The Camping Trip That Changed America

The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and our National Parks, written by Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein, is a nominee for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

I’ve told many of my students that Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite president. After reading The Camping Trip That Changed America, I suspect many of them will feel the same.

This book explores the 1903 camping trip that took Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir all over the Yosemite area of California. This trip was intended to convince the President that the wild areas of nature needed to be preserved.

Roosevelt and Muir spent several nights in the wilderness, and, according to this book and other accounts, discussed how important the wilderness was and how people needed to be concerned with preservation for future generation. A nature-lover at heart, it didn’t take long for Muir to convince Roosevelt that the government had to do something before the nation simply ran out of trees and wilderness.

Following this camping trip, President Roosevelt made it his mission to protect the nation’s wilderness. He made several areas into historic landmarks, doubled the number of national parks, and became one of the nation’s most passionate conservationists. And although he and John Muir never crossed paths after their historic camping trip, they remained friends who both did what they could to protect the natural resources of the country they loved.

This is a wonderful book for any reader who wished to learn more about the importance of conservation and our country’s–and even the world’s–natural resources and wilderness areas. If even one reader can be convinced that these areas should be preserved, then this book has done its job.


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