John Wesley Powell


I am revising a nonfiction picture book for children ages 5 – 8 about the famous explorer, John Wesley Powell. My story must stand out from the plentiful literature about his extraordinary courage, sense of adventure, leadership, and thirst for knowledge.

The title I was using is, John Wesley Powell, a Can-do Man. Please help me by voting for alternate titles, which might grab the attention of early readers, their teachers, and parents. How about Wes Goes All the Way: The first person to explore and map the Grand Canyon, OR A Life of Daring and Success: John Wesley Powell, OR A Thirst for Adventure: The Man Who Opened the West, OR Never Give Up on Your Plans: A Lesson from John Wesley Powell?

The more I read about the history of America, the more I seek to understand how people like John Wesley Powell overcame criticism, hardship, a handicap, sacrifice, and doubt. He was the kind of leader youngsters will come to appreciate as they face their own challenges. I also hope to answer my own questions about how he grew to be so determined despite a lack of respect from family and government.

Stay tuned for news of Grand Canyon experiences, which will enhance my descriptions and translate into a lively book.

12 responses »

  1. Hi Terri, This is a tough one- I like the idea of using “daring & success”, & also that he overcame all the naysayers in his life to do what he felt driven to do. There are so many young people – & not-so-young- who could benefit from a story of a man like him. Good luck in your venture! To update you on Deb, I left her a phone message on her home phone her 2 weeks ago about me coming over on last Tuesday afternoon. She texted me a few days later, saying she missed the message – how about this week? I texted her yesterday, about this Tuesday, but have yet to hear from her. Enjoy your Memorial Day, Judy

  2. How about “Never Give Up: the Adventures of John Wesley Powell”? Good luck with your story! If you need another source book, there are a couple of mentions of him in Virginia McConnell Simmons’ book, The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.

  3. Terri–great project! I like the 2nd or 3rd title the best. Camping in Wyo this weekend, I tried to picture the early explorers and how they managed. I was freezing in the wind and cold, and I had all the advantages–a tent, down jacket, etc. etc.! What a weenie I am!

  4. Hi Terri. This is great news!! I like the title “A Thirst For Adventure: The Man Who Opened up the West” . Can’t wait to read it 🙂

  5. I vote: Wes Goes All the Way. A good question the teacher could ask after reading the book could be “why did the author choose this title for the book?”
    Side note: My children, Jennifer,Tim, and Allison all went to John Wesley Powell Middle School in Littleton CO.

  6. I agree with Sue! A Thirst for Adventure makes me curious and I think it would work for kids, too! In fact, John Wesl Powell sounds like a fascinating man, someone who pushed ahead no matter what. Good lesson for kids and adults.

    • Hi Terri – never know what is next on that never -ending list of yours! Ok, so had to get a consult from just-turned 7 year old Hannah for this one. Tough choice, but she leaned towards A Life of Daring and Success: J W P. She also liked the choice including The Man Who Opened the West, but wasn’t sure all kids in that age group might understand what ‘a thirst for adventure’ would mean. So there you have the opinion and rationale of one seven year old.

      • Thank you for consulting Hannah. What a thinker she is and always has been. I’ll keep you posted on any positive replies I receive from the submissions.

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