Exotic, dangerous, exhilarating and extreme; the contradictions that are Hawaii are the challenges adventurer twins, Gannon and Wyatt must face as they seek to unravel a centuries old mystery in Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Hawaii (Greenleaf Book Group) by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet. Fast-paced and jam packed with drama and a ruffian-to-royal cast of characters, this continues in the tradition of the series’ previous books set in Botswana, the Great Bear Rainforest, Egypt, Greenland and Ireland. Each challenges readers to take note of some of the world’s most captivating locations, learn about its culture and history, and recognize potential threats posed by increased globalization and environmental change.
At a time when middle graders increasingly experience the world from an upholstered armchair, and the outdoors as a place for planned activity rather than imaginative, uncharted adventure; Travels with Gannon & Wyatt offers another view. Inspired by the world’s great explorers – the travels they took, the journals they kept and the belief they held that nothing could be more thrilling than experiencing the wonders of the world first-hand – Wheeler, Hemstreet and real-life twins Gannon & Wyatt set out to bring the life, culture, history, sights, sounds and images of each book’s setting alive to readers.
In Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Hawaii, readers soon learn that the big island Hawaii has four the of five major climate zones on earth; that Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, is both sacred and one of best locations in the world to view stars; and that the island is known as the bird-extinction capitol of world with 70% of its birds now extinct. It also quickly becomes clear how important the history, culture and language is to the Hawaiian people –and how that’s increasingly at risk. Hemstreet called Hawaii, “one of my favorite locations because of the environmental diversity and rich culture.”
He said, “In each book the main characters have an adventure with people from different cultures, who have different beliefs and lifestyles. We’ve also found everywhere we go, the indigenous people are talking about climate change and telling us what is happening in their part of the world. We aren’t looking to take sides, but to convey ‘this is what is happening, this is how the traditional inhabitants of this land feel about it, and this is how these changes may affect things long term.’ We do everything we can to share what we’ve seen and experienced with readers. In addition to the books, we have a website where we blog about our experiences and share our photos and videos. We also utilize social media to share news and run contests that include prizes from places we’ve been.
“Last summer Patti drove the Gannon & Wyatt Adventure Bus 15,000 miles, visiting libraries and bookstores up the East Coast and into the Midwest. This summer, the bus will be headed up the West Coast from Southern California to Seattle, Washington. Each year, Patti and I also give exciting presentations at dozens of elementary schools across the country, and continue to donate one book to a child for every book sold.”
Wheeler and Hemstreet are excited by the response to the series and hope by showing the world in this way they can help young people understand that, while there are differences on the surface; at the core human beings around the globe are very much alike in wanting security, peace and a healthy environment in which to live – and that if we are aware of the challenges we face and work together, we can help ensure a bright future for all.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Patti Wheeler began traveling at a young age and has nurtured the spirit of adventure in her family ever since. For years, it has been her goal to create children’s books that instill the spirit of exploration in young people. Travels with Gannon & Wyatt and Youth Exploration Society is the realization of her dream. Patti lives in Colorado with her husband and sons.
Keith Hemstreet is a writer, producer, and cofounder of the Youth Exploration Society. He attended Florida State University and completed his graduate studies at Appalachian State University. Keith lives in Colorado with his wife and three daughters.
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Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Hawaii • Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet• Ages 9-12 • Greenleaf Book Group LLC • ISBN: 978-1626343078 • $12.95 Hardcover