May 31 – Web Designer Day


About the Holiday

Today we laud all the brilliant web designers who bring us our favorite sites and make it so easy for us to shop, do business, watch videos, and play games. We can’t even imagine life without them anymore. If you know a web designer, thank them for their hard work!

Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games

By Jon Woodcock


Video games are so fun to play! You know you’re good at them; don’t you sometimes wish you could make one of your own? With Coding Games in Scratch, you can! In just 11 chapters you’ll discover all the basics of creating different kinds of games plus how to add special effects, cool characters, exciting backgrounds, music and sounds, and more.

Chapter 1 reveals what makes a game fun to play. Things like characters, objects, obstacles, the mechanics of the game, story, sound, speed, atmosphere, rules, goals, and difficulty levels all contribute to the playability and enjoyment of the games you create. Discussions of the various types of games and a bit about coding round out Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 introduces the programming language Scratch developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT. Here you’ll learn about objects, scripts, and running a program. It shows you where to get Scratch and provides a tour.

Chapter 3 welcomes you to building your first game—Star Hunter, which is a fast-paced underwater treasure hunt. Some of the things you’ll learn include setting the scene, building the script, adding sound, how to introduce an enemy, collisions, and collecting stars. Plus you’ll learn some hacks and tweaks for making your game the best it can be.

Love maze games? Chapter 4 shows you how to build Cheese Chase and help Mimi the mouse find her cheese while avoiding beetles and ghosts. Here you also learn about keyboard control, using the paint editor, making things spooky, creating intricate mazes, and how to move characters along the passages.

Chapter 5 covers Circle Wars—a quick-paced search and chase game full of clones and bouncing friendly and unfriendly circles. In Chapter 6 you’ll discover the gravity of the situation. Literally. Jumpy Monkey may love to leap, but he has to come to earth sometime!

Building Doom on the Broom from Chapter 7 introduces scene, casting spells, enemy attacks, explosions, adding harder enemies, and how to give players extra lives. Phew! Platform games are the subject of Chapter 8. You’ll find the ins, outs, ups, and downs, of jumping from platform to platform, falling, portals, progressing through levels, and more.

Racing games are covered in Chapter 9 with Glacier Race, where cars compete with the clock to avoid obstacles and gather the most gems. You’ll discover how to use game loops to keep the action happening just right, how to make a scrolling road, all about collisions and spins, and adding a penguin race official to start things off and end the race.

Music more your thing? Enjoy a brain teaser? Welcome to Chapter 10 and Tropical Tunes where you listen to drums play and then repeat the sounds you hear in an ever-growing song.

Now that you’ve learned to create video games, what’s next? Chapter 11 tells you about remixing and how to create your very own games. If you really love making games, there’s a section on the kinds of jobs there are in video gaming.

In Coding in Scratch Jon Woodcock clearly explains with text and illustrations how kids can create fun games with a good bit of complexity. Screen shots and digital imagery show kids exactly what they will encounter as they progress through the different kinds of games. Colorful pages and Woodcock’s easy-to-understand directions makes this a go-to guide for budding programmers.

So grab the book, your computer, and your creativity and start Coding Games in Scratch!

Ages 8 – 13

DK, Penguin Random House, 2015 | ISBN 978-1465439352

Web Designer Day Activity


Computer Kids Find the Differences Puzzle


Whenever a designer builds a website there are bugs to work out. Can you discover the “bugs” in these pictures? Take a close look at this printable Computer Kids Puzzle and find the differences!

May 30 – Memorial Day


About the Holiday

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day to commemorate the laying of wreaths and flowers on soldiers’ gravesites, was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. In 1971 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. The day is honored with parades and special commemorative events. At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC, the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans

Written by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh | Illustrated by Layne Johnson


In April of 1917 President Woodrow Wilson declared that America was going to war in Europe. As a teacher and foster mother to girls at the University of Georgia’s Normal School, Moina Belle Michael wanted to do something to honor the boys going off to fight—boys who were the brothers, sweethearts, even fathers of her students. Moina did what the other women were doing to help—knitting socks and sweaters and rolling bandages—but she wanted to do more. She went to the soldiers’ camps nearby to deliver books, magazines, and candy, and she waved goodbye to them at the train station. But she still wanted to do more.


