There's a Book for That: National Parks


As we say goodbye to July, we don’t want to miss recognizing that July is National Park and Recreation Month. “Since 1985, people in the United States have celebrated Park and Recreation Month in July to promote building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation…This year’s theme — “Where Community Grows”  celebrates the vital role park and recreation professionals play in bringing people together, providing essential services and fostering the growth of our communities.” (NRPA)

Many families are vacationing in America’s great parks this summer – Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Appalachian Trail, the Everglades, and others.  The grandeur of nature is so good for all of us to behold and experience. The following books take you there, with classic and acclaimed novels, histories, memoirs, and travelogues set in our National Parks for all ages.


The Last Ranger by Peter HellerTHE LAST RANGER: A NOVEL by Peter Heller

The best-selling author of The River returns with a vibrant, lyrical novel about an enforcement ranger in Yellowstone National Park who likes wolves better than most people. When a clandestine range war threatens his closest friend, he must shake off his own losses and act swiftly to discover the truth and stay alive.



National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States, 3rd Edition by National GeographicNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC COMPLETE NATIONAL PARKS OF THE UNITED STATES, 3RD EDITION

400+ Parks, Monuments, Battlefields, Historic Sites, Scenic Trails, Recreation Areas, and Seashores

This 544-page reference is the ultimate travel planner for all things national parks, filled with full-color photos, detailed maps, historical background, and practical facts on the location of the park system properties, as well as the best times to visit and top-rated activities.


Stepping Back from the Ledge by Laura TrujilloSTEPPING BACK FROM THE LEDGE: A DAUGHTER’S SEARCH FOR TRUTH AND RENEWAL by Laura Trujillo

In this stunning memoir, a daughter seeks renewal as she confronts her family’s history of secrets, in the aftermath of her mother’s death. Punctuated by gorgeous descriptions of the Grand Canyon, a place her mother loved, the place where she died, and a place to which Laura returns in her search for redemption and peace, Stepping Back from the Ledge is a beautiful and courageous memoir offering an intimate window into the healing and hope that can come from facing painful truths.



Based on the wildly popular Instagram account, Subpar Parks features both the greatest hits and brand-new content, all celebrating the incredible beauty and variety of America’s national parks juxtaposed with the clueless and hilarious one-star reviews posted by visitors.



From CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Conor Knighton shares informative and entertaining dispatches from what turned out to be the road trip of a lifetime. Whether he’s waking up early for a naked scrub in a historic bathhouse in Arkansas or staying up late to stargaze along our loneliest highway in Nevada, Knighton weaves together the type of stories you’re not likely to find in any guidebook. Through his unique lens, America the Beautiful becomes America the Captivating, the Hilarious, and the Inspiring.


When the Killing's Done by T.C. BoyleWHEN THE KILLING’S DONE: A NOVEL by T.C. Boyle

Principally set on the wild Channel Islands off the coast of California, T.C. Boyle’s novel is a gripping adventure with a timely theme. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist spearheading the efforts to save the islands’ native creatures from invasive species. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a local businessman who is fiercely opposed to the killing of any animals whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert her plans.


My First Summer in the Sierra by John MuirMY FIRST SUMMER IN THE SIERRA by John Muir; Introduciton by Mike Davis; Photographs by Herbert W. Gleason

My First Summer in the Sierra, whose heart is the diary Muir kept while tending sheep in Yosemite country, enticed thousands of Americans to visit this magical place, and resounds with Muir’s regard for the “divine, enduring, unwasteable wealth” of the natural world.


Letters from Yellowstone by Diane SmithLETTERS FROM YELLOWSTONE by Diane Smith

Brimming with humor, excitement, and the romance of the Yellowstone landscape, Letters from Yellowstone is a love letter to the joys of scientific discovery and America’s majestic natural beauty, as well as a thoughtful reflection on environmentalism, Native American displacement, and feminism at the dawn of a new century.


Wild (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Cheryl StrayedWILD: FROM LOST TO FOUND ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL by Cheryl Strayed

In the wake of her mother’s death, with no experience or training and driven only by blind will, Cheryl Strayed hiked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—alone.




Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. To a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.



Eyewitness National Parks by DKEYEWITNESS NATIONAL PARKS (DK)

A picture-packed guide to every US National Park, from the geyser-rich Yellowstone to the watery Everglades. Find out about the history of all 63 US National Parks, and discover their countless treasures!


WHAT A MAP CAN DO by Gabrille Balkan, Illustrated by Alberto Lot

A raccoon narrator embarks on a big adventure in this exciting exploration of maps for the youngest readers. Traditional maps of cities, roads, and parks are joined by some less conventional ones such as inside the body, each one methodically introduced with humor and clear explanation. A clever, colorful, and engaging first look at constructing and decoding maps.

Parks for the People by Elizabeth PartridgePARKS FOR THE PEOPLE: HOW FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED DESIGNED AMERICA by Elizabeth Partridge; Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

National Book Award finalist Elizabeth Partridge reveals the life and work of Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park and who went on to design parks across America, including Yosemite National Park and even the grounds for the United States Capitol.


I Am Made of Mountains by Alexandra S.D. HinrichsI AM MADE OF MOUNTAINS by Alexandra S.D. Hinrichs, Vivian Mineker

From the volcanos of Haleakalā National Park in Hawai’i to waterfalls of Yosemite to the churning ocean at Acadia National Park in Maine, I Am Made of Mountains takes readers on a tour to honor America’s great outdoors. Sixteen parks are highlighted, and the story follows a different child visiting each park and exploring the natural wonders of each location. The lyrical text paired with the expansive illustrations is an ode to the outdoors that will inspire nature lovers and National Park visitors of all ages.


For more information on these and related titles visit: National Park and Recreation Month


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Posted: July 27, 2023