For National Trails Day, Two books will inspire families to enjoy the great outdoors

family camping

Families on Foot: Urban Hikes to Backyard Treks and National Park Adventures (Falcon Guides, ISBN# 1493026715, Sports & Outdoors, March  2017)

“Jennifer Pharr Davis and Brew Davis have a rare combination: tons of experience with trails and with kids. For families looking to get outdoors, that means tons of useful advice.” —Dennis Lewon, Backpacker Editor-in-Chief

Published in partnership with the American Hiking Society, Families on Foot offers practical advice and engaging activities to make hiking even more fun for families. You’ll find clever ideas and inspiration that apply to kids of all ages–from tackling diaper blowouts in the backcountry to using smartphone apps and GPS to engage teenagers with nature. Information for children with special needs and seniors is also included.

Author Jennifer Pharr Davis, the former record holder of the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, together with her husband Brew Davis, marries old-fashioned know-how onsafety, preparation, and trail conservation with modern day activities and technology, inspirational and interactive games, and down-and-dirty fun on the trail. Information includes smart tactics for families with kids of a variety ages .


Walks of a Lifetime: Extraordinary Hikes from Around the World (Falcon Guides, ISBN# 1493026410, Sports & Outdoors, May 1, 2017)

“All of us have talked about walking the world’s great trails; in this book, the Mannings show us how to ‘walk the talk.'”
—Gregory Miller, President, American Hiking Society

The bestselling book, Wild, made us all want to start hiking, and most people are familiar with one of the most famous walks, Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

To walk is to discover, from those first halting steps as a child to walking the world’s greatest long-distance trails. Experience breathtaking coastlines, mountain ranges, historic landscapes, wilderness areas, religious pilgrimages, great cities, and iconic rivers. Walk to learn more about our beautiful and curious world, to be healthy and happy, to add adventure and authenticity to life, and to learn something about yourself in the process. Walking is simple, but it can also be profound.

Veteran outdoor enthusiasts Robert and Martha Manning invite readers to experience the joy of walking in Walks of a Lifetime. They offer firsthand descriptions of 30 of the world’s great long-distance trails and multi-day walks, including personal anecdotes, natural and cultural history, practical tips, and full-color photographs and maps. Walks range from inn-to-inn routes to backpacking treks and are found across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Trail descriptions are accompanied by a series of short, engaging essays on the many dimensions of walking. Let’s get inspired to hit the trail!

Win National Geographic Kids Books and Plush Toys #GiftGuide

Just in time for the holidays, National Geographic Kids Books is rolling out a brand new series of picture books that are perfect for kids ages 3-7 (preschool – 2nd grade).  To  celebrate the release of the first two books in their So Cool! So Cute! series, National Geographic is giving away a very huggable prize pack: a hardcover copy of So Cool! Sharks, a hardcover copy of So Cute! Pandas AND adorable shark and panda plushes.

shark book
So Cool! Sharks – Sharks are among the world’s top predators, but that’s just ONE reason why they are SO COOL. So who wouldn’t want to hang out with them to learn more! These books blend awesome animal photos with silly quips and info that will delight young readers and animal enthusiasts. For example, kids can catch the hunting habits of a great white shark while learning that its true nature is as chill as a frozen fish stick. This is the perfect little reader to get their brain buzzing and keep them laughing during downtime, bedtime, or anytime.
So Cute! Pandas – Get ready for cute overload, panda style. And the funny thing is, this panda isn’t just cute. It’s got attitude! You’ll flip over the adorable photos and be equally charmed by what this sassy little panda is thinking on every page. Introducing the brand-new series from National Geographic Kids that combines two wonderful things: super cute photos of all your favorite fluffy animals and silly text that will have the whole family laughing. Add to that some great nonfiction content that gets kids learning, and, what can we say? This series is just so cute!
These are perfect for gift giving- what kid wouldn’t love to receive them?
You can pick yours up online and you can enter to win below as well.
Good luck! Ends Nov. 29, 2019

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The Little Girl With the Big Voice

An inspiring story about overcoming bullying and achieving dreams

 

No one wants their child to experience the torment of bullying. If they do encounter this behavior, are they prepared to handle the situation? Knowing how to cope with bullying is a much needed life skill our children must learn to successfully navigate conflict.

