber loved the idea of reaching children and sharing the magic of nature with them.
Because Siber had already been to more than half of the parks, she had personal experience to bring this book to life. She did additional research and talked to park rangers and others who had worked with children in the parks. Through these dialogues, she grew to know what things excited the children in each park.
With so many fascinating and wonderful things that populate each park, it was hard to choose what to include.
Siber decided to include iconic species that are easily recognized from each park, like grizzlies in Glacier Bay, alligators in the Everglades and wild turkeys in Mesa Verde.
She also included little-known species like the Linus tree snail, which slides on trails of its very own snot. This is one fact that’s sure to thrill or gross out many a young reader.
Siber fills the pages with fun facts and bizarre animals. Included also are special flora and key features from each park. Siber’s extensive research is evident throughout the book.
The book is organized geographically: mainland U.S., including east, central, Rocky Mountains, southwest and west. Also included are Alaska and the tropics, which include American Samoa, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.
The illustrations by Turnham are reminiscent of the classic vintage national park silk-screened posters of the 1930s and ’40s. They are colorful and enhance the appeal of this book.
National Parks of the U.S.A. is a finely crafted book of high quality that will endure years of enthusiastic reading.
This book is a treasure for parents because it entertains and educates by arousing children’s curiosity and interest. This book should be a must-have for all the families who love to travel around our country while enjoying shared adventures with their children.
Leslie Doran is a retired teacher, freelance writer and former New Mexican who claims Durango as her forever home.