Guest post today from a prolific author of books for kids (ages 8-12) on science, nature adventures, and in particular, a series of novels set in America’s greatest national parks. I introduce to you Mike Graf, writer, elementary school teacher, university professor, and weekend weatherman in Northern California.
My Adventures with the Parkers series currently has 8 books set in our best national parks, including Zion/Bryce (Danger in the Narrows), Grand Canyon (Tale of the Scorpion), Yosemite (Harrowing Ascent of Half Dome), Yellowstone (Eye of the Grizzly), Great Smoky Mountains (Ridge Runner Rescue), Olympic (Crack of the Glacier), Glacier (Going to the Sun), and the Rocky Mountains (Peril on Long’s Peak). Books to be released in the spring of 2012 are set in Arches/Canyonlands (In the Land of Standing Rocks), the Badlands, Wind Cave, and Mt. Rushmore (Going Underground). Often each book portrays the family hiking some of the most exciting trails within the park. This series has received national attention, awards, and excellent reviews.
I spend over two weeks in each park to come up with the story. I hike, backpack, interview rangers and others, go to campfire programs and so on. While doing this I carry around a pocket tape recorder, and speak my ideas or experiences into tape to come home and write the family’s adventures later.
The books are written for families with children planning to go to one or more of these parks, or who have already been and want to read more about it on their way home. The target age range for the stories is 8-13 years old. The books are fiction, but realistic—everything that happens could happen to a visitor at the park in real life. There are also side bars teaching readers about various aspects of the parks such as geysers, rock climbing, geology, bears, fires, wolves, glaciers, etc.
I also visit schools (1st – 8th grade) and give presentations on the national parks and the Parker’s adventures. I travel all over the country visiting over 50 schools a year. Please see my website for more information about my books, and my author visits.
Happy reading—and traveling!