Image copyright Layne Johnson, 2012, text copyright Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, 2012. Courtesy of Boyds Mills Press.

Moina wanted to go overseas to help the young men with the Y.M.C.A, but after she finished her training at New York’s Columbia University, she was told she was too old to go. She then set up a desk in the basement of Hamilton Hall on the Columbia University campus where she assisted soldiers before they deployed, but the room was dark and dreary. Moina wanted them to have a more cheerful meeting place.


Image copyright Layne Johnson, 2012, text copyright Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, 2012. Courtesy of Boyds Mills Press.

Moina brightened the room with fresh flowers she bought with her small salary. More soldiers came to spend time with her, to share their pictures, letters, and hometown news. But Moina wanted to do even more. One day she rediscovered a poem she had read many times. Titled We Shall Not Sleep, it was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae and was a tribute to soldiers who had died on the battlefields of Flanders. The poem was illustrated with a field of nameless crosses and bright red poppies. The last verse of the poem urged others to take up the torch of the noble fight. Suddenly, Moina knew what she had to do.


Image copyright Layne Johnson, 2012, text copyright Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, 2012. Courtesy of Boyds Mills Press.

She wrote a poem of her own, giving poppies a special meaning: “And now the Torch and Poppy red / We wear in honor of our dead. / Fear not that ye have died for naught; / We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought / In Flanders Field.” Moina shared her poem with soldiers at the Y. Many wanted to wear red poppies on their uniforms to honor their fallen friends. With a ten dollar donation, Moina went shopping to find artificial red poppies that she and the soldiers could wear.


Image copyright Layne Johnson, 2012, text copyright Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, 2012. Courtesy of Boyds Mills Press.

But finding these flowers was difficult. She finally found one large poppy and 24 smaller ones. She pinned the large one to her coat and with the others wrapped, hurried back to the Y. There she gave the small flowers to some of the men and women leaving for the war in France. But there were so few flowers to share. Moina wanted every American to wear a poppy to remember the soldiers. Always.

The epilogue goes on to reveal that two days after Moina bought those 24 poppies, World War I ended.  While everyone was happy to see the soldiers coming home, people wanted to move on, to forget the horrors of the war. But for veterans it wasn’t easy. Jobs were scarce, some veterans were disabled or suffered lingering effects of war.

Moina wanted to help. She wondered if the poppy could benefit returning veterans. After much work she convinced local and international veterans’ groups to adopt the poppy as their memorial flower. People began donating to veterans’ causes, and in return they received a red poppy. Millions of dollars were raised to help the soldiers. Even today, Moina’s red poppies benefit veterans and remind us of their sacrifices and service.


Image copyright Layne Johnson, 2012, text copyright Barbara Elizabeth Walsh, 2012. Courtesy of Boyds Mills Press.

Through her detailed telling of how Moina Belle Michael discovered her life’s work, Barbara Elizabeth Walsh provides a realistic view of the World War I era and the desire of most citizens to do something to help the soldiers fighting the war. The sense of suspense, comaraderie, fear, and disappointment that fueled Moina Michael’s heart and actions are beautifully and straightforwardly presented and give children true knowledge of this time period.

Accompanying the text to maximum effect are Layne Johnson’s inspiring, realistic paintings of the scars of war on both the landscape and the human heart. In close-up portraits, Johnson captures the emotions of the women learning that their brothers, boyfriends, and fathers will be joining the war effort as well as scenes of soldiers training, deploying, and returning to tell their stories. Turning the pages is like stepping onto the university campus, visiting the basement gathering space, and walking the city streets. Especially evocative are the two battle scenes and the view of the Flanders Fields with their endless carpet of poppies and straight rows of white cross markers.

For anyone wanting to teach or learn about the origins and meaning of Memorial Day and the significance of the red poppy, The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans is a must read.

