There is many a great National Park book for kids. Since Yellowstone is the first National Park and one of the most visited National Parks in the US, it makes sense that there are plenty of Yellowstone books.
I covered my favorite guide books on Yellowstone National Park in this post. I also wrote about activities, puzzles, and videos to get kids excited and prepared for a tip to Yellowstone.
I’ve read a lot of Yellowstone travel books – both books about Yellowstone Park and books set in Yellowstone. When my kids were little, we had a whole range of Yellowstone picture books and Yellowstone nature guides. I think I liked them as much as the kids liked them.
Best Yellowstone Guide Book For Kids
(and Other Non Fiction Yellowstone Books)
What I Saw in Yellowstone: A Kid’s Guide to the National Park by Durrae Johanek is a great intro to what kids will see in the park. It will familiarize them with some of the vocabulary they are likely to encounter – think “geothermal”—as well as the animals and features they are likely to encounter. Then, take the book with you so they can check off the animals and geothermal features they see while they are there. Lots of interesting tidbits will satisfy the fact-lover in your family.
Yellowstone National Park for Kids, Preteens, and Teenagers: A Grande Guides Series Book for Children by Stephanie Del Grande is a good little Yellowstone travel guidebook. Both kids and adults will find it useful for planning a trip to Yellowstone (not as useful as one of my itineraries or vacation coaching sessions!) and identifying what you are seeing once you are there.
Maybe our all-time favorite Yellowstone National Park guide book is Who Pooped in the Park? by Gary D. Robson. It’s a silly look at serious business. You won’t always see all of Yellowstone’s wildlife, but if you keep your eyes peeled on the trails you might find signs of these critters in the way of prints and scat. This book will help you identify whose footprints and poop you are seeing.
Tweens and teens that are really into science and park issues might like the Park Service’s Yellowstone Resources and Issues Handbook. You can download part or all of it from the NPS website for free or purchase a copy in one of the park bookstores (see below for where to buy Yellowstone Park books). This is the book I used to keep up to date with park science and management when I was guiding in Yellowstone. The wildlife section is especially useful for answering questions like, “how many wolves line in Yellowstone?” and “how fast can a bison run?”. (There are around 500 wolves in Yellowstone and bison can run up to 30 mph –so stay back!)
Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park by Janet Chappel has been around for several editions and is one of the best books on Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Treasures book isn’t specifically for kids, but I would give it to a precocious 8- or 10-year-old with no problem. Hot springs, geysers, and wildlife viewing spots are described, and the mile-by-mile log will keep kids busy and engaged during the long driving spells. I also appreciate that she covers recent scientific research in the park and the facilities.
Travel Adventures: Yellowstone: Volume (Mathematics Readers) by Ben Nussbaum “combines math and literacy skills and uses everyday examples of problem solving to teach subject area content” for 8-12-year-olds. Kids will learn about how Yellowstone formed, what lives in the park, and solve problems to calculate volume. Going through this book before a trip to Yellowstone will make things like seeing all that water coming out of Old Faithful more meaningful. It is a good compliment to the children’s section in the Old Faithful Visitor Center.
You can also learn all about Old Faithful, how to make your own eruption predictions, and the best places to view Old Faithful Geyser in this post.
One of the best National Park book series for kids wanting to learn about some of the places that make the United States so special is The Wonders of America Collector’s Set: The Grand Canyon; Niagara Falls; The Rocky Mountains; Mount Rushmore; The Statue of Liberty; Yellowstone. These books are meant to be read to and by younger kids (4-6 years). They will learn a little about these wondrous places while practicing reading skills.
Fiction Books Set in Yellowstone
Sometimes it’s fun to learn about places by books set in those places. I love getting the feeling of a place from stories that take place there. These are some of my favorite books set in Yellowstone for kids.
The Mystery at Yellowstone National Park(Real Kids Real Places) by Carole Marsh is a fun read about two kids and their grandparents who snowmobile into Yellowstone. It’s part of the Real Kids Real Places series. Marsh uses her two grandkids, her husband, and herself as the main characters as they explore real places and have fictional adventures. Readers can even apply to be characters. What I like about these books is that they are fun and engaging, but also teach a lot about Yellowstone.
If you want to take it a little farther, you can get the Correlations to Common Core/State Standards, download a map to places you’ve been from the stories, and download additional activities related to Yellowstone. There are even teacher resources.
Bring Jade Home: The True Story of a Dog Lost in Yellowstone and the People Who Searched for Her by Michelle Caffrey isn’t fiction, but it is more “story” than Yellowstone Park guide book. It’s the story of a couple who get in a car accident in Yellowstone National Park. Their dog, Jade, gets lost in the park and the couple, plus many others, try to find her. If you have an animal lover in your family, this is the book for them.
The Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, take a trip to Yellowstone in The Growling Bear Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner. They go hiking, volunteer at the Old Faithful Inn, and solve a centuries old mystery involving a sack of gold nuggets. If your kids love the Boxcar Children, like mine did, they will enjoy seeing their “friends” explore Yellowstone. 7-10-year-olds will enjoy this story.
A group of 6th grade kids try to solve The Yellowstone Kidnapping that Wasn’t, part of the Field Trip Mysteries by Steven Brezenoff. This field trip gets interesting when a possible kidnapping, untamed wilderness, Park Rangers, and wildlife get involved. We haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but if your kids get into this one it could open up a whole world of new stories for them. Great for 7-11-year-olds.
Nancy Drew visited Yellowstone in An Instinct for Troubleby Carolyn Keene. The young sleuth visits Yellowstone with her boyfriend Ned’s expedition to research marmots. Of course, a nefarious plan turns the trip upside down. This is part of a newer Nancy Drew series – The Nancy Crew Files, not the ones I read growing up. You can bet I am going to read it now, though. Best for tweens and young teens.
Discovery at Dragon’s Mouth (Judy Bolton Mysteries) by Margaret Sutton is another mystery. (Hopefully, your kids don’t get too upset after reading all these books and realizing that there are no actual mysteries going on at Yellowstone – except the natural wonders!)
When Judy’s husband is sent to DC for his work with the FBI, Judy and her sister-in-law take a trip to Yellowstone. They end up at the Dragon’s Mouth hot spring (a real hot spring in the Mud Volcano area) where they find a clue to her husband’s case.
Where To Find Books on Yellowstone National Park
Finding kids books about Yellowstone is easy – just click on the links above and you will go straight to Amazon. I highly recommend getting most of these books before your trip so your kids will be well prepped. The mysteries might be fun to read during your trip.
There are also bookstores throughout the park if you prefer to peruse books in person. The best part about the Yellowstone bookstore is that a percentage of your purchase goes back to the park. You can find a Yellowstone National Park bookstore at every “village” in Yellowstone (Mammoth, Old Faithful, Grant, Canyon). There is a Norris bookstore, which is a small, stand alone cabin in Norris Geyser Basin. You’ll also find bookstores at the Fishing Bridge Museum, the Madison Museum, and West Thumb. In short, there is no lack of bookstores in Yellowstone.
Do you have a favorite Yellowstone book for kids? Let me know so I can add to this list!