A Great Year for the Great Outdoors

Author of A Weird and Wild Beauty, Erin Peabody, shares some information on National Parks. Check it out below!


A Great Year for the Great Outdoors

Heading to one of America’s national parks this summer? If so, in addition to packing a good camera, sunscreen and a pair of sturdy hiking boots, you might want to bring along birthday candles—100 of them to be exact.

That’s because the agency charged with caring for our national parks and other special places, the National Park Service, turns a century old this year. The agency manages many of our country’s most beloved landscapes and vistas: mountains, geysers and canyons from places like Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. The Park Service also oversees sacred historic spaces: the memorials, battlefields, trails of tears and other hallowed landmarks that tell our unique American story.

The “national park idea” has been hailed as one of the United States’ best inventions. Countries from around the world have followed our example, setting aside spectacular scenery and habitat for the benefit of all people.

Yet this grand idea wasn’t forged overnight. Hardly. In fact, the first white Americans, you may be surprised to learn, feared, even hated wild nature (quite unlike the country’s first residents, the Native Americans). It took time—and the efforts of explorers, scientists, philosophers and poets—before everyday people found beauty, adventure and solace in the great outdoors.

Through an act of Congress, the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872—just in the nick of time. Had lawmakers waited any later, the stunning region would have been overrun with poachers and profiteers out to make a quick buck.

For more about the struggle to save Yellowstone, please see my book: A Weird and Wild Beauty: The Story of Yellowstone, the World’s First National Park. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to read them at erinpeabody.com.


A Weird and Wild Beauty by Erin Peabody

9781634502047-frontcoverThe summer of 1871, a team of thirty-two men set out on the first scientific expedition across Yellowstone. Through uncharted territory, some of the day’s most renowned scientists and artists explored, sampled, sketched, and photographed the region’s breathtaking wonders—from its white-capped mountain vistas and thundering falls to its burping mud pots and cauldrons of molten magma. At the end of their adventure, the survey packed up their specimens and boarded trains headed east, determined to convince Congress that the country needed to preserve the land from commercial development. They returned with “stories of wonder hardly short of fairy tales,” to quote the New York Times.

With the support of conservationists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Law Olmsted, and John Muir, the importance of a national park was secured. On March 1, 1872, Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Park Bill into law. It set aside over two million acres of one-of-a-kind wilderness as “a great national park for the benefit and enjoyment of people.” This important and fascinating book will introduce young adults to the astonishing adventure that led to “the best idea America ever had.” Today over 130 countries have copied the Yellowstone model, and billions of acres of critical habitat and spectacular scenery are being preserved for all of us to enjoy.

This book has a wonderful ecological and historical message for readers ages 12 and up. No book about Yellowstone’s founding has been written for this age group before, yet Yellowstone National Park is a major destination for many families, so many readers will likely have heard of Yellowstone or even have visited there. This is a great book for any school library or for history or science classrooms in middle and high school, where information can be used for research projects.

 

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Happy Book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday to all of our June Sky Pony Books!

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Life Before by Michele Bacon

Life BeforeSeventeen years is a long time to keep secrets, and Xander Fife has gotten very good at it.

Everyone believes Xander has a normal life and a normal family. If he can just get through this summer, he’ll start his real life in college with a clean slate—no risk, no drama, no fear.

Even better, his plans for summer are awesome: lots of pick-up soccer, relaxing afternoons with friends, and an epic road trip. Xander is banking on some long-overdue nights with his ideal girlfriend, the amazing Gretchen Taylor.

Instead of kicking off what had promised to be an amazing summer, however, graduation day brings terror. His family’s secrets are thrust out into the open, and Xander must confront his greatest fear. And survive doing so.

Armed with a fake ID, cash, and a knife, Xander skips town and assumes a new identity. Hundreds of miles from home and in danger, one thing is clear: Xander’s real life is already in progress and just getting through it isn’t enough.

Kingdom in a Horse by Maia Wojciechowska

Kingdom in a Horse_coverDavid Lee is twelve years old and disappointed in his father Earl, a once-famous rodeo clown who has quit the circuit and moved David to a small town in Vermont to start a new life. David has a hard time adjusting to life as a “normal” boy and is hurt that his father never allowed him the chance to be his partner in the rodeo arena. When Earl tries to buy David a horse at auction, David pretends to have no interest in it, and the horse is sold, instead, to a seventy-year-old woman named Sarah Tierney.

