Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail Review

Synopsis from Abrams Books for Young Readers:

Emma Gatewood’s life was far from easy. In rural Ohio, she managed a household of 11 kids alongside a less-than-supportive husband. One day, at age 67, she decided to go for a nice long walk . . . and ended up completing the Appalachian Trail.

With just the clothes on her back and a pair of thin canvas sneakers on her feet, Grandma Gatewood hiked up ridges and down ravines. She braved angry storms and witnessed breathtaking sunrises. When things got particularly tough, she relied on the kindness of strangers or sheer luck to get her through the night. When the newspapers got wind of her amazing adventure, the whole country cheered her on to the end of her trek, which came just a few months after she set out. A story of true grit and girl power at any age, Grandma Gatewood proves that no peak is insurmountable.

About: Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail is a children’s nonfiction picture book written and illustrated by Jennifer Thermes. It will be published on 5/8/18 by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, hardcover, 48 pages. The genres are children’s books, nonfiction, picture books, and biography. This book is intended for readers ages 5 to 7, grades K to 2. According to the publisher’s website, Abrams was “founded in 1949, ABRAMS was the first company in the United States to specialize in publishing art and illustrated books. Abrams Books for Young Readers publishes picture books and illustrated nonfiction for preschool through middle-grade readers.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.

My Experience: I started reading Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail on 3/29/18 as a bedtime story for my 6 year-old son and we finished it that same night. This book is most exquisite! I love the story and the illustrations. A gorgeous book! I haven’t heard of Grandma Gatewood until reading this book. I’m glad my son learn of her at such a young age. Reading about an elderly doing something so challenging prove to my son that anything is possible. I love learning about The Appalachian Trail. My son and I saw part of the trail during our trip to North Carolina to see fall foliage in 2016 and we see hikers walking through it. It’s amazing to know more about it now.

This book is a biography about Emma (Grandma) Gatewood. She has 11 children. In 1955, when she turns 65 years old, she decides to leave her home and challenge herself to a long distance walk. The Appalachian Trail is also known as the “longest foothpath in the world”. This trail spread across 14 states and as long as more than 2100 miles. Grandma Gatewood starts walking from May 3, 1955 to September 25, 1955. She walks through both good and bad weather. She sleeps under trees and on top of leaves. Generous people who live nearby the trail offers her food and shelter for the night. When the news caught wind of her walk and her age, they wrote a story about her. The illustrations highlights her walk from start to finish with maps and dates to show each state she pass. At the end of the book, there is a story about Emma and her hike. There is also a short note about the trail and how it came to exist.

This book is very well written and put together. The illustration is most gorgeous. I love the sharp colors and how it covers the entire left and right page of the book. This book offers so much learning opportunities for both kids and adults. I love the details of the maps. I love the nature views. I love that the author includes Grandma Gatewood’s hardships from her hike because in reality, the trail from 1955 must have been far more wild than today. I love that there are generous people offering to help. I like those little facts about the trail and some states, such as Pennsylvania being known as the state “where boots go to die.” This book is too excellent for words and I worry my review will not be able to do its justice. I highly recommend everyone to read this book! It’s the most amazing read ever! 🙂

Pro: biography, hiking trail, nature, illustrations, challenge, easy to read, easy to understand, maps, quick facts

Con: none

I rate it 5 stars!

Buy it here for free shipping: Book Depository or Abrams Books’ Website

About the Author:

Jennifer Thermes is a children’s book author, illustrator, and map illustrator. Her most recent book, CHARLES DARWIN’S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE was a 2017 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 and a Notable Social Studies Book for Young People, as selected by the Children’s Book Council. Her next book, GRANDMA GATEWOOD HIKES THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL (Abrams) will be released in Spring 2018. (Info and photo obtained from Goodreads and book pictures obtained from Edelweiss).

More Information About Abrams Books

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***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Hachette Book Group for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.


5 thoughts on “Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail Review

  1. Bette Lou says:

    This book is wonderful and so is Grandma Gatewood. If you’re interested in more information about her, check out our website: We have been documenting her life and have produced a storytelling program, e-book, one-act play and an Emmy-nominated documentary, TRAIL MAGIC: THE GRANDMA GATEWOOD STORY. ( )


  2. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Aaaww this sounds like such a heartwarming tale! I would definitely want to read this grandma’s achievements to any kids (and adults) and get them inspired as well 🙂 It’s so sweet that you and your son got to experience this. I rarely see elders being portrayed in a positive and hopeful light, much less as protagonists so that is awesome!
    Amazing review, Jasmine ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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