The Little Girl with the Big Voice, written by Wė (pronounced Way) McDonald, is a book your child can relate to and may be helpful in starting conversations regarding bullying. The book teaches valuable lessons such as how to overcome adversity, and building self confidence. Written in Wė’s own words, the book is a powerful story about a girl who courageously embraces her uniqueness and finds her voice.

The book was engaging and illustrations well-done. My niece was completely attentive and asked questions as Wė’s experiences unfolded.  The Little Girl with the Big Voice is fresh and timely. However, I believe the book could have given just a little bit more strategy on conflict resolution. The book’s focus shifted from bullying to Wė being a contestant on the television program, The Voice. Definitely two books in one, which may be good thing for some parents.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Donna Andrews

Super aunt of a 7-year-old girl

Neema’s Reason to Smile

A heart-warming story about a child’s desire to go to school

 The kids are little older now and the novelty of going to school has wane. I have always shared with my nieces and nephews that they should not take education for granted … that going to school should not be a chore as there are many children in this world who would love the opportunity to learn how to read, write, and fuel their imaginations. However, they are unable to attend school because they cannot afford clothing, supplies, and books.

Neema’s Reason to Smile, written by Patricia Newman, is a vibrant and lyrical tale of a young Kenyan girl, named Neema, who dreams of going to school. We learn about Neema’s young life and how she must work selling fruit instead of receiving an education. She saves her coins in hopes of one day having enough money to pay for school, but it is one step forward two steps back for young Neema. One day Neema spots a little girl heading to school and follows her.  She ends up at a school and witnesses a learning environment she had only dreamed of. School was everything she thought it would, but alas, it was not meant to be for Neema; so she thought. For young readers, I believe this book is about responsibility to family, kindness and reciprocity. Although this story is considered fiction, the story is based on the real-life students at Jambo Jipy School in Kenya.

The book was engaging and illustrations well-done. My niece and nephew were attentive (with an occasional distraction as the family dog passed by). They asked questions about Africa, and found it sad that there are kids too poor to go to school.  My niece and nephew cheered when a teacher invited Neema to attend her class.  So, this little book was a reality check for them.

A couple of drawbacks I noticed included a few too many high-level words and harsh description of the “beggar”.

 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Donna Andrews

Super aunt of a 7-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy

 

 

Ellie, Engineer children’s book

Ellie loves to build. She’s always engineering new creations with the help of her imagination and her best friend Kit. Unfortunately, with Kit’s birthday just around the corner, the French-braiding machine Ellie built turns out to be more of a hair-knotting machine. What’sEllie going to do? Luckily, the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about Kit’s surprise – it must be the dog she’s always wanted! Ellie is struck with inspiration: she’ll build Kit the best doghouse ever! The project quickly becomes more than just a present for Kit – it builds a bridge between Ellie and those bothersome neighbor boys, as well as the other handy girls in her class.

Designed to look like Ellie’s notepad, with pencil-on-graph-paper illustrations of her projects interspersed throughout the book, Ellie,Engineer inspires creative and crafty girls to get hands-on with their imagination. Ellie’s projects range from the simple (using a glass against a wall to amplify sounds), to the practical (the doghouse), to the fantastical (a bedroom security system featuring spikes) – encouraging readers to start small but think big. Ellie’s parents support her engineering experiments, with important safety tips sprinkled throughout, and her relationship with Kit is a glowing example of positive female friendship. They share their hobbies – Ellielikes to get her hands dirty, while Kit prefers ballet – reminding readers that there’s no wrong way to be a girl. Ellie’s hand-drawn tool guide at the end explains basic tools in accessible terms, rounding out this fun and funny adventure, and giving girls everything they need to be their own Ellie!

About the Author: Jackson Pearce lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of a series of teen retold fairy-tales, including Sisters Red, Sweetly, Fathomless, and Cold Spell, as well as two stand-alones, As You Wish and Purity. As J. Nelle Patrick, she is the author of Tsarina. In addition to The Doublecross and The Inside Job, her middle grade novels include Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures, co-written with Maggie Stiefvater. Visit her at www.jacksonpearce.com and @JacksonPearce (Twitter and Instagram).

