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Book Life

Rachael Walker

In this special series, children's literacy consultant Rachael Walker and many of the authors, parents, and educators she’s met and worked with talk about how books have changed their lives, how to bring books to life for young readers, and how to enrich kids’ lives with good books. (Also visit Rachael at her blog, Belle of the Book.)

Postcard from the Road

August 19, 2019
portrait of school librarian Rebecca Burton and her daughter Thea

Our road-tripping school librarian Rebecca Burton, is checking in from her a cross-country adventure that has taken a few (brilliant!) detours thanks to the young readers in her family.

Rebecca is the school librarian at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School in Washington, DC. See Rebecca's first post for Book Life, where she describes how her kids got ready for their big trip out West (books included): And ... We're Off!

Greetings from the West! My, oh my, the mysteries and majesties we are discovering! Check out this crazy rock formation, Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark, which rises up out of the plains of Western Kansas:

Young family framed by rock arch at Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark

This was not a planned stop, but after my daughter read about it as a “must-see” in her kids’ U.S. atlas, we knew we had to go. These chalk formations are from the Cretaceous Period. Pure magic!

This trip has taken us on many journeys through the ancient past, both natural and human-made. My son, who prefers to read nonfiction, really ate up all of the informational brochures at Mesa Verde National Park. Not sure that anyone else has ever taken this pamphlet to bed with them as their nighttime reading — but he did!

Young child at Mesa Verde National Park

After seeing so much history close-up, Thea has developed an interest in the indigenous people who have been living out here for thousands of years. We read some of the books and maps at our hotel about places to hike and set off. We’d hardly been out for 10 minutes before Thea found this piece of pottery. A local archaeologist confirmed that it was the real deal and was hundreds of years old. We left it with him for others to enjoy.

Young girl at Mesa Verde National Park with pottery shard

There’s so much beauty out here to explore. What a country this is!

Signing off from the Rockies!

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"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943