I have yet to visit the Grand Canyon. My family and I have visited many of the familiar national parks of the west, but so far not this miles-wide chasm in Arizona. After reading the new children’s book Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (New York: Roaring Book Press, 2017; order from Amazon or Powell’s City of Books), not only do I feel a bit of the reported awe that visitors usually claim they feel (I don’t doubt this!), but I feel that I shouldn’t wait too much longer to experience this geological wonder.
Chin’s books, which I have shared about here and on my other blog, splendidly mix an imaginative story line and artwork with accurate scientific content. Grand Canyon is no exception to this blending skill of Chin’s. Like in two of his previous books, Redwoods and Coral Reefs, a child is immersed in an activity and is suddenly transported to a new world. In Redwoods, a boy in a subway station reading about redwoods finds himself in a redwood forest upon exiting the station; and in Coral Reefs, a girl in a library opens a book about coral reefs and the reading room becomes an undersea world and gets a firsthand experience of coral reef life.
Likewise, in Grand Canyon a girl on a hike with her father is sent time traveling into the past to see geological processes at work and the ancient life that lived in the Grand Canyon region. Whether shadowed by gigantic redwoods, swimming with sea turtles, or playing witness to geological and paleontological history, Chin’s books show curious kids exploring and learning about the natural world. The result of kids reading these books, I hope, is a shared appreciation for nature and awe at its grandness and diversity. I highly recommend Grand Canyon and Chin’s other books, including one he illustrated for another author – Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle.