Middle grade books
“The Honest Truth”(Dan Gemeinhart, grades 3–7)
Written by a former school librarian who lives in Washington state, Dan Gemeinhart’s “The Honest Truth” may be too harrowing a tale for some kids. But this story about a boy with cancer who runs away with his dog to climb Mount Rainier is anything but boring. Whether it fires your kids up for a similar adventure or simply convinces them that your family’s trip isn’t so hard after all, grab your Every Kid Outdoors National Parks Pass and head out to one of these Mount Rainier hikes. And if it’s the grown-ups who struggle with elevation and altitude, reward yourselves with a stay at Paradise Inn, where you can read a much older Mount Rainier story in “Miser on the Mountain: A Nisqually Legend of Mount Rainier” and regroup for another day’s adventure filling in the kids “Discovering Mt. Rainier: Nature Activity Book.”
“Galloping Gertie: The True Story of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge” (Amanda Abler, grade 2–5)
The Pacific Northwest is famous for its natural environment, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to capture the attention of more science- and engineering-minded kids. Read “Galloping Gertie” to inspire a trip to Tacoma to hike the current Tacoma Narrows Bridge and visit the LeMay Car Museum. Read “Tacoma Adventures” for more outing ideas or head back home to undertake some “Adventures in Engineering for Kids.”
“The Whale Child” (Keith Egawa and Chenoa Egawa, grades 2–5)
Written by Coast Salish authors and featuring Coast Salish characters “The Whale Child” tells the story of a young whale that chooses to become a human boy to alert humans to the harm they are causing the ocean. Kids who are inspired to make a difference can participate in habitat restoration events on Orca Recovery Day (Oct. 16) with the King Conservation District and Duwamish Alive! Coalition. Conservation doesn’t only happen on observance days, though; families can take action to help our orca neighbors any time. Read 2021 Washington State Book Award picture book finalist “The Spirit of Springer” to learn the true story of an orca calf separated and reunited with her family. Or enjoy a fictional adventure survival story featuring young orcas in “A Whale of the Wild.”
Looking for more? Here are five more local adventures inspired by books!