by Carmela LaVigna Coyle; illustrated by Mike Gordon (Muddy Boots, 2016)
When it comes to children’s books that celebrate Colorado’s outdoors, Abbey Paxton, book manager at BookBar, says she always recommends this picture book written by Denver-area author, Carmela LaVigna Coyle. “It’s a celebration of our national parks in joyous rhyme,” Paxton says. “Each page teaches about a new national park by highlighting what makes each place unique. The book also includes accessible back matter on each park and a map as its end pages, and will turn your little readers into happy hikers.”
by Adam Gamble and Mark Rosen; illustrated by Anne Rosen (Good Night Books, 2012)
Though her children are past the board-book stage, Arvada mom of two Jaclyn Stevens says Good Night Colorado is one board book she will always keep. Written with simple, short sentences for very young children, the book goes through a variety of Colorado landmarks including Maroon Bells, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the Royal Gorge Bridge, and others. Stevens even said her young daughter recognized a photograph of Maroon Bells based on the illustration from the book. The series also includes Good Night Denver and Good Night Mountains, in addition to many other locations across the country.
by Gary D. Robson; illustrated by Elijah Brady Clark (Farcountry Press, 2005)
As Michael and Emily explore Rocky Mountain National Park, they discover animal tracks and scat, and learn to identify which animal made which ones. Robson is also the author of Who Pooped on the Colorado Plateau? “Kids love poop (seriously), so promising them the chance to look for animal scat is a great way to get them outside,” says Shona Snowden, owner of The Bookies Bookstore. “This book helps you identify poop and tracks as you’re exploring. So next time you go hiking, don’t call it hiking, instead, announce: We’re going on a poop hunt!”
by Anastasia Kierst (Eternal Summers Press, 2014)
As Emmaline and Oliver travel across Colorado, they talk about landscapes they see, and imagine how each might have come to be. After each one, their parents explain how particular natural features actually formed. The author’s father, retired geologist Christopher Kierst, provided technical insight for the series.
by Louise Doak Whitney; illustrated by Helle Urban (Sleeping Bear Press, 2002)
Part of the Alphabet Series, C is for Centennial explains more about Colorado’s plants, animals, historical figures, landmark buildings, and more, described in rhyming verse. Background information accompanies each letter of the alphabet, and the author and illustrator are both Colorado residents.
by Boys and Girls Clubs of Colorado (WestWinds/Graphic Arts Books, 2012)
Color photographs of Colorado’s natural beauty are accompanied by couplets written by kids from local Boys and Girls Clubs. Readers follow the alphabet through different features of the state, with facts interspersed to offer more information for both parents and kids.
Other books related to Colorado’s history, natural features, native animals, and popular activities include:
- Welcome To The U.S.A. Colorado by Ann Heinrichs; illustrated by Matt Kania
- Colorado Activity Book by Paula Ellis; illustrated by Anna Kaiser
- A, B, See Colorado by Claudia Cangilla McAdam; photography by John Fielder
- Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland
- Colorado Facts and Symbols by Emily McAuliffe
- A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
- Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Mélanie Watt
- Zoom! by Jennifer Charrette and Marcia Kinne; illustrated by Kellie Day
- Cheyenne Again by Eve Bunting; illustrated by Irving Toddy
- Rocky’s Outdoor Adventure by Colleen Dolphin; illustrated by Bob Doucet
- Gracie Goat’s Big Bike Race by Erin Mirabella; illustrated by Lisa Horstman
- Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin
- We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
- Bear Dancer: The Story of a Ute Girl by Thelma Hatch Wyss
- I Live in Denver by Elizabeth Nelson
- Daisy The Cripple Creek Donkey by Lyn Bezek
- Curious George Goes Camping created by Margret and H.A. Rey
- Fishing With My Dad by Raymie Lee McDonald; illustrated by Erin Henderson
- Llama Llama Love Camping and Llama Llama Learns to Swim (June 5, 2018) created by Anna Dewdney