Down the Colorado: John Wesley Powell, the One-Armed Explorer, written and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray published in 2007 by Frances Foster Books
In 1869, John Wesley Powell and a small crew of men began a harrowing expedition on the Colorado River.
Starting from Green River City in Wyoming Territory, they planned on 10 months to shoot rapids, navigate boulder-strewn passages, hoist boats and equipment up canyon walls, endure scorching heat and bone-chilling thunderstorms, map, explore, collect natural history specimens, and most importantly — survive this uncharted journey to the western end of the Grand Canyon.
Powell was a Civil War veteran who had lost his right arm in that conflict. He had fallen in love with nature as a young boy, and grew up hungering for time in the great outdoors, investigating, exploring, and learning.
Deborah Kogan Ray’s account describes Powell’s early years which laid the groundwork for his leadership of this expedition, and then takes us on the breathless 1000-mile journey. Her warm, vivid illustrations plunge us right into the roiling waters and sunbaked desert landscapes.
An Author’s Note tells more about Powell’s life after this expedition, and a chronology of his life and bibliography are included. It’s an exciting story that may inspire us to get out and experience wilderness areas ourselves. Written for ages 8 and up.