Sarah, grief-stricken at the death of her husband, tries to ?nd solace in her new horse, Gypsy, but she needs help from Earl and David to learn how to care for her. As the three of them spend more and more time with Gypsy, they all become entranced—in their own ways—by the horse and begin to learn more and more about themselves. A heartfelt story, this middle-reader novel is a must read for any girl or boy interested in nature and horses.

Treason in America by Jules Archer, foreword by Brianna DuMont

Treason in America_coverTreason can be defined as “the breach of the allegiance which a person owes to the state under whose protection he lives.” But what exactly does it mean to be guilty of a “breach of the allegiance” owed to your country? In a country that guarantees freedom of speech and dissent tp all citizens, the extent to which dissent becomes unlawful may not always be clear. Treason is punishable by the death penalty, underscoring the importance of the question: How do we go about proving that someone is indeed an enemy of his country—a traitor?

In this book, renowned historian Jules Archer explores different cases of treason throughout our history, while encouraging young readers to really question the definition of treason and how it should be treated. He asks readers to consider the similarities between disloyalty and dissent and ultimately urges this generation to take it into their own hands to redefine American duties and liberties for our time

Down into the Nether by Danica Davidson

Down into the NetherStevie and Alex thought they defeated Herobrine completely, but they soon discover that he’s still on the loose. He has returned to Stevie’s nightmares, taunting him with threats to now destroy the human world.

The prophecies on music discs suggest that only Stevie and Alex, plus Maison, Destiny, and Yancy, their friends from the human world will be able to defeat Herobrine. But the prophecies also warn that one of the friends will betray the rest, putting all the worlds at risk. Tensions run high as the group must figure out how to save the world while they try to discern the traitor in their midst. Maison, It isn’t long before the traitor is discovered.

Stevie and Alex find themselves separated from the others and must first journey into the Nether to find a special treasure that will enable them to confront Herobrine. The clock is ticking as they put their heads together to survive in the fiery depths of the Nether. Monsters are waiting for them around every corner and it won’t be much longer before they come face-to-face with Herobrine, who has become more powerful than ever.

Terror on a Treasure Hunt by Winter Morgan

Terror on a Treasure HuntAfter trapping Mr. Anarchy, the evil master griefer who’s been tormenting them, Lily, Simon, and Michael can finally concentrate on trying to escape the Overworld and getting to know their new friends on the server. So when one of their friends invites them along on a treasure hunt, they couldn’t be more thrilled!

But when the gang’s absence from Lisimi Village gives Mr. Anarchy a chance to escape, their hunt for treasure is cut short and Lily, Simon, and Michael must make a hard decision: do they continue their much-anticipated treasure hunt, or do they band together with their new friends to find and recapture Mr. Anarchy, and whatever team of griefers he might be working with?

Nothing is as it seems—and no one can be trusted—in this thrilling third book in bestselling author Winter Morgan’s Unofficial Minetrapped Adventure series.

Abracadabra! by Kristen Kelly & Ken Kelly

Abracadabra_coverSummon your inner Houdini and learn simple magic tricks that will wow your family and friends!

How did he do that? Have you ever racked your brains trying to figure out how that birthday party magician pulled a dove out of his sleeve? Or spent sleepless nights wondering just how he made that coin disappear? Well, what if there were a book that shared a magician’s secrets with you and showed you how to do magic, too?

Eleven-year-old magician Kristen and her magician dad, Ken, reveal secret magic techniques with step-by-step photographs and demonstrate how you can perform tricks that look impossible but are, in fact, very simple to master! You’ll also learn one of the most important secrets about becoming a magician—how to use your confidence, personality, and presentation skills to enchant and amaze your friends and family. Choose from thirty of Kristen and Ken’s coolest tricks and learn how to:

• Make a pencil float in mid-air!
• Bend a key using your mind!
• Make a pile of items disappear!
• Eat a knife!
• And much more!

With Abracadabra!, you’ll see that you don’t have to be an adult to perform magic!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day! Check out a fun activity you can do as a family below!


