Grand Rapids family wins gold medal for children’s book

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Each of the five books in the "Stamp Your Way" series covers a different geographic region. Courtesy Emily Matheny and Mary O'Hare

“Stamp Your Way Through the U.S.A.,” a series co-written by Grand Rapids natives Emily Matheny and her mother Mary O’Hare, received the 2020 Moonbeam Awards gold medal for children’s activity book – educational, science, history.

The complete “Stamp Your Way” series contains pages for collecting stamps at all 62 official national parks in the National Park Service. Each of the five books in the series covers a different geographic region.

In addition to encouraging stamp collecting, the series includes maps of all the national parks; provides facts about the natural, historical and geographical features of each park; and includes a section for interviewing park rangers at each stamp site. Matheny and O’Hare teamed up with their aunt and sister Rose Storey, the graphic designer for the guidebooks’ illustrations.

Matheny, who conceived the idea for the books in 2018, said she sought to establish a “more kid-centered way for children to connect with park rangers” by creating a special place to collect national park cancellation stamps.

“We ended up creating something that kids and their parents can use together to learn about each park and record memories from each visit,” Matheny said. “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.”

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