Skip to main content

Today's Family Magazine

Mother and Daughter Co-Author a Children’s Guidebook Series

Inspired by her love for national parks and the lack of a children’s passport book to record visits, Emily Matheny, an Ohio resident, took her inspiration and became an author, creating a five-book national parks guidebook series for children.  

After visiting Joshua Tree National Park in 2017 with her nine-month-old daughter and husband, Emily realized the lack of a children’s passport to record park visits and stamps.  Her strong desire to instill her love of the parks in her children, encouraged Emily to change that.  Discussing the idea with her mom, Mary O’Hare, who herself instilled her own love of the national parks in Emily, the two decided to co-author Stamp Your Way Through The U.S.A.

The co-authors set out to create a children’s book series covering all of the national parks by region with space to collect stamps, interview rangers, and learn about the parks in a fun, interactive way.  To keep the children interested, the books needed to be attractive to provide enjoyment while learning about the parks.  Enter, Rose Storey, an award-winning graphic designer who is also Emily’s aunt and Mary’s sister. Rose took the vision and brought it to life.  

There are five books in the Stamp Your Way Through The U.S.A. series, divided by region.  The Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Western, Rocky Mountain, Midwest & Central and Eastern Regions all highlight their national parks alphabetically by state.  Each book contains a regional map of parks, a map with each park’s location, information on what to look for, interesting facts and a page for children to document their visit and interview with the Park Ranger on duty with a place for their cancellation and regional stamp.  As a 7”x7”, soft-covered and spiral bound book, the books were designed for easy writing and backpack travel.

The co-authors have received numerous comments from rangers all over who are delighted with the series, noting that the books are “just right for kids to carry in their backpacks” and that “these books are the perfect way to engage kids in the park and get them introduced to the stamp program.”  “We’re especially proud that each book gives kids an opportunity to interview a park ranger, which means they are also learning about the amazing people who help protect and preserve these special places,” states Mary.

Now, two years on the market and recently receiving the Gold Medal from Moonbeam Awards, Category: Activity Book—Educational, Science and History, the mother-daughter-aunt team realize the wonderful gift and resource they have put in the hands of families.  The gift of time and enjoyment together while exploring and recording wildlife and the unique geographical features of America’s national parks. 

Books can be purchased separately or as a complete set and are available at  Individual books are $14.99 with the set of five selling for $64.99.  The complete Stamp Your Way Through the U.S.A. series contains pages for collecting stamps at all 63 official national parks in the National Park Service, including the most recent addition of New River Gorge.