Rosenstock, B., & Gerstein, M. (ill.) (2012). The camping trip that changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780803737105
Annotation: In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt went on a camping trip in California’s Yosemite wilderness with naturalist John Muir, which left Roosevelt with a passion for preserving America’s wilderness.
Reaction: I love Teddy Roosevelt, or Teedie to his family, so I was really excited to see this book on the shelf at the library. The author did a good job of recreating what Teedie & Johnnie’s camping trip was probably like based on the few accounts of the trip, letters written by the two men and Muir’s books. Also, simply based on Roosevelt’s resulting passion for wilderness preservation, it seems clear that Muir was able to convince him of the importance of saving lands for posterity.
The art in the book is beautiful, and Gerstein’s paintings really showcase the panoramic vistas and gorgeous colors of the wilderness. Requiring the reader to turn the book vertically to read the page with the giant sequoias was an especially brilliant touch, as it forces the reader to acknowledge just how HUGE those trees are.
Media Used: Pen and ink, colored pencil and acrylic on 2-ply Strathmore paper.
Grade Level: 5th
Subject/Content: Geography/nature preservation
Summary of Lesson: Students will learn about the National Parks established by Roosevelt.
Focus Question: What parks were founded by Roosevelt and why were they included as part of his preservation efforts?
Books/websites used: The Camping Trip that Changed America
National Park Service
–>Read The Camping Trip that Changed America
–>Discuss Roosevelt’s preservation efforts, the Parks he established and the ones that have come after
–>Begin individual research in school computer lab and library
–>Write essay using research
–>Present findings to class
–>Conduct research utilizing appropriate sources
–>Write a an informative essay
–>Discussion of nature preservation
–>Practice public speaking by presenting research in front of class