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Of Giants and Grizzlies
Sequoia National Park Comes To Life in an e-Book

By Mary Weyand, Write On for Kids

Write On For Kids is homespun, and like homeschooling, springs from the desire for a better way to help children reach their full potential. The company’s mission provides connective tissue between the natural world and curious children, presenting an eBook, ten years in the making, about California’s first national park.

Of Giants and Grizzlies is fresh on the school scene, delivering stunning photos, age-appropriate text, wildlife audio recordings, and thirteen carefully selected videos. Based on the unpublished journals of Walter Fry, the first civilian superintendent of Sequoia National Park, this book overflows with great stories; the discovery of Crystal Cave, bug-eating plants, amazing dipping birds, and so much more.

Throughout Of Giants and Grizzlies eBook, youngsters learn how things work in the vast Sequoia and (adjacent) Kings Canyon National Parks. For instance, how insects and animals spread tiny tree seeds that sprout into new giant trees; that rain delivers minerals and nutrients gleaned from a variety of ‘poop’ to nurture widespread roots (kids love to learn about poop); that thick bark amazingly protects a giant tree’s core from fire, often caused by lightning.

Important life lessons can be learned when children are immersed in nature. In chapter three’s video, we see the mother bear discipline her young cub. Her fierce protection and discipline keep her cubs safe. The loss of a mother bird in chapter eight shows that the pileated woodpecker (think of the cartoon woodpecker) father seemed to mourn his lost mate, then took her place in feeding his motherless youngsters.

Further, reader-viewers find out how plants and animals are faring in the park today. In chapter six we watch how solar panels, instead of noisy engines, now bring a natural quiet to the marble-lined Crystal Cave, named by Fry. In chapters one and ten we find out what happened to the Giant Sequoia trees and of steps taken to secure their future. In the ‘bear chapters,’ two and three, we learn that black bears are thriving, yet the California grizzly bear is lost to us. Through this loss of species we learn about the importance of every creature, large and small, in the ecological food chain.

One Hundred Years Ago

Fry shares his experiences, many while on horseback in the early 1900s. He tells of the pioneers of the day, including the famous John Muir, an acquaintance of Fry’s. He recounts stories told to him by tribal members who centered their activities on Hospital Rock, near a fork of the Kaweah River.

We sympathize with him as he chastises himself early on. While working for a lumber company, he participates in cutting down a giant tree. Realizing afterward that the great tree had lived since the time of Christ, he throws down his axe, determined to protect giant sequoia from that day forward. One of the first to sign the petition to preserve the park, he learned everything he could of the trees, finally co-writing the book, Big Trees.

Teacher Guides

Educators and parents alike, will appreciate the Teacher Guides available at the website, The curriculum-based guides are pdf downloadable, include activity sheets and have been positively reviewed by fourth- grade teachers. The eBook is organized to cleanly deliver the entire ten-chapter eBook. Also, to accommodate those interested in a particular chapter, each can be purchased individually as a separate mini-book, labeled Sequoia 1 through Sequoia 10.

Mary Martin Weyand, Write On For Kids’ chief story-teller, comes from a background in publications, including both John P. Scripps Newspapers, and Harte Hanks Communications. Her start-up company, TMW Marketing in Brea, California, and now known as Alta Resources, continues to thrive. Designer, Cindy S Martin, is a successful website designer-developer, artist-illustrator residing in Bend, Oregon. Please visit the website for complete information

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