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The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks


The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and Our National Parks

Alethea Allarey

Official Links



Written by Barb Rosenstock

Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

Published by Dial Books for Young People, 2012


President Theodore Roosevelt read a book about the beautiful redwood trees written by the famous naturalist, John Muir. In his book Mr. Muir expressed concern for the protection of this amazing wilderness.

President Roosevelt wrote a letter to John Muir and asked if he could go camping with him to see these magnificent trees for himself. John Muir took him to Yosemite. This trip led to the creation of national parks, national forests, and national sanctuaries, Theodore Roosevelt saved more wild land than any president in history.

Book Trailer

Meet the Author

Barb Rosenstock was born on April Fool’s Day. She lives near Chicago with her husband, sons, and two big poodles. Her favorite place is the library because she loves to readespecially true stories. She also loves dancing, singing, and acting. She enjoys going on school visits to talk to students about her passion for writing. She has written five non-fiction picture books for children and won several awards.

Find out more about Barb Rosenstock on her website at

Meet the Illustrator

Mordicai Gerstein always new he’d be an artist. He moved from Los Angeles to New York after he graduated from art school. He designed and directed animated television commercials and made some animated films of his own. Mr. Gerstein is also a painter and a sculptor.

In 1970 he met a young writer who had written a mystery for children entitled Something Queer is Going On. She asked him to illustrate it. It became a series, and he has been illustrating them for more than 30 years. He found that he loved the picture book medium so much that he began writing his own stories. After writing for over 10 years he published his first book in 1983. Arnold of the Ducks had been turned down by seven publishers, but finally he was officially an author, and his book was named one of the year’s ten best books for children by The New York Times. Three of his other books have also received this honor from the Times.

Mordicai Gerstein has illustrated 15 books by other authors and has written and illustrated 33 books of his own. He won the Caldecott Medal in 2004 for his illustrations of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

Find out more about Mordicai Gerstein on his website at


  • Have you ever been camping? Did you like it?
  • Have you ever seen the giant redwoods in northern California? How are they different from other trees?
  • Have you ever been to a national park? What was it like? Why do you think it was designated a national park? What was special about it?
  • Have you been to Yosemite? Describe it to your friends. Can you imagine what it would be like if it wasn’t a national park?
  • Would you like to be a naturalist? What would you study?


Theodore Roosevelt
Adler, David A., Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. Holiday House, 2014.
Britton, Tamara, Theodore Roosevelt. ABDO Publishing Co., 2009.
Chesterman, Barnaby, Famous Americans in History. Naxos Audiobooks, 2002.
Fritz, Jean, Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer. Putnam & Grosset Group, 1997.
Hollihan, Kerrie Logan, Theodore Roosevelt for Kids: His Life and Times - 21 Activities. Chicago Review Press, 2010.
McKay, Sindy, President Theodore Roosevelt. Treasure Bay, 2006.
Olson, Nathan, Theodore Roosevelt: Bear of a President. Capstone Press, 2007.
Roosevelt, Ted, My Tour of Europe: by Teddy Roosevelt, Age 10. Millbrook Press, 2003.
Roosevelt, Theodore, The Boyhood Diary of Theodore Roosevelt, 1869 – 1870: Early Travels of the 26th President. Blue Earth Books, 2001.

Baron, Kathy, The Tree of Time: A Story of a Special Sequoia. Yosemite Conservancy, 1994.
Bosveld, Jane, While a Tree Was Growing. Illustrated by Daniel O’Leary. Workman Publishing Company, 1997.
Graf, Mike, My Yosemite: A Guide for Young Adventurers, Illustrated by Annette Filice. Yosemite Conservancy, 2012.
Madden, Jonathan, A History of Yosemite National Park for Kids. Shamrock Eden Publishing, 2011.

John Muir
Anderson, Peter, John Muir: Wilderness Prophet. Franklin Watts, a Division of Grolier Publishing, 1990.
Cornell, Joseph, John Muir: My Life with Nature. Dawn Publications, 2000.
Dunham, Montrew, John Muir: Young Naturalist. Illustrated by Al Fiorentino. Simon and Schuster,1998.
Elliot, Henry, Voices for Green Choices: John Muir: Protecting and Preserving the Environment. Crabtree Publishing Co., 2009.
Greene, Carol, John Muir: Man of the Wild Places. Children’s Press, 1991.
Lasky, Kathryn, John Muir: America’s First Environmentalist. Illustrated by Stan Fellows. Candlewick Press, 2006
Ledbetter, Cynthia E. and Richard C. Jones, John Muir. Rourke Publications, Inc., 1993.
Locker, Thomas, John Muir: America’s Naturalist. Fulcrum Publishing, 2003.
Maynard, Charles, John Muir: Naturalist and Explorer. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2003.
Naden, Corrinne J. and Rose Blue, John Muir: Saving the Wilderness. The Millbrook Press, 1992.
Talmadge, Katherine S., John Muir: At Home in the Wild. 21st Century Books, Henry Holt & Co., 1993.
Wadsworth, Ginger, John Muir: Wilderness Protector. Lerner Publications  Co., 1992.
Wadsworth Ginger, Camping With the President. Illustrated by Karen Dugan. Calkins Creek Books, 2009.

For information on the National Parks check out the books in the National Parks series published by ABDO Publishing.

Books by Barb Rosenstock
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art. Illustrated by Mary GrandPrè. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014.
The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero. Illustrated by Terry Widener. Calkins Creek, 2014.
Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library. Illustrated by John O’Brien. Calkins Creek, 2013.
The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and the National Parks. Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. 
The Littlest Mountain. Illustrated by Melanie Hall. Kar-Ben Publisher, 2011.
Fearless, The Story of Legendary Driver Louise Smith. Illustrated by Scott Dawson. Dutton Children’s Books, 2010.

Books Written and Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (partial list)
A Book. Roaring Brook, 2009.
Leaving the Nest. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.
The White Ram. Holiday House, 2006.
Carolinda Clatter!  Publishers Weekly, 2005.
The Old Country. Roaring Brook Press, 2003.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Roaring Brook Press, 2003.
Sparrow Jack. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
What Charlie Heard. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Fox Eyes. Golden Books, 2001.
Queen Esther the Morning Star. Simon & Schuster, 2001.
The Absolutely Awful Alphabet. Harcourt Brace, 1999.
Noah and the Great Flood. Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Victor. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.
The Wild Boy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Stop Those Pants! Harcourt Brace, 1998.
Jonah and the Two Great Fish. Simon and Schuster, 1997.
Behind the Couch. Hyperion Books, 1996.
Bedtime Everybody! Hyperion Books, 1996.
The Giant. Hyperion Books, 1995.
The New Creatures. HarperCollins, 1991.
The Mountains of Tibet. HarperCollins, 1987.