With Christmas two weeks away, we wanted to review our incoming titles of books from local authors with strong gift potential. From children’s books to art books to books for reading away the long winter nights, we have a spectrum of possibilities.
Many of these books and other local titles are available at local bookstores such as Barefoot Cowgirl Books, Starrlight Books, the Museum of Northern Arizona Bookstore, Mountain Sports, Winter Sun Trading Co. and Babbitt’s Backcountry.
“American Wild: Explorations from the Grand Canyon to the Arctic Ocean” by Michael Engelhard. New this month is Michael Engelhard’s “American Wild,” which presents a span of essays of his Southwest and Alaskan adventures. In particular, the canyon and reservation treks will resonate with local readers, while the far-northwest yarns will also inspire and captivate.
Among the highlights of the book is “No Walk in the Park,” an essay of being in the Grand Canyon during the government shutdown of 2015 (“We were the last legal hikers in 2,000 square miles”). It’s also one of three essays that previously appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun sister publication Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living. In other passages, Engelhard attempts a river run of the Little Colorado River and shares a celebration of Cataract Canyon called “Confessions of a Cat Lover.”
This is a sturdy collection for the avid outdoorsperson or anyone who loves good stories of adventures and peril. It’s a good gift to consider for the Southwest book collector, as well.
“The Chocolate Angel” by Myles Schrag, illustrated by Stephanie Herrera. If the name Myles Schrag rings a bell, he is the organizer and one of the contributors to the column “High Country Running” for the Arizona Daily Sun. But he also has a double life as a children’s book author.
His tale “The Chocolate Angel” is a great one to consider. It tells the story of an angel named Ahva, who decides that she wants to share the wonders of chocolate with the world. The vibrant and expressive illustrations by Stephanie Herrera are joined with a story that explores, among other themes, ecological values.
Given that the chocolate is born of “magic of the rainforest,” Avha must confront the saw of Serracho, who is out to destroy the important ecosystem, to help protect it. It’s a quality local book and quality story for the 5- to 8-year-old reader.
“Grand Canyon Calling” by Serena Supplee. One of the Southwest’s most striking and celebrated landscape artists is Serena Supplee. Based in Moab, Utah, Supplee has made a second home of Flagstaff as well, selling her art and products through multiple galleries and businesses such as Arizona Handmade and Winter Sun Trading Co. She also passes through the area often for her visits and explorations of Grand Canyon.
Her new book, “Grand Canyon Calling,” is another visual stunner. The strong color, balance and point of view blend representational imagery of the canyon world with her own graphic style and approach to line and form. Lovers of landscape and art will appreciate how Supplee shares her process her with early sketches matched with the paintings and her words.
For anyone new to Supplee’s work, this is a great introduction. For her already-acquired fans, this is an even better insight into her creations — with Grand Canyon as the perfect muse to set up this full-color collection.
“Stalking the Wild Dragonfly” by Nancy Rivest Green. Local publishers Vishnu Temple Press released this month Nancy Rivest Green’s “Stalking the Wild Dragonfly,” a collective of Green’s encounters with various animals and creatures. The book is a nice companion for the local naturalist who revels in encounters with wildlife.
Some of the intriguing entries include the author’s intersections with and observations of pronghorn antelope, grizzly bears, mountain lions, golden eagles, peregrine falcons and scorpions. With each, Green brings a thoughtful eye and respectful and gracious tone in her nature and animal encounters.
A second part of the book expands to wildlife and landscape observations from Green’s visits to Antarctica, Australia and Peru. Still, “Stalking the Wild Dragonfly” is ultimately a collection of love letters to the natural and animal worlds.