Ages 7 – 12 and up

Calkins Creek, Boyds Mills Press, 2012 | ISBN 978-1590787540

Memorial Day Activity


Memorial Day Word Scramble


Unscramble the words associated with today’s holiday and discover a secret message! Print your Memorial Day Word Scramble here!

Picture Book Review

May 29 – Learn about Composting Day


About the Holiday

Composting is a wonderful way to use organic waste to help the environment. Whether you keep a small composting container in your kitchen, set aside a pile in the corner of your yard, or invest in a compost tumbler, letting non-meat or dairy kitchen scraps, outdoor vegetation cuttings, and even hair or dryer lint decompose into nourishing soil additives will make your garden grow bigger and better!

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Written by Mary McKenna Siddals | Illustrated by Ashley Wolff


“Environmental chefs, / here’s a recipe for you / to fix from scratch / to mix a batch / of Compost Stew.” This clever alphabet book reveals the ABCs of gathering the perfect ingredients for a compost pile, which creates a nutritious meal for gardens, flower beds, and the environment:

“Apple cores / Bananas, bruised / Coffee grounds with filters, used / Dirt clods, crumbled / Eggshells, crushed / Fruit pulp left behind, all mushed / Grass clippings / Hair snippings / and an Insect or two / Just add to the pot / and let it all rot / into Compost Stew.”

The catchy rhymes and easy-to-follow directions will make kids excited about saving left-overs, raking up fallen leaves, and shredding paper to add to the pile. Readers may also be surprised by some of the other items that will decompose to make rich soil, such as seaweed, laundry lint, and teabags. Three simple steps for cooking up compost stew follow the alphabet, and create a refrain that kids will love to repeat.

Mary McKenna Siddals brings the science of composting and recycling to kids in a fun, interactive way. Children may even like to think of their own ingredients for each letter of the alphabet. The author’s note at the end of the book reveals substitute ingredients as well as items that are not appropriate or safe for composting.

Ashley Wolff’s brilliant, textured collage artwork depicts four multicultural kids (along with their helpful Dalmatian and goose) gathering the ingredients for their compost bag wherever they are—in the yard, in the kitchen, at the hair salon, at the beach, and more.

Kids interested in gardening and environmental issues will love to have Compost Stew on their bookshelf.

Ages 3 – 8

Dragonfly Books, Random House, 2014 | ISBN 978-0385755382

Learn about Composting Day Activity


Creative Composting Word Search


Composting takes individual ingredients and combines them to create nourishing soil. Can you find the words that relate to this environmental science in this printable Creative Composting Word Search? Here’s the Solution.

Picture Book Review

May 28 – It’s Get Caught Reading Month


About the Holiday

You can never read too many books! This idea is definitely supported by the Get Caught Reading campaign that makes people aware of all the benefits of sitting down with a fantastic book—whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, drama, or poetry. To celebrate this holiday, get involved with a literacy program, a book drive, or thank a teacher or librarian for always supplying you with great reads!

Baby Wren and the Great Gift

Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones | Illustrated by Jen Corace


From a narrow crevice a little brown wren peeks out of her nest. Her vantage point gives her a view of all the wonderfulness around her. Monarchs flutter in the Milkweed, breezes whisper in the switch grass, and the glittering river flows along. Emboldened, the baby wren hops onto the canon ledge just as a kingfisher dives down to the river and captures a fish.


Image copyright Jen Corace, text copyright Sally Lloyd Jones. Courtesy of Zonderkidz

“Oh! How wonderful!” the little wren exclaims. The kingfisher invites her to come along, but the wren tells the bigger bird that she can’t dive. As the kingfisher flies away, the wren wonders why she can’t fish too.

Next, two frisky ring-tailed cats cartwheel by. “Oh, how wonderful!” little wren says. The ring-tails want her to play with them, but the wren says that she doesn’t have a ring tail, so the cats cartwheel away leaving the baby wren wondering why she isn’t a ring-tail cat who can cartwheel.


