by Ashima Shiraishi
With lovely illustrations by Yoa Xiao, Ashima Shiraishi’s debut book, How To Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion, is sure to light that fire in young next-gen climbers.
Shiraishi has been at the cutting edge of rock climbing virtually since the day she donned a pair of shoes and started scrambling around on Rat Rock in Central Park and climbing at Brooklyn Boulders. She was the first woman to climb a V15, and the youngest to climb 5.14d/5.15a—who wouldn’t want to be like her!?
by Beah Richards
Keep Climbing, Girls might not technically be a climbing children’s book—it’s about climbing trees—but it’s great. And hey, climbing is climbing: more than a few climbers discovered their love for moving over stone by first scrambling around on tree limbs and the like.
A poem by Beah E. Richards, noted stage and film actress, as well as playwright and poet, Keep Climbing, Girls, first published in 1951, is a beautiful call to young girls to chase their dreams.
This stanza is gold: “The only way to make a bid / for a girl’s equality / is to climb right up to the toppermost bough / of the very tallest tree.”
by D. Scott Borden
This climbing children’s book for your pint-sized climber looks like great fun. Probably safer to get them psyched on Yosemite through Squeak’s decidedly safety-conscious adventures than through a viewing of Free Solo…
The book’s synopsis: “Squeak lives a normal mousey life in her meadow home until she stumbles into a climber’s haul bag and is dragged up El Capitan. Scared but not alone, Squeak meets other animals that try to console her as she struggles to stay positive on her three-day journey. All of a sudden, the climbers are in trouble and need help. Will Squeak face her fears and save the day? Teach your child about climbing, Yosemite National Park’s natural history, and overcoming fears to achieve anything with this ages two-to-adult children’s book.”
by Olivier Roberge
Tom and Katie’s Climbing Adventures, as well as the next climbing children’s book on this list, are both Kickstarter projects.
The Kickstarter page describes the book simply as “four short illustrated stories that follow two young kids as they discover and evolve inside the rich and passionately consuming universe of rock climbing.”
The watercolor illustrations look fantastic.
One review from the website: “Its a great story for my young kids who hear about dad rock climbing but are too young to see what it’s all about. They get to read the story and get super excited for the day they can come out with me.”
Tom and Katie’s Climbing Adventures is also available in a French edition.
by Dan Delisle
This one isn’t even out yet! Author Dan Delisle needs your help on his recently launched Kickstarter campaign to make Climb On, Yosemite! a reality.
The synopsis is as follows:
“Climb On, Yosemite! is a children’s story about a family of five as they go on a great rock climbing adventure in Yosemite National Park!
“Along the way, readers learn important information about rock climbing, environmental stewardship, fun facts about Yosemite, and overcoming life’s obstacles.
“Written and illustrated to inspire people of all ages to get out, “climb on”, and protect our beautiful landscapes all over the world.
“The book introduces readers to some common rock climbing equipment, terms, and techniques for indoor rock climbing.
“But perhaps more importantly the story leads children through some common fears and excitement that can go along with trying a new sport!
Help Climb On, Yosemite! reach its kickstarter goal today!
by Catherine Destivelle
This one is only available in French, but we couldn’t not include it—it’s by none-other than the legend Catherine Destivelle, winner of the 2020 Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award (essentially the biggest award in climbing alpinism).
In an interview with Rock and Ice in the March 2020 issue, Destivelle explained how she got into publishing, and then how that led to children’s books: “A guy called me and told me I should do a book with him. … I thought it would be nice to share my knowledge. So I built up my publishing company. Now I have 58 books. A lot of them are translations. … I’m also publishing books for kids, because there’s nothing out there for kids. One of them is called L’escalade, Tu Connais?”
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