PPBF: The Camping Trip That Changed America + a prize!

I’ve been writing a picture book story about a camping trip one of our Presidents took with several special friends. And then one of my critique buddies suggested I read a particular book as a mentor text: The Camping Trip That Changed America, written by Barb Rosenstock.

Barb Rosenstock? Oh my goodness! She’s going to be at the WOW Retreat in July. I will get to meet this amazing nonfiction picture book writer. Better than that, I will get writing advice from her!

So I immediately got a copy of the book and, since this is Perfect Picture Book Friday, I decided to share it with all of you.

the camping trip that saved america

The Camping Trip That Changed America

Written by Barb Rosenstock

Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Reader (2012)

Ages: 5-9

Themes: Conservation, National Parks


Opening Lines:

“Teedie and Johnnie didn’t have much in common—but they shared a love of the outdoors. They both loved a good story, too. And that was enough to change America.”


From Booklist:

In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt read John Muir’s book on the Sierra Nevada, which ended with a plea for government to save the vanishing forests. The president asked Muir to take him camping in the Yosemite wilderness, and two months later, Roosevelt followed his knowledgeable guide into the mountains, through the valley, and among the giant sequoia trees. Returning to Washington, the president pushed to pass the laws that created national parks and forests as well as wildlife sanctuaries. The very readable text focuses as much on the men’s enjoyment of the outdoors as on the historical importance of their camping trip. Gerstein contributes a wonderfully varied yet coherent set of line-and-watercolor illustrations, including small portraits of the men, a memorable scene showing two figures dwarfed by giant sequoias, and a close-up of the men talking around their campfire. In an appended note, Rosenstock includes information left out of the story and mentions that some scenes were imagined. A short list of sources is included. This colorful picture book humanizes two significant individuals in American history.


Why I like this book:

  • This is a moment in history that comes alive for children, emphasizing the fact that the wilderness needs to be preserved and that one person CAN make a difference.
  • The line and watercolor illustrations are wonderful…the artist succeeds in allowing us to feel the majesty of the Sequoias.
  • The author gives us just enough dialogue to help us feel a part of each scene.


How a parent can use this book and related activites:

  • Great read-aloud.
  • Check out a map of the United States with your child…find all of the national parks…how many did Theodore Roosevelt create?
  • The story can be a springboard for a discussion about the importance of preserving the wilderness and thinking about ways the entire family can participate in conservation.

Related Activities

Make a map


Photo courtesy: http://mrprintables.com

Go here for printable maps: http://mrprintables.com/printable-map-of-the-united-states.html

Once you’ve made the map, mark the location of each National Park.

And for more wonderful picture book reviews, visit Susanna Hill.

Oh…wait a minute…didn’t I promise to give away a book? Yes I did! For one of the people who commented on Artie Bennett’s post...remember?

And the winner is…

SETWIGS…please email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com with your address so I can send you a copy of the Kissed by an Angel anthology!


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

18 thoughts on “PPBF: The Camping Trip That Changed America + a prize!

  1. So glad you saw the post, Sue…and yay…I’m so glad you were the winner.
    The camping book is really great…I read it to my 7-year old grandson tonight..he was totally engaged and asked really good questions after. It’s a wonderful book to spark conversation about conservation, endangered species, and man’s effect on the environment. And how important it is to preserve the wilderness. 🙂


  2. I am so excited that you are going to meet the author of “The Camping Trip That Changed America” So very cooll!!

    And the book sounds so good as well. Will be getting a copy of it. Sounds like you have a good mentor text to study from. Good luck on your manuscript, Vivian. So cool when we find books similar to what we are writing so we can compare and learn from. also good to mention in those query letters. Agents love knowing books similar to ours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, Clar…it’s good to have comp titles when you are submitting a manuscript…I think even an editor wants to have them when she presents a story to her acquisitions committee. And good for you…I saw you were donating a copy of each of your wonderful books for Susanna’s Valentiny Contest…that is lovely!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I won’t see you at WOW this year, Wendy…I know there are many other conferences I’d love to attend…but we have to make choices, right? 🙂 And you are right….we have to be thankful to Teddy…I think if not for him, most of those wild spaces would have been destroyed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been enjoying your Facebook posts about Enzo’s reactions to school, snow days, and everything else…he is hilarious and uber-clever. 😉 I’ll never forget that day at the library when he wanted to take out just about every book on the shelves. 😉


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