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Mason Jar Crafts for Kids: More Than 25 Cool, Crafty Projects to Make for Your Friends, Your Family, and Yourself! by Linda Braden

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Mason jars are no longer just for canning. Today we use them to drink from, to cook inside, and—with almost limitless possibilities—to craft with. In this fabulous new book, Linda Braden, author and owner of MasonJarCraftsLove.com and ItAllStartedWithPaint.com, offers up a collection of fun and creative Mason jar crafts for kids. Her ideas include everything from wild science experiments and delicious edible treats to holiday decor and gifts for the whole family. Kids won’t want to miss the fireworks in a jar or the lava lamp jar projects. And who could resist a Mason jar cupcake or a rainbow Jell-O jar? There are instructions for how to make your own lantern jars, snow globes, and even a Mason jar terrarium. This book will keep little hands busy all year round, with dozens of easy do-it-yourself projects.
Accompanied by photo tutorials and helpful step-by-step instructions, these projects are kid-friendly and offer a variety of options for both beginning and more advanced DIY fans. Each project is complete with age recommendations, a list of supplies you will need, and safety precautions. These projects are great for crafting with a big group or alone with your child, and perfect for long summer days, rainy weekends, and holiday preparation. Be inspired and discover the endless possibilities with the world’s most famous jar!

 

Linda Z. Braden may be a Mason jar enthusiast, but she’s new to the world of Mason jars. She’s making up for lost time by forging new memories with her children and a newfound community of Mason jar lovers she’s successfully cultivated online. Her Mason jar fan base has grown to more than 25,000 strong on Facebook; she’s received more than 130,000 page views on her blog, Mason Jar Crafts Love; and she’s gathered nearly ten thousand followers on Pinterest. She is forever looking for new and unique ways to incorporate Mason jars into her home decor, holidays, gifts, and parties. She lives with her husband and two children in Chicago, Illinois.

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5 Things to Do on a Rainy Day

April showers bring May flowers. The May flowers are always nice but the April showers keep us indoors and bored. Instead of being sad about the rain, here are five fun things you can do to stave away the boredom:

5. Craft with the little ones using Mason Jar Crafts for Kids by Linda Z. Braden

9781632204134-frontcoverMason jars are no longer just for canning. Today we use them to drink from, to cook inside, and—with almost limitless possibilities—to craft with. In this fabulous new book, Linda Braden, author and owner of MasonJarCraftsLove.com and ItAllStartedWithPaint.com, offers up a collection of fun and creative Mason jar crafts for kids. Her ideas include everything from wild science experiments and delicious edible treats to holiday decor and gifts for the whole family. Kids won’t want to miss the fireworks in a jar or the lava lamp jar projects. And who could resist a Mason jar cupcake or a rainbow Jell-O jar? There are instructions for how to make your own lantern jars, snow globes, and even a Mason jar terrarium. This book will keep little hands busy all year round, with dozens of easy do-it-yourself projects.

Accompanied by photo tutorials and helpful step-by-step instructions, these projects are kid-friendly and offer a variety of options for both beginning and more advanced DIY fans. Each project is complete with age recommendations, a list of supplies you will need, and safety precautions. These projects are great for crafting with a big group or alone with your child, and perfect for long summer days, rainy weekends, and holiday preparation. Be inspired and discover the endless possibilities with the world’s most famous jar!

4. Binge watch the entire five seasons of Once Upon a Time on Netflix in preparation for the paperback release of another fairy tale retelling: Roses by Rose Mannering

9781634501880-frontcoverShe bears no name. Her silvery appearance is freakish to the numerous inhabitants of Sago, the cosmopolitan capital of Pevorocco in the Western Realm. With her mother vanishing at the instance of her birth, she is sent to live with the cruel, rich Ma Dane, where she is punished daily for something, though she knows not what. Tauntingly named Beauty, she flees Sago in a violent uprising that sets out to massacre all Magics and journeys to the farthest point of the country.

But Beauty cannot hide in the grassy Hillands forever. Before long, the State officials find her and threaten to take her back to war-torn Sago where death surely awaits. In a midnight blizzard she escapes them, running into a deep, enchanted forest to a great and terrible beast who will bargain for her life.

But can Beauty accept Beast? Eternity is a long time. Now for the first time in paperback, Roses is sure to capture your heart as you fall in love with Beauty and her Beast all over again.

3. Play some Minecraft and find helpful hints in our Hacks for Minecrafters series

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Packed with expert tips, cheats, and hacks on building, fighting, farming, enchanting, mining, and more, The Big Book of Hacks for Minecrafters shows exactly how the experts bring their amazing structures to life (like a Japanese pagoda or underwater dome) and fight every single type of mob (from Blazes to Zombie Pigmen and everything in between). Illustrated guides will let every kid follow along with each tip step-by-step to master the Minecrafting world.

