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Dave and Ilyssa Kyu as they set off on the research odyssey that became Campfire Stories

Reignite Your Imagination With Free Campfire Stories Event

OAKHURST — Here’s a fun gathering for adventurers big and small, including everyone who loves our national parks, and anyone who likes to hear a good yarn: Campfire Stories at Branches Books & Gifts.

Campfire Stories is a collection of short stories from America’s National Parks that are perfect for reading aloud together around a fire.

Branches welcomes the couple who brought these versions to light through careful research and lots of travel — Dave and Ilyssa Kyu. You can meet them at Branches on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. And yes, Yosemite is included, so the book makes a great family gift.

Our national parks are beautiful and unique places, often serving as an introduction to the outdoors and inspiring an appreciation for nature and wilderness. Similarly, stories and storytelling can serve as an introduction to other places and foster a powerful emotional connection to nature.

Campfire Stories brings together tales about our national parks; some are by well-known writers such as John Muir, Bill Bryson, and Terry Tempest Williams, while others are from pioneer diaries or have been passed down through generations of indigenous peoples.

Dave and Ilyssa Kyu

Co-editors Dave and Ilyssa Kyu spent six months traveling and researching the stories — gathering the best materials from public libraries, historical societies, arts and cultural organizations, museums, research centers, and national park archives.

Park rangers, historians, artists, curators, educators, and local residents all offered guidance and suggestions. The goal was to discover entertaining, diverse, and engaging writings that reflect each park’s essence — as well as just fun to share.

Campfire Stories focuses on six iconic national parks, including our own backyard — Yosemite — as well as Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Zion national parks.

Each story includes an “About this Story” reflection, offering insight into how Dave and Ilyssa discovered the tale, why they selected it, and some background about its writer. Dave and Ilyssa also share their own thoughts on each of the parks they visited, as well as tips on how to be a compelling storyteller.

Campfire Stories was published with Mountaineers Books in August, 2018.

The book is an anthology of tales, songs, ballads, legends, short stories and myths collected from the communities in and around 6 of America’s favorite National Parks. The stories capture the essence of these lands and give a voice to the communities that share them—evoking deeper respect for these places.

Because these stories have been collected from the communities in and around the parks, they will capture the diverse history, cultures, people, and experiences of those that that have collectively built, shared, and enjoyed these parks across the country. We hope these short stories will reignite our imagination about the wild.

Branches Books & Gifts

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