Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon
by Jason Chin

Readers Theater

Book Trailer

Author Interview

Related Activities & Resources:

Informational Resources:

Author Information:

Jason Chin Biography:

Author interview with Publishers Weekly:

Activities & Resources:


Animals of Grand Canyon:

Spotted Sandpiper:

About Spotted Sandpiper:

Arizona Bark Scorpion:

Red-spotted Toad:

Mourning cloak:

Flame skimmer dragonfly information:

Flame skimmer dragonfly images:

Collared lizard:

Peregrine falcon:

Grand Canyon:

Fun facts about Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon video (4:18):

National Park Service Teacher Resources:

Top two layers of Grand Canyon video (1:28):

Plants of Grand Canyon:

Banana yucca:

Grizzly bear cactus:



Ponderosa pine:

MakerSpace Activities:

Create a bucket list of places to visit. Instead of writing out the list, make a video, visual, or song about the different places. Include what you want to see at each, things to do, and foods available to eat.

Have students choose something from the book about which they want to learn more. Using books, internet, and other resources, create a visual with information learned from research.

Plan a vacation for your family to Grand Canyon. Include a map with the fastest route to reach the canyon, a list of snacks to take on your road trip, options for places to stay while there, and an itinerary for the days you will be at the canyon.

Make a fossil with students:

Discussion Questions:

Do you think the author actually went to Grand Canyon before writing this book? Explain.

Why do you think authors should visit places about which they write?

Many refer to the canyon as The Grand Canyon, whereas Jason Chin refers to it as simply Grand Canyon. Which do you prefer? Why?

Have you ever been camping? If so, what was your favorite part? If not, explain why you would or would not want to go.

Do you enjoy hiking? Why or why not?

Have you ever been to any National Monuments? Which ones? What did you think? If not, which monuments would you most like to see? Why?

What would be something you would hope to find on a hike through Grand Canyon? Why?

The Colorado River runs through Grand Canyon. Explain how you think it has affected the development of the canyon.

What has been a favorite trip you have taken with your family? Why?

Have you ever visited Grand Canyon before? After reading this book, what will you take from this book to discover during your next (or first) trip? Explain.

Why do you think the climate from the bottom of the canyon to the top is so different? Explain.

Would you prefer the heat at the Inner Gorge for your campsite or the cold nights in the Ponderosa pine forest? Explain.

If you could observe an animal from the past in their natural state, which would it be and why?

If you were to make a video of your hike through Grand Canyon, on what features would you focus? (i.e., the animals, plants, views, rocks) Explain.

Suppose you could travel back in time. To which time period would you travel? Explain.

Which prehistoric animal would you like to bring back from extinction? Why?

If you lived during the prehistoric time when the Grand Canyon was forming, would you have been able to survive? How would you manage?

Choose a pet from one of the animals discussed in the book. Explain why you chose this animal and how you would care for it.

If you were to plan a vacation for your family, where would you choose to visit? Why? What would you do while there?

There is a wide variety of animal life in Grand Canyon. Why do you think they are necessary to keep the ecosystem going?

Book Talk Teasers:

What makes something “grand”? What are some things in your life that you consider to be “grand”? How long does it take to make something “grand”? Now compare these answers to Grand Canyon which took over 1,000 million years to become what it is today. Read Grand Canyon by Jason Chin to find out what happened while a little canyon was becoming “grand”.

Read the Readers Theater for this book.

Read Alikes:

National parks and reserves

Spalding, Maddie. Yosemite National Park. Provides facts about Yosemite National Park, covering its geology, wildlife, and history. (Novelist).

Stewart, J.J. Grand Canyon National Park. Provides facts about Grand Canyon National Park, covering its geology, wildlife, and history. (Novelist).

Weintraub, Eileen. Secrets of the national parks. A guide to some of America’s most significant national parks reveals lesser-known points of interest and trivia about such sites as the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Denali. (Novelist).

Zuelke, Jeffrey. The Grand Canyon. Discusses the physical features and origins of the Grand Canyon, covering its depth and length, how it was formed by the Colorado River, and its appeal to millions of tourists every year. (Novelist).

Parks and natural wonders

Bodden, Valerie. Grand Canyon.”A fundamental introduction to the Grand Canyon, including the deserts and forests that surround it, the creatures that live in it, and how people have affected its arid environment”–Provided by publisher.(Novelist).

