Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

Traveling With Tripp the Tumbleweed

Schoolkids help craft a new book series about national parks

“What do I do when I kick cancer’s butt?” wrote 5th grade teacher Christy Bray on LinkedIn in August, answering her question with “I finally start writing the children’s book I always wanted to write. But instead of just one, I’m going to write 64 books!”

“I’m engaging 3rd grade classrooms across the country to help determine Tripp’s adventures in each park.”

Bray, a member of Dublin Teachers Association in her 26th year of teaching, beat breast cancer two years ago, and felt the timing was right to pursue her passion project. She and her husband Ed, a human resources professional, loved visiting national parks and always thought about how they could bring their beauty and splendor to children. Their book series, geared for children ages 5-12, follows Tripp the Tumbleweed as he travels to all 63 U.S. national parks. (The first book is Tripp’s origin story.)

Thus far, children can read about Tripp’s visits to Death Valley and Pinnacles national parks, with Yosemite coming up. Bray collaborates with young readers for writing assistance with each book.

“I’m engaging 3rd grade classrooms across the country to help determine Tripp’s adventures in each park,” she says. “Involving students in the process supports their writing skills, and they get to learn all the steps that go into writing a book. Plus, they get some cool ‘thank you’ stickers for helping out, their library gets free copies of the book, and I’m donating 10% of the profits to the school district and 5% to a nonprofit organization supporting the park.”

Bray tries to work with a district local to the national park they are writing about with the intention of getting students excited about visiting it, especially as 4th graders when park admission is free for them and their families. (See Every Kid Outdoors.) Students answer questionnaires/surveys; their answers are incorporated into the specific book, and then teachers and students provide feedback before the book is published. For example, the Brays collaborated with 80 Soledad Unified School District students on writing about Tripp’s adventures in Pinnacles National Park.

The Brays, who are self-funding the series, have written 15 books to date and aim to publish about five books per year.

Find more information on how to buy the books or visit the Instagram page (where you can also watch Tripp’s animated clip and listen to his catchy theme song).

Scroll To Top Down Arrow An arrow pointing downwards