The Adirondack Kids®

Inspiring kids to read and explore the great outdoors!


Meet the authors

Gary and Justin VanRiper are a father-and-son writing team residing in Camden, New York. They spend many summer and autumn days with their families at camp on Fourth Lake along the Fulton Chain of lakes.

The Adirondack Kids® began as a writing exercise at home when Justin was in third grade. Encouraged after a public reading of their piece at a Parents As Reading Partners (PARP) event at school, the project grew into a middle-reader chapter book.

When 2000 copies of their first book sold out in just three months, they began another story and for 17 years now have released one Adirondack Kids book in the series per year.

It was while working on The Adirondack Kids® #4 – The Great Train Robbery when Justin handed his mom, Carol VanRiper, a photograph of the conductor at the Upper Hudson River Railroad and urged her to try drawing for the series. Upon seeing the results, he “hired” her on the spot. Carol has drawn all of the black and white interior illustrations ever since, making The Adirondack Kids® even more of a family affair.

The fifth book in the series, Islands in the Sky, won the 2004-05 Adirondack Literary Award for Best Children’s Book and volumes in the series are used in schools throughout New York state.

The first Saturday of every October marks the annual Adirondack Kids Day™ held in Inlet, New York, and recently received Honorable Mention for Most Authentic Adirondack Event from the Adirondack Park Agency.

To date, more than 150,000 copies in the series have been sold and what began as a fun family writing project has evolved into a small publishing company.


Gary is a husband, father and grandfather. He is an award-winning writer and photographer and his love for the wilderness led him to become an Adirondack 46er (#6202). He has also completed the Saranac 6, Fire Tower Challenge, Tupper Lake Triad, Cranberry Lake 50 (CL50) and is currently completing the 100 highest peaks in the Adirondacks with just 23 remaining to ascend. 

For several years he hosted Adirondack Journal, a segment on the Adirondacks for the regional television show, Mohawk Valley Living, and is still writing about the Adirondacks for the monthly MVL magazine. He and his son, Justin VanRiper have been writing The Adirondack Kids® series of books publishing 17 volumes in 17 years and have spoken to thousands of students at schools and libraries, inspiring them to read and encouraging them to set aside their devices to explore the great outdoors. 

He is a full-time pastor and is currently working on a non-fiction book concerning books written for children that are set in the Adirondacks. He also loves reading to his grandkids. 


Justin is a husband, father, outdoorsman, and award-winning author. He graduated from Houghton College in 2012 with a bachelors degree in Outdoor Recreation. During that time he obtained his certification as a Wilderness First Responder and trained with the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon graduation, Justin married his Wife Joanna in 2012, and in 2016 they welcomed their first Adirondack kid, Levi Judah VanRiper, into the world.

Justin likes to spend time with his family outdoors, hiking, kayaking, or spending summers at their family camp on 4th lake in Inlet, NY. He also enjoys snowboarding, camping, and has spent several years serving with the United States Air Force Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol, as a mission observer for the flight crew. He is currently pursuing his scuba diving certification as well. Additionally, Justin is an experienced IT professional, having been a HelpDesk administrator, tech bench supervisor, and he just built the new Adirondack Kids website!

Justin has spent the last 17 years writing the best-selling book series, The Adirondack Kids®, with his father, Gary VanRiper, and speaking to thousands of teachers, students and parents about the importance of reading, writing, and inspiring them to put down their devices to explore the great outdoors. 


Dax (short for Adirondax) was adopted by Gary and Justin in 2000, and lives at home with them in their Camden residence. Much like the Dax of the stories, the real Dax loves hiding in small places, hanging out with Justin, and riding on skateboards.