Image copyright Jen Corace, text copyright Sally Lloyd Jones. Courtesy of Zonderkidz

Just then some sunfish splash in the water nearby. The little wren also declines their invitation to play, saying that she can’t swim. As the sunfish hurry down the river, the wren wonders why she isn’t a sunfish who can swim. Overhead two eagles glide on the winds of a gusty storm. “Oh, how wonderful,” the wren says. “Come and see the thunderclouds,” the eagles tell her. But the baby is afraid of the big storm, and the eagles soar higher and higher and away. Watching them, the wren regrets that she isn’t brave and wonders what she can do that is wonderful.


Image copyright Jen Corace, text copyright Sally Lloyd Jones. Courtesy of Zonderkidz

Suddenly, the sun paints the canyon pink. The baby wren looks and looks and looks. The beauty of the sky and the canyon “bumped into her heart, it dazzled in her eyes, it pushed on her throat until the tiny trembling bird with all her tiny might sang by herself a song.”  Her glorious carol echoes through the canyon, and the eagles soaring overhead call to her: “‘You are only little, but your song fills the whole canyon.’” And as the kingfisher, the ring-tailed cats, the sunfish, and the eagles listen, the little wren fills the air with singing.

Sally Lloyd-Jones’ inspirational story is perfect for this time of year when baby birds are just leaving the nest and children are moving on to new grades or new experiences. Jones’ lyrical and gentle tale offers comfort to those wondering just where they fit into the world. As baby wren discovered, everyone has innate talents that shine when the time is right.

Jen Corace’s vibrant illustrations of the baby wren’s canyon home employ bright yellows and vivid contrasting greens and blues to evoke the “wonderfulness” that so captivates the little wren. In each spread the baby bird is depicted as the tiny creature it is surrounded by vast mountains and other, larger animals, but as her song flows out of her in a soaring collage of all the colors and silhouettes of her new-found friends her stature grows. She is happy with her place in the world.

Ages 4 – 8

Zonderkidz, 2016 | ISBN 978-0310733898

Discover more about Sally Lloyd-Jones and her books on her website!

View a portfolio of illustration work by Jen Corace on her website!

View the Baby Wren and the Great Gift book trailer!


Get Caught Reading Month Activity


Baby Bird Coloring Page


Baby birds love the cozy safety of their nests as much as you like snuggling under the blankets with a good book. Print the Baby Bird Coloring Page and have fun with it—instead of just coloring it, how about making a collage? You can attach different colors of torn paper to decorate the bird and use grasses or twigs for the nest! Use your unique creative talents to make a one-of-a-kind picture!

Picture Book Review

May 27 – It’s National Family Month


About the Holiday

National Family Month was established by KidsPeace and is observed in the weeks between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to encourage families to spend time together. Now that the school year is coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to plan some fun activities!

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team

Written by Audrey Vernick | Illustrated by Steven Salerno


When the weather warms and kids’ thoughts turn to sports, the afternoon air rings with the sounds of slamming doors as players race from home to the baseball diamond. Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, the same door slammed not once or twice, not three or four times, not even eight or nine! The door shut behind 12 brothers! Anthony, Joe, Paul, Alfred, Charlie, Jimmy, Bobby, Billy, Freddie, Eddie, Bubbie, and Louie Acerra. These 12 boys also had 4 sisters—but this is a story about baseball, and back then girls didn’t play ball.

It could be said that “baseball set the rhythm of their lives.” Neighbors couldn’t remember a time when Acerra boys weren’t throwing or hitting a ball or running the bases at the local park. And there was an Acerra on the high school baseball team for 22 years in a row!

In 1938 the nine oldest brothers formed a semi-pro team and competed against other New Jersey teams and teams from New York and Connecticut. Their dad was their coach. The brothers all had different skills—Anthony could hit homeruns, and even hit a couple into the Atlantic Ocean from a seaside park; Charlie was a slow runner; and Jimmy had a knuckleball that was unhittable and uncatchable.

But playing had its dangers too. In one game Alfred was going to bunt, but the ball bounced badly off the bat and hit him in the face. He was rushed to the hospital, but the accident caused him to lose an eye. Everyone thought he would never play again. But after he healed, his brothers helped him recover his skills and his courage.

