Keep reading for 9 must-read chapter books set in the Grand Canyon.
Did you know Teddy Roosevelt was instrumental in protecting the Grand Canyon? The President first visited the Grand Canyon in 1903 and was deeply moved by the awe inspiring site. In 1908, Roosevelt made it a national monument. He said this of the Grand Canyon: “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
Whether you have been to the Grand Canyon or just wish you take in the amazing site, these 9 books are just the thing for you! 8 middle grade novels and 1 young adult adaptation book set in the amazing Grand Canyon. Let’s get started!
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Descriptions come from Amazon; some are edited for length
Chapter Books Set in the Grand Canyon
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
“Long ago, a lone little burro roamed the high cliffs of the Grand Canyon and touched the hearts of all who knew him: a grizzled old miner, a big-game hunter, even President Teddy Roosevelt. Named Brighty by the prospector who befriended him, he remained a free spirit at heart. But when a ruthless claim-jumper murdered the prospector, loyal Brighty risked everything to bring the killer to justice.”
The Ghost of the Grand Canyon by Carole Marsh
“When Mimi, Papa, Christina and Grant visit a U.S. Park Ranger friend and her two children, the kids almost immediately embark on a GRAND adventure! Join them on an exciting tour, by helicopter, stubborn mule and tipsy-turvy whitewater raft, down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon!”
Over the Edge: A Mystery in Grand Canyon National Park by Alane Ferguson
“When Dr. Olivia Landon receives this anonymous e-mail shortly after broadcasting her controversial plan to save the condors, everyone thinks it’s a crank threat except Dr. Landon’s daughter Ashley. She’s sure it’s the handiwork of Morgan Rogers, self-proclaimed anarchist and computer geek. Suspicions mount when the death threat almost becomes a reality, and Morgan is the only witness. Is he innocent or guilty? Journey into the maze of Morgan’s cyberworld and find out!”
“Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are visiting the Grand Canyon when they spot Parker Stone, a famous TV star. They can’t wait to get his autograph, but before they can, Parker is kidnapped! Only a few clues (and his pet parrot) are left behind. It’s up to Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose to find Parker before it’s too late!”
Path of the Thunderbird: A Grand Canyon Adventure by Sara Miller
“Nate, Kira, Hope, and Oz have planned their Grand Canyon adventure for months. Armed with maps, camping gear, and lots of food and water, the twelve-year olds are certain nothing can go wrong. But when they receive a mysterious letter from Nate’s late-grandfather, who once studied the elusive California condor, their carefully planned trip turns upside down. They suddenly find themselves on a treasure hunt through the Grand Canyon. As they hike from clue to clue, the adventurers must face stormy weather, wild animals, and dangerous terrain in their quest to make the discovery of a lifetime. From one rim to the other, they learn about the resilience of nature, the importance of friends and family, and the wonders waiting to be discovered within Grand Canyon.”
The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
“One year after a random shooting changed their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them find peace. Nora longs for things to go back to normal, like they were when her mother was still alive, while her father keeps them isolated in fear of other people. But when they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips across their path, sweeping away Nora’s father and all of their supplies. Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone in the desert, facing dehydration, venomous scorpions, deadly snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her dreams for the past year. If Nora is going to save herself and her father, she must conquer her fears, defeat the Beast, and find the courage to live her new life.”
Where is the Grand Canyon? by Jim O’Connor
“There are canyons all over the planet, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona is not the biggest. Yet because of the spectacular colors in the rock layers and fascinating formations of boulders, buttes, and mesas, it is known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Starting with a brief overview of how national parks came into being, this book covers all aspects of the canyon: how it formed, which early native people lived there, and what varied wildlife can be found there now. A history of the canyon’s end-to-end exploration in the late 1860s and how the Grand Canyon became such a popular vacation spot (5 million tourists visit every year) round out this informative, easy-to-read account.”
Major Impossible by Nathan Hale
“John Wesley Powell always had the spirit of adventure in him. As a young man, he traveled all over the United States exploring. When the Civil War began, Powell went to fight for the Union, and even after he lost most of his right arm, he continued to fight until the war was over. In 1869, he embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition (ten men in four boats) to float through the Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, but only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history!
YA Books Set in the Grand Canyon
No Barriers (The Young Adult Adaptation): A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon by Erik Weihenmayer
“Erik Weihenmayer has a long history of turning obstacles into adventures. Born with a rare condition that blinded him as a teenager, he never let his diagnosis hold him back from a full life. As an athlete, explorer, speaker and activist, he has opened the eyes of people around the world to what’s possible. This special edition of No Barriers introduces kids to the incredible true story of Erik’s most terrifying journey: solo kayaking the thunderous whitewater of the Grand Canyon. Erik and his friends form a courageous crew to do battle with some of the harshest elements nature has to offer. Along the course of Erik’s journey, he meets other trailblazers: adventurers, scientists, artists, and activists who show Erik the way forward and teach him the meaning of No Barriers.”
From Brighty to No Barriers, I hope this list helped you find the perfect book that takes place in the Grand Canyon.
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