Books for young readers of all ages

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The gift shop at the El Camino Real Heritage Center, 25 miles south of Socorro just off Interstate 25, has a large variety of children’s books, including coloring books of cowboys, cowgirls and the Grand Canyon, and activity books that will teach how to paint rocks or be a backyard archaeologist and so much more.

The shop also has decks of playing and activity cards; one deck has 52 arts and crafts to do in the car.

Imagine that your name is Geraldine and you are a white angora goat who lives with a Navajo weaver named Glenmae. One day, Glenmae shears off your thick, lustrous coat. Over the next many days and weeks, you watch as she washes, cleans, spins into yarn, dyes and weaves your coat into a wondrous rug. “The Goat in the Rug” is Geraldine’s captivating, amusing and educational story.

Or, imagine that instead of “Little Red Riding Hood,” you are “Little Red Cowboy Hat,” a cowgirl with flaming chile-pepper red hair, an independent disposition and a faithful buckskin pony. When you learn that your grandmother is not feeling well, you saddle up Buck and head off across the wild desert – home to rattlesnakes and wolves – to take her some homemade bread and cactus jelly.

Or, how would you like to be Anthony, the cowboy postman in “Mule Train Mail”? You lead a train of pack mules down the steep, dusty, zigzagging trail from the desert south rim into the Grand Canyon to deliver mail – not only letters and packages, but groceries, clothes and other supplies — to the town of Supai, where the villagers are always glad to see you.

Speaking of deserts, the Cat in the Hat knows all about deserts all over the world and their inhabitants. Did you know that in the Sahara Desert, the daddy sandgrouse flies for miles in search of water, then when he finds it, soaks his feathers and flies home to his babies so they can drink the water from his feathers? As the Cat in the Hat says in “Why Oh Why Are Deserts Dry?,” “You may think that deserts are empty and bare, but you’ll be surprised by the things we’ll find there …”