An entertaining, practical, and illuminating manual for enjoying the outdoors with kids.



A wide-ranging guide explores outdoor adventures with children.

Fresco, a mother of twin girls, opens with the question, “Can parents still be adventurous?” Her answer is an unequivocal and enthusiastic “Yes!” The author’s stories of hitting the trails with children—whether hiking with 2-week-old twins in 40-degree weather; multiday biking, skiing, and rafting excursions; or 13-year-olds completing a lengthy day trek—will convince readers that plenty of time outdoors is the best gift they can give their kids. Clear and pragmatic advice explains how to bring children along safely, be prepared, and have fun. Each of the seven chapters covers a different age—ending with middle schoolers—weaving tips and lessons learned throughout the trip descriptions. Appealing contributions from Fresco’s daughters highlight the kids’ perspectives, while sidebars offer details such as location, distance, weather, and terrain for 22 excursions. More than 60 photographs illustrate the family’s expeditions, and key information is set off in “Tip” boxes. Most of the book takes place in and around the author’s hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska, where temperatures are below-zero Fahrenheit throughout the winter months. Vacations hiking the Grand Canyon and biking around Iceland provide variety and show the joys of being off the tourist-beaten path. (All of the lessons are equally applicable to places with less extreme climates.) The writing is outstanding, with a humorous, down-to-earth vibe. Fresco’s insights about child development and honesty about her own foibles are highly relatable. She doesn’t sugarcoat inconveniences, unpleasantness, parental worries, and the ubiquitous dirt. At the same time, the tales powerfully convey nature’s beauty, family togetherness, delightful moments, and all the ways getting outdoors and meeting challenges help build kids’ determination, confidence, independence, and resilience. The book examines everything the average family might need to know: going on potty breaks in the woods; dealing with bugs and wildlife; planning a trip; selecting gear (new, secondhand, and DIY); packing light; layering clothing; keeping kids warm, dry, fed, and amused; and bringing friends along. Whether readers are planning an ambitious escapade or a simple, local day hike with children, they will find engaging storytelling, ample food for thought, and a wealth of useful information.

An entertaining, practical, and illuminating manual for enjoying the outdoors with kids.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-60223-439-0

Page Count: 210

Publisher: University of Alaska Press

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

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The Harvard historian and Texas native demonstrates what the holiday means to her and to the rest of the nation.

Initially celebrated primarily by Black Texans, Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, when a Union general arrived in Galveston to proclaim the end of slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy. If only history were that simple. In her latest, Gordon-Reed, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and numerous other honors, describes how Whites raged and committed violence against celebratory Blacks as racism in Texas and across the country continued to spread through segregation, Jim Crow laws, and separate-but-equal rationalizations. As Gordon-Reed amply shows in this smooth combination of memoir, essay, and history, such racism is by no means a thing of the past, even as Juneteenth has come to be celebrated by all of Texas and throughout the U.S. The Galveston announcement, notes the author, came well after the Emancipation Proclamation but before the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Though Gordon-Reed writes fondly of her native state, especially the strong familial ties and sense of community, she acknowledges her challenges as a woman of color in a state where “the image of Texas has a gender and a race: “Texas is a White man.” The author astutely explores “what that means for everyone who lives in Texas and is not a White man.” With all of its diversity and geographic expanse, Texas also has a singular history—as part of Mexico, as its own republic from 1836 to 1846, and as a place that “has connections to people of African descent that go back centuries.” All of this provides context for the uniqueness of this historical moment, which Gordon-Reed explores with her characteristic rigor and insight.

A concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63149-883-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.


The bestselling author recalls her childhood and her family’s wartime experiences.

Readers of Winspear’s popular Maisie Dobbs mystery series appreciate the London investigator’s canny resourcefulness and underlying humanity as she solves her many cases. Yet Dobbs had to overcome plenty of hardships in her ascent from her working-class roots. Part of the appeal of Winspear’s Dobbs series are the descriptions of London and the English countryside, featuring vividly drawn particulars that feel like they were written with firsthand knowledge of that era. In her first book of nonfiction, the author sheds light on the inspiration for Dobbs and her stories as she reflects on her upbringing during the 1950s and ’60s. She focuses much attention on her parents’ lives and their struggles supporting a family, as they chose to live far removed from their London pasts. “My parents left the bombsites and memories of wartime London for an openness they found in the country and on the land,” writes Winspear. As she recounts, each of her parents often had to work multiple jobs, which inspired the author’s own initiative, a trait she would apply to the Dobbs character. Her parents recalled grueling wartime experiences as well as stories of the severe battlefield injuries that left her grandfather shell-shocked. “My mother’s history,” she writes, “became my history—probably because I was young when she began telling me….Looking back, her stories—of war, of abuse at the hands of the people to whom she and her sisters had been billeted when evacuated from London, of seeing the dead following a bombing—were probably too graphic for a child. But I liked listening to them.” Winspear also draws distinctive portraits of postwar England, altogether different from the U.S., where she has since settled, and her unsettling struggles within the rigid British class system.

An engaging childhood memoir and a deeply affectionate tribute to the author’s parents.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64129-269-6

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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