OK, kiddos, get ready – with the help of the new book, “50 Adventures in the 50 States,” you’re going on an adventure around the country – and in your own backyard.
“50 Adventures” is written by local author Kate Siber and illustrated by Lydia Hill. This is Siber’s second children’s book and she’s also written “100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails,” published by National Geographic.
Primarily a magazine writer, Siber got her start at Outside magazine in Santa Fe. She moved to Durango in 2005 and started freelancing, writing for magazines ever since.
“It’s been fun to do books, especially kids’ books – I never thought I would be writing kids’ books. It wasn’t really my aspiration, but the publisher came to me and it’s been so fun. It’s been such a surprise,” she said, adding that it’s a blast seeing her writing in more visually-driven books, like “50 Adventures.”
Reading through the book, the outdoors theme is quickly apparent – each state is highlighted by something cool to do outside: In New Jersey? Cruise the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Search for fossils in South Dakota. Hike through Tallgrass Prairie in Kansas. Siber’s background in writing about the outdoors makes the writing for each state seem effortless, but even she admits to learning and being surprised by a thing or two while putting the book together (Did you know there’s a type of moss that can grow on glaciers?).
“I have been a journalist in the outdoor space and the adventure-travel space for many years, and I’ve done a number of the trips in the book, so some of them I was very familiar with,” she said. “Others, I just sort of have a sense from being in the industry of what you can do in certain areas. There were some states that were stumpers – like Delaware was a tricky one. But, you know, Delaware Bay is incredible. It’s actually right between New Jersey and Delaware, and it’s an incredibly biodiverse area. There are tons of cool wildlife watching you can do there.”
And even though there are cool things to discover in every state, Siber’s favorite is closest to home: “As far as to live, I really love Colorado; I don’t want to go anyplace else,” she said. “But as far as the spreads, one that I really love is actually the first one that we did, which was Arizona. I just thought that the artwork that Lydia came up with was gorgeous, and I have a special affinity for Canyon de Chelly. I’ve been there a number of times and I just think it’s a really special place. And I loved how we could weave in some of the cultural elements, which are really important because sometimes I feel like we think of these outdoor places as devoid of culture, and they’re really not. It’s very much woven in, and I tried to do that throughout the book.”
The book contains plenty for people to get excited about, regardless of skill set or financial situation – in fact, the last two pages offer suggestions for five adventures you can take in your own neighborhood, which, given where we live, can be pretty awesome.
“I tried to make sure that most of them were reasonably accessible and not too terribly expensive – there are a few exceptions to that, skiing is not that cheap, but most of the things you can do without a whole lot of expense,” Siber said. “We tried to make it accessible, and that’s why in the back of the book we have a page just cultivating a spirit of discovery wherever you are. And so that’s the hope. It’s meant to be an inspiring book. ... that you can use the inspiration in the book to explore your own backyard because there’s so much that’s right here.”