Win New Book- The Greatest Brick Builds: Amazing Creations in LEGO

LEGO bricks have been used for decades by children and adults to create dazzling and playful buildings, vehicles, and unique works of art. In The Greatest Brick Builds: Amazing Creations in LEGO  ( available in hardcover $19.99), these jaw-dropping creations are presented in full color, with close-up photos, scale representations, historical commentary on the structures, and details on how each model was constructed using LEGO bricks. Included in this collection are the Golden Gate, the USS Missouri, and the Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as other iconic structures created by LEGO crafters from around the world.
A perfect  gift for LEGO fans young and old — get inspired with some of the world’s most impressive LEGO creations!

One of you can win a copy of this book for yourselves- feel free to enter by using the RC form below. Ends Jan 27, 2018. Good luck!
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Win Holiday Books for the Family

With the holiday right around the corner, you will be looking for fun gifts for the family and for friends. If you are looking for great books for little ones, check out these fun titles- these classics will be read and re-read for years to come.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Crochet (Thunder Bay Press; $24.99; Ages 3 and up): From bouncing Bumbles to Yukon gold, you’ll love these adorable amigurumi figures from the classic television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! This cheerful kit contains all the materials you’ll need to create Rudolph and Santa. Colorful photos and step-by-step directions in the 76-page instruction book will also guide you through crafting the Bumble, Charlie-in-the-Box, Dolly, Spotted Elephant, Hermey, Moonracer, Mrs. Claus, Clarice, Sam the Snowman, and Yukon Cornelius. Warm up your crochet hook for this group of charming holiday characters!
T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games (Silver Dolphin Books; $17.99; Ages 3-7): We all recall the most famous reindeer of all. But how much do you know about the story of the Reindeer Games and the other eight reindeer? Well, now you can know the whole story, meet the rest of Santa’s trusted reindeer, and learn what it means to be on T.E.A.M. Rudolph!
 
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Pop-Up Book (Silver Dolphin Books; $19.95; Ages 3-5)Start a new holiday family reading tradition with this delightful pop-up retelling of the beloved Christmas story. Just in time for its 50th anniversary, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is now a stunning pop-up book, a treasure for generations to come. All of the classic characters join Rudolph for his North Pole adventure: Hermey the elf/aspiring dentist, Yukon Cornelius, and the doe-eyed Clarice. The impressive large-scale pop-ups re-create classic scenes using actual movie stills. Fly along with Rudolph, join in the reindeer games, flee from the Abominable Snow Monster, visit the Island of Misfit Toys, and save Christmas one foggy night. Most importantly, be touched by the timeless story of acceptance and the true meaning of the holiday spirit.

One of you can win copies of these great books- just enter using the RC form below.
Good luck, ends Dec. 26, 2017.
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GHOST TOWNS OF THE WEST

Ghost Towns of the West by Phillip Varney and Jim Hinckley blazes a trail through the dusty crossroads and mossy cemeteries of the American West, including one-time boomtowns in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The book reveals the little-known stories of soldiers, American Indians, settlers, farmers, and miners. This essential guidebook to the historic remains of centuries’ past includes maps, town histories, color and historical photographs, and detailed directions to these out-of-the-way outdoor museums of the West.

Plan your road trips by chapter–each section covers a geographic area and town entries are arranged by location to make this the most user-friendly book on ghost towns west of the Mississippi.

Ghost towns are within a short drive of major cities out West, and they make excellent day trip excursions. If you happen to be in or near Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or El Paso, for example, you ought to veer towards the nearest ghost town. Western ghost towns can also easily be visited during jaunts to national parks, including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Glacier, Yellowstone, and many others throughout the West.

Ghost Towns of the West is a comprehensive guide to former boomtowns of the American West, covering ghost towns in eleven states from Washington to New Mexico, and from California to Montana. This book has everything you need to learn about, visit, and explore a modern remnant of how life used to be on the western range.

Pick up your copy now on Amazon or wherever your prefer to buy your books.