Grand Canyon, Jason Chin 2017
I have read a lot of children’s books to my grandson, Simon, over the last four years, and I’ve chosen not to include them in my Book Journal. Chin’s book, designated by Kirkus Reviews as targeted at the 6-11 year old set, will be the first exception for several reasons. First, it’s an engaging and informative journey through one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places, just as interesting for an adult as for a young child. The Grand Canyon stretches 277 miles along the course of the Colorado River in northwest Arizona. Carved by the River’s endless downstream transport of rocks and sediment, it dives more than a mile from the rim to the river. In Chin’s book, a father and daughter make this hike up the South Kaibab Trail while Chin illustrates the geology (from 1.5 billion year old base rock to 270 million year old top layer) and the plants and animals that inhabit this unique ecology. I was totally engaged by his artwork and also learned quite a bit. Second, Chin’s artwork is truly beautiful and was recognized by being named the winner of the Caldecott Medal for the ‘most distinguished American picture book for children’ in 2018. Third, Chin is a Vermont writer and a finalist for this year’s Vermont Book Award, so I reviewed his book for my BookMarks column. If you have a young child or grandchild or if you just want to spend an hour with a beautiful and informative book, buy this one.