The tent is packed and the sleeping bags are loaded up. The plans are made for your perfect summer road trip to a National Park. How about slipping a new national park book into your kid’s backpack as your loading the last of the luggage? Today we’re posting our favorite national park summer road trip books for kids, including early readers, ages 5-7, and ages 8-12.
From the best adventure stories to the most up-to-date facts, kids love reading about the national parks. Just like adults, these protected spaces spark the imagination and wanderlust of kids of all ages. That’s why many families are taking advantage of the “Every Kid in the Park” program this summer. The National Park Service provides a free national park entry pass to every 4th grader and their family who register.
Whether your kid loves hiking or history, there’s a good chance we’ve got a book on this list for them. Now the only question will be: “Are we there yet?”
National Park Books for Kids: For All Junior Rangers
This is a must-have!
We have always said that the Best $9 You’ll Ever Spend in a National Park is for a Passport to Your National Parks book. Every kid that’s headed to a unit in the National Park Service should have his or her very own passport stamp book. For $8.95, this book has a place to stamp each national park unit you visit and information about the different types of national monuments, parks, and memorial designations. It can become your child’s very own field guide and memory book for this year’s summer vacation.
National Park Books for Kids: Beginning Readers
Adam Gamble is the author of many of the books in the “Good Night” Series. They celebrate some of North America’s favorite places. This special Yellowstone edition includes popular tourists spots like Yellowstone Lake, Morning Glory Pool, American bison, Yellowstone River, Old Faithful, grizzly bears, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Firehole River, park rangers, Paint Pot Trail, campers, and wolves. If you like this one, check out “Good Night, Yosemite” and “Good Night, Colorado” featuring Rocky Mountain National Park.
The award-winning “BabyLit” line of board books and baby reading products includes this National Park edition. Not only does it mention the parks: Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite and Olympic, it also includes animals and activities that are famous in these spaces. It’s perfect for starting your little one on a lifetime of Park Chasing!
Buddy Bison and his friends are off to Yellowstone National Park! The full-color photos, bright text and fun facts about the park will have your Pre-K reader packed and ready for a trip out West. In the first few pages, one of Buddy’s friends wanders off in Yellowstone. This leaves Buddy to travel through the park searching among the sites and the rangers to return his friend to safety.
National Park Books for Kids: Ages 5-7
Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Bush Hager wrote this children’s story in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The pictures and story tell the tale of Jane, whose family embarks on a summer road trip to many of the greatest National Parks. Jane and her brother encounter some big adventures that teach them about how nature and the national parks are truly our great big backyard.
One of Publisher’s Weekly ‘Best Picture Books of 2015’, this book showcases one of the most famous American Icon’s, the Golden Gate Bridge. Not everyone wanted the Golden Gate to have its historic red color. Eggers tells the history of the bridge, how it was painted red, and how it came to be a part of the National Park Service.
A classic among National Park enthusiasts, the “Who Pooped in the Park?” series tells the story of animals in many of our national parks in an unusual way. Robinson’s books help kids identify large and small mammals by their tracks and scat. Kids also learn about each species and where they live in the park. Robinson’s ‘Pooped in the Park’ titles include the following national parks: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Glacier and Big Bend.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir went on the most famous camping trip in history. Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation’s history. While the two men saw sights like Yosemite Falls and the giant Sequoia’s, they also held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks. The pages tell the story of how these two great men set the stage to preserve our most sacred spaces.
Prairie Dog is on a mission. He’s left his home in Badlands National Park to find the “Four Famous Faces” he’s heard of carved high into the mountains of South Dakota. Along his mission he meets several friends, including Bison, Elk and Mountain Goat on his way to Mount Rushmore National Monument. Six pages of facts about the animals, geology, and history of each location is also included. Published by Stories in Stone, a partnership of Badlands Natural History Association, Black Hills Parks & Forests Association, Devils Tower Natural History Association and Mount Rushmore Bookstores.
National Park Books for Kids: Ages 8-12
Beat the back to school blues for your older readers with this junior ranger activity book. It includes puzzles, trivia, games, jokes and fun facts about each of the 59 National Parks. Perfect for a long road trip or the car ride to practice, this book will prep your kid with everything they need to know about your next National Park adventure.
Naturalist John Muir is one of the most important figures in the history of the National Parks. This adaptation from his auto-biography is one of the best books on Muir for readers ages 10-16. Much of the book maintains Muir’s original text brought to a new, younger audience. Your children will love getting to know Muir and what inspired him to spend his life working to protect and preserve our national parks.
Remember those pop-up books we all loved check out in the school library? This is the ultimate pop-up book for the National Parks. America’s National Parks: A Pop-Up Book is a coast to coast journey featuring 18 of our most visited national parks, with six as stunning, double-page pop-ups: Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite national parks. The pages also include mini-pull out books with park history and facts about the National Park Service. Best yet, all the illustrations are in the style of the original WPA-posters of the 1930’s.
In 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its Centennial birthday. This full color guide from National Geographic takes a look back at the best of the first 100 years of the national parks. It includes a large map of the United States and all of its national parks as well as information on many of the most popular road trip destinations. Features include information about influential park leaders and efforts to protect the plants and animals in the National Parks.
Organized alphabetically by state this national park book for ages 8-12 takes readers on a whirlwind trip to 75 locations, including Denali National Park, Hot Springs National Park, Everglades National Park, Fort McHenry, White Mountain National Forest, Ellis Island, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Zion National Park, Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, Mt. Hood National Forest, and many more. Best of all, this book contains a pull-out sleeve for collecting the 56 National Park quarters.
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