 

 

 

 

2. Watch Rosemary’s Baby and then read Susannah Appelbaum’s Divah

41GkjrYv7pL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Seventeen-year-old Itzy Nash is spending the summer at the exclusive Carlyle hotel in New York City. But the hotel harbors more than the rich and privileged; it is host to a gorgeous fallen angel, reclusive movie stars, and—Itzy soon learns—demons of the worst sort. When the Queen of the Damned checks in, all Hell breaks loose. Itzy is called upon to save herself—and all of humanity—from the ravages of the Underworld. There’s only one problem: Itzy’s possessed.

Part gothic thriller, part historical fiction, the novel straddles the Upper East Side and the lush trappings of the Carlyle hotel, and Paris during the Reign of Terror in 1789. Marie Antoinette is the Queen of the Damned. Marilyn Monroe is an expert demon hunter. To kill a demon, Hermès scarves, Evian water, and a guillotine are the weapons of choice.

 

 

1. Read The Little Raindrop by Joanna Gray, illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic to the little ones in your life.

9781628738216-frontcoverFrom cloud to puddle, and puddle to stream, the Little Raindrop is making its way on the remarkable journey that is Earth’s water cycle. In this inviting story—illustrated with pastels for a soft, full color—readers are taught about science and nature through a character-driven narrative that leads a little raindrop on a big adventure. With an easy-to-follow plot that teaches precipitation, water flow, and evaporation, The Little Raindrop offers a sweet story full of learning and discovery.

Featuring a heartwarming adventure from author Joanna Gray and beautiful pastel illustrations by Dubravka Kolanovic, The Little Raindrop takes readers on a fun and educational ride through the water cycle.

 

 

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Q & A With Brianna DuMont

Brianna DuMont, author of the Changed History series took the time to answer our author Q & A. Check it out below!


Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

Whatever genre you write, you have to read and study and stay immersed in, so liking it is sort of important. I could read history and nonfiction all day and never consider it “work”.

 

Q: What are you reading right now?

Nonfiction: River of Doubt by Candace Millard

Fiction: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

 

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

This is a hard one, but I’m going to say Princess Cimorene in Dealing with Dragons. She’s fearless, witty, and loyal. And she gets to live with dragons!

 

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

Loyola University Chicago. I love the huge reading room (pictured) and the third floor stacks. There’s a deep-sounding generator that hums and makes it feel like I’m working on a spaceship.

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

Gone with the Wind. I can only watch it every five years or so, though. Scarlett makes me so mad.

 

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

Hedgehogs are adorable!

 

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

I’m pretty sure white chocolate isn’t real chocolate, but other than that I’ll eat them all!

 

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

The first weekend of college football in September is THE BEST. That’s a holiday, right?

 

Q: What’s your favorite emoji?

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I’m not sure what this one is, but I pretend like it’s me doing ninja moves. That always helps me finish one more writing session! (Although somebody told me it means “no good”.)

 

Q: What did you want to grow up to be?

Someone who traveled around the world looking for animals. I loved Jeff Corwin and the Kratt brothers!


The Changed History Series:

Fantastic Fugitives by Briana DuMont

9781632204127-frontcoverThink fugitives are always bad guys running from the law? Think again! The twelve fugitives in this book annoyed everyone, including queens, presidents and popes. But they didn’t let the peeved or the powerful stop them from breaking laws. They stood up for what they believed in, which could be as noble as freedom or as greedy as money. They founded countries, won wars, and even ended empires—all while on the run! Follow the twists and turns of these lawbreaking lives to learn how anyone can change the world. Even you! Just make sure you have your running shoes tied tight.

Fantastically fast fugitives hiding inside:

Spartacus * Cleopatra * Martin Luther * Koxinga * Mary, Queen of Scots * The Pilgrims * Harriet Tubman * Typhoid Mary * John Dillinger * Emmeline Pankhurst * Virginia Hall * Nelson Mandela

 

Famous Phonies by Brianna DuMont

9781629146454-frontcoverFakes, frauds, and phonies. Sounds like a book filled with criminals and delinquents, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. Some of the biggest names in history can be found between these pages—and the light isn’t flattering. (We’re looking at you, George “I must not tell a lie” Washington.) Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History is the first book in a new nonfiction middle grade series that will explore the underbelly of history, making you question everything you thought you knew about history’s finest. Follow the fake lives of these twelve history-changers to uncover the fabrications of the famous, and the should-be-famous!

Famous “Phonies”:
Confucius • George Washington • Pythagoras • Hiawatha • Gilgamesh • Major William Martin • William Shakespeare • Pope Joan • Homer • Prester John • Huangdi • The Turk

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