Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks with an Interview with Award-winning Author Mary Kay Carson– and a giveaway!


Happy 100th Birthday National Parks!!

What better way to celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s greatest natural attraction than with Mary Kay Carson, a children’s author who gave us a peek into the United States’ very own backyard playground in her book:


Park Scientists: Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard


Mary Kay Carson is an author of over 50 nonfiction books for young people.  Her books include a number of titles in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s award-winning Scientists in the Field series, including The Park Scientists, a 2015 Ohioana Book Award Finalist and The Bat Scientists, an ALA’s 2011 Notable Children’s Books for Middle Readers. Her book Exploring the Solar System was the 2009 recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Children’s Literature Award and the State Library of Ohio selected Beyond the Solar System as a Choose to Read Ohio book for 2015 & 2016. The author lives in Cincinnati with her photographer husband Tom Uhlman and their dog Ruby in a century-old house surrounded by urban green space, deer, hawks, woodchucks, and songbirds. 

Thanks for joining us, Mary Kay. We have some great questions for you about your books, your love of SCIENCE, and how you research and write amazing books like the Park Scientists.


 Why do you like writing books about science?

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Jennifer Swanson
Science ROCKS! And so do Jennifer Swanson's books. She is the award-winning author of over 40 nonfiction books for kids. Jennifer Swanson’s love of science began when she started a science club in her garage at the age of 7. While no longer working from the garage, you can find Jennifer at her favorite place to explore the world around her. www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com
Jennifer is also the creator and administrator of #STEMTuesday and #STEAMTeam2020
  1. It is wonderful that you continue to provide accurate scientific information in interesting ways. Kids of all ages benefit from your devotion. Thank you.

  2. The National Park System is a treasure. Flying home today from a trip which included give National Parks and several National Monuments. The best way to appreciate our country is to see its Natural Parks!

  3. The National Parks are a beauty for everyone indeed. So thankful that as a child my parents saw the importance of taking us to visit so many NP’s along our family cross country drives ,and when I became a mom ,I kept the tradition going for my 3 sons who with their families today are continuing to spread the importance of experiencing in person the natural wonder and beauty we have . Visit as many as you can, you will come away refreshed !

  4. I’ve made wonderful memories with my children in our National Parks!

    • I’m so jealous of people who visited lots of parks as kids! I didn’t see many until I was grown up. Made up for lost time though… 🙂

  5. What a terrific series–can’t wait to add your book to it. National Parks are priceless–I treasure them for their unique and picturesque habitats and especially the fascinating wildlife!

    • Thanks, Nancy. Wildlife is ALWAYS on my must-see list at NPs. Was in Estes Park, CO for a family reunion last month so got up to Rocky Mtn. NP and saw bunches of elk, marmots, pika, and a few bighorn sheeps.

  6. I have great memories of my parents taking us to the park, hiking and finding waterfalls. I recently took a trip to Warm Springs, Ga and visited the FDR state Park.

  7. The National Park system is important to conserve and maintain our legacy of nature for our future generations. Thanks for a chance to win this book for our school libraries.

  8. I would love to learn more about our National Parks!

  9. I LOVE the STIF books I’ve seen. They are all great. Thanks for such in interesting interview. The National Park system is one of the great levelers in our country — open to all, reasonably priced, and all over the place. It really allows everyone a chance to visit and learn.

  10. Wonderful interview MK! I love your books and have lots of good memories from our days at Scholastic together. Why I love National Parks: Each one is a unique gem. When I was a kid, my family used to travel each summer to the Smoky Mountains, but one summer we went out West and visited five national parks in two weeks. Years (ok decades) later I repeated the trip with my own kids. Hands down, the best family vacations are the ones spent in nature, unplugged, exploring the great outdoors. Next trip: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with my husband! Can’t wait!

    • I forgot, Chana, about your Hawaii trip! I’ve seen video recently that lava is again flowing into the ocean. PERFECT timing for you guys.

  11. Thank you for sharing this interview. As a child, my family traveled every summer through national parks. Some of my greatest memories are from those trips. As a teacher, I want my students to appreciate the natural world and the parks that preserve our great natural heritage.

  12. Great interview! Congrats on the upcoming tornado book, Mary Kay! I think national parks are important for families to enjoy nature, learn about their state and its environment, and have a hands-on experience with nature.

    • Thanks, Tina! Good point with the hands-on stuff. Lots of kids have their first wild experiences in parks.

  13. Great interview. This is such an awesome series… I love the focus on scientists doing actual research in the field (and in their labs).

  14. This was an awesome interview! The book sounds amazing. As a lover of outdoors, the book’s topic immediately caught my interest. National Parks offer so much for nature lovers and photographers like me. Congrats on the book!

    • Hopefully you’ve gotten some “park nature time” in this summer! Park Scientists has some amazing photos, FYI. Bears, gila monsters, and geyser, too. Thanks!

  15. This was a fun interview! Thanks Mary Kay! I’ve read several of the Scientists in the Field series with my kids (10 & 12), and we love them. To answer the National Parks question: I think it’s important for kids (and adults!) to have access to the history, cultures, and biological and geological wonders that the Parks preserve.

    • There is a lot of history/culture in the NPs, isn’t there? ? The Scientists in the Field series’s website is posting lots of related content about the series and the books in it these days…www.sciencemeetsadventure.com Thanks, Amy!