Frisch, Nate. Grand Canyon National Park. “An exploration of Grand Canyon National Park, including how its enormous canyon was formed, its history of preservation, and tourist attractions such as the overlook called Mather Point”–Provided by publisher. (Novelist).

Gregory, Josh. Grand Canyon.”Learn all about Grand Canyon National Park, including how it was formed, which wildlife can be found there today, and how it is affected by environmental issues.”–Provided by publisher. (Novelist).

McHugh, Erin. National parks. Presents a guide to some of the national parks of the United States, designated by state, and includes information on the history of each site and the plants and animals that can be found there. (Novelist).

O’Connor, Jim. Where is the Grand Canyon? Presents an introduction to the Grand Canyon, including how it formed, its end-to-end exploration in the late 1860s, the early native people who lived there, and its varied wildlife. (Novelist).


Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon
56 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2017. ISBN 978-1-59643-950-4
(1) K-3 Vacationing in the Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter–and readers–numerous opportunities to explore this national park’s geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration presents accurate scientific information, as do page perimeters filled with delicate sketches and diagrams. Detailed, scenic watercolors portraying actual sites cleverly feature selected objects through subtle die-cuts that transport the girl back to ancient geologic environments. Reading list. Bib. Reprinted from The Horn Book Guide Excerpt in Magazine  by permission of Horn Book, Inc.

Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s, 2017. School Library Journal (January 1, 2017)
Gr 3-5-A breathtaking walk through multiple habitats and deep time. Beginning at the banks of the Colorado River, a child and her adult companion hike up the South Kaibab trail from 1.84 billion-year-old “basement rocks” past the layers of the Grand Canyon Supergroup, the Bright Angel Shale, and other major formations to the Kaibab Limestone layer at the top. At the same time, the two pass through riparian greenery, sun-baked desert scrub, and pinyon juniper woodland to reach the South Rim’s ponderosa pine forest. In Chin’s cleanly drawn scenes, viewers who follow along will catch glimpses of characteristic flora and fauna (with other wildlife lined up along the margins) at each elevation, plus clear looks at each distinctive rock layer. Better yet, occasional fossils in the rocks, seen through cutouts, temporarily transport the child with a page turn to prehistoric mudflats, sand dunes, and sea floor. A double gatefold vista vividly underscores Chin’s opening proposition that the canyon is “much more than just a big hole in the ground,” and the author supplements his information-rich running commentary with further notes and illustrations covering the canyon’s history, human settlement, ecology, and geology. It’s all Grand. VERDICT An outstanding introduction to one of the world’s greatest outdoor wonders, with much to offer elementary students about Southwestern biomes, sedimentary geology, and the profound pleasures of observing nature.-John Peters, Children’s Literature -Consultant, New York City © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.  Reprinted with permission from  School Library Journal , 2017.

Chin, Jason. Grand Canyon. Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s, 2017.   Booklist starred (November 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 6)
Grades 2-5. Filled with arresting artwork and fascinating information, Chin’s imposing latest proves that the Grand Canyon is “much more than just a big hole in the ground.” Following a father and daughter from the North Rim to the South Rim, Chin’s virtual hiking tour, which features actual locations and views, takes readers from the oldest, deepest area of the Grand Canyon (the Inner Gorge) to the youngest (Ponderosa Pine Forest). His stunning illustrations do double duty, offering snapshots of the pair’s trek as well as myriad details in the page margins, such as a visual catalog of plants and animals that live in each featured region of the canyon, diagrams clearly explaining how the canyon was formed, and spreads revealing what the canyon looked like millions, even billions, of years ago. Chin’s straightforward, lucid text seamlessly integrates concepts and scientific terms in engaging paragraphs full of surprising information, all of which is beautifully complemented by the illustrations. A culminating, panoramic gatefold spread reveals a breathtaking vista of the canyon, now made all the more incredible by the wealth of information in the preceding pages. Plenty of additional reading and information about the canyon closes out the volume. With vivid imagination, a crystal-clear grasp of the facts, and brilliant artwork, this illuminating look at one of the planet’s most fascinating features will entrance young readers. Used with the permission of Booklist