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!

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on January 29, 2016, in Perfect Pictture Book Friday, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. How exciting. I never win anything! And I will definitely read this book about T Roosevelt and J Muir!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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. 🙂


  3. What a perfect mentor text, Vivian! I hope it will give you ideas on how to polish your story. I’ll have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Particularly appropriate since the Centennial for National Parks is coming up in 2016….I believe we all need to get out to see and touch our historical sites. That’s why I write my nonfiction picture book series featuring them….http://littlemisshistory.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 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

  6. Wow, I love this book! I watched a PBS special about the Roosevelt family and what Teddy did. So glad to see that children are able to read a book about his extraordinary efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not going to be able to make WOW this year, so I will live vicariously through you, Vivian! So glad Teddy created these wild spaces for us (great activities!)

    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

  8. This sounds great! At first, from the title, I thought it was going to be about the Louisiana Purchase, with Louis and Clark hiking and camping through the uncharted wilderness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the introduction to this book. Once the libraries open again, I will hopefully get to read it.

    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. 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Polilla Writes

reading, writing, celebrating the written word

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate


about reading, writing & thinking children's books

Laura Boffa: Write of Way

Giving the way of writing the right of way


A Gallery of New Picture Book Talent

EMU's Debuts

From Deal to Debut: the Path to Publication

Wander, Ponder, Write

A KidLit Journey...

Picture Book House

reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

Norah Colvin

Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities

Gathering Books

Singapore | United States of America | Philippines

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

The Stinky Backpack

Traveling the Everyday World

The Runaway Palate

Food. Travel. Cooking. Random musings. Maybe some historical stuff.

The Reader and the Book

"O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

Teresa Robeson

thoughts on kidlit nonfiction, diversity, and food

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog about children's books!

Mary Jo Beswick

Artist - Children's Book Author & Illustrator - Teacher

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer


READING: like dancing in your brain

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Stacy S. Jensen

Reader | Writer | List Maker

Reading With Rhythm

book reviews from Rhythm the Library Dog

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Nerdy Chicks Write

Get it Write this Summer!

Laura Sassi Tales

Celebrating writing, reading, and life.

Erika Wassall here... The Jersey Farm Scribe

Author, Freelance Writer, Entreprenur... LIVER of life

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

The Waiting

Turns out, it's not the hardest part.

%d bloggers like this: