Residents of Baker know they harbor one of the nation’s best kept secrets in the Great Basin National Park right in their backyard, but one local author feels it’s time to share its beauty with everybody.
In a new children’s book out this week titled “The Great Basin for Kids,” author Gretchen Baker said the illustrated read aims to educate younger generations about the Basin’s natural beauty.
“It is this huge area that incorporates all these different habits and so much history and I think a lot of people around here don’t realize what they are missing by not going and exploring the Great Basin,” Baker said.
This isn’t Baker’s first published work about the national park. Her first book, “Great Basin National Park: A Guide to the Park and Surrounding Area” took two years to research and write and another five to publish by the time it came to shelves in 2012. When she looked for what to do next, she realized she could expand her readership past just adults.
“I was talking to the bookstore manager at the Western National Parks Association and we began talking about what was available for kids regarding Great Basin,” Baker said. “We came to the conclusion that there really wasn’t anything for kids so I saw this as an opportunity to fill that gap.”
While a children’s book based on a national park might not sound like a natural fit at first, Baker said she worked hard with brother Matthew Schenk, a professional graphic designer, to engage kids while they learn. Each colorful page is filled pictures of animals that inhabit the park and fun facts for the kids while maps with historical routes and places to visit offer something for parents as well.
“There is a little bit for everybody,” she said. “I tried to incorporate some of the museums there as well as the wildlife refuges and other cool places to go and learn about the Great Basin.”
But Baker said the creative activities the book is filled with might be most kids favorites part.
“I think the kids will like the activities the best. For example, one activity lets them make their own cave in their living room,” she said. “It’s gets them thinking about what could be underground as they drive over the mountains.”
“The Great Basin for Kids” is currently on sale on Amazon but Ely residents can pick up an autographed copy at Economy Drug, Sportsworld, White Pine Public Museum or Ely Art Bank. Copies of the book are also available in Baker at the Border Inn and will soon be available at the Western National Association of National Parks book stores.