During World War II six of the brothers joined the war effort and spent years apart. Far from home they dreamed of the days when they played together on warm afternoons. When the war ended all the Acerra boys came home to their very happy mother. The brothers got back to what they loved doing best. Now Anthony was their coach, and from 1946 to 1952 they won the Long Branch City Twilight Baseball League championship four times—much to the pleasure of the crowds that came out to watch the Acerras play.

As time went on the Acerras got jobs, married, and had families of their own. In 1952 the brothers played their last game as a team, having made history as the longest-playing, all-brother baseball team ever. Even though the Acerras played many, years ago, people have not forgotten them. In 1997 they were honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame. The surviving seven brothers made the trip along with one sister and more than a hundred relatives. Now Jimmy Acerra’s uniform and glove are on display alongside exhibits about Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Willie Mays. If you visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, you can see them too!

Interesting and personal author’s and artist’s notes follow the text.

Baseball fans will love Audrey Vernick’s exciting, true story of this most unusual team. Her focus on the close relationship of the Acerra brothers elevates the tale from merely a sports story to one that reveals deep affection and support during difficult times. The different personalities of the brothers shine through in Vernick’s easy, conversational tone, and the inclusion of the Acerra brothers’ induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame shows that this story lives on for all generations.

Steven Salerno’s evocative illustrations will transport readers into a past where neighborhood leagues enjoyed the same level of loyalty as the majors. Capturing the brushed style, colors, and portraiture of pictures of the period, Salerno shows kids not only what it meant to be a baseball player in the 1930s and 40s, but what it meant to be a family.

Ages 4 – 9

Clarion Books, 2012 | ISBN 978-0547385570

National Family Month Activity


We Are All Family English – Spanish Word Search


This month is all about family! Find the words for special relatives in this English – Spanish dual language word search! Print the We Are All Family word search puzzle here! And here’s the Solution!

May 26 – It’s Mystery Month


About the Holiday

There’s nothing like a mystery to rivet your attention. Odd sounds, sudden darkness, unusual circumstances, eerie apparitions, and other unexplained phenomena have beguiled people since the beginning of time. We can’t help investigating to find out who, what, why, or how? Today read  great mystery—or solve one!

It’s Only Stanley

By Jon Agee


“The Wimbledons were sleeping / It was very, very late, / When Wilma heard a spooky sound, / Which made her sit up straight.” Walter goes out into the yard to investigate.  He finds their dog Stanley howling at the moon. A little later that night their daughter Wendy is wakened by a clanking sound below her floor. Walter goes down into the basement to investigate. There’s Stanley fixing the oil tank.

Next comes young Willie: “it was even later still, / When Willie smelled a funky smell / That made him kind of ill.” So Walter goes to the kitchen to investigate. He finds Stanley has constructed a homemade lab and is cooking up a bubbling catfish stew on the stove. At half past three Wanda hears a buzzing noise and Walter finds Stanley fixing the old TV.

Tiny Wylie comes in next, having heard a splashy sound, but Walter discovers it’s only Stanley clearing the bathtub drain. “Now Wilma wasn’t happy. / And the children threw a fit. / ‘We’ll never get to sleep tonight if Stanley doesn’t quit!’” So Walter says he’ll talk to Stanley but before he can leave the room a huge KAPOW! sends the family flying.

“‘I’ll go and look,’ said Walter, / ‘And I’ll be back very soon.’ / ‘It’s only Stanley.” Walter said. / ‘We’re going to the—’” Perhaps the biggest mystery isn’t how Stanley does all this…but why!

We know dogs are smart, but who can account for Stanley!? Jon Agee’s loveable, incredibly adept family pet is laugh-out-loud precocious as his nighttime exploits expand to out-of-this-world proportions. The clever word play, alliteration, and rhyming scheme of the text adds to the humor.

Kids will love Agee’s illustrations of the serious, self-assured Stanley as he goes about his tinkering all to the nonplused consternation of his family and the detriment of his nemesis—the household cat. As in many homes with pets, readers will rightly wonder—who’s in charge here? Kids will want to hear It’s Only Stanley over and over.

Ages 4 – 8

Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group, 2015 | ISBN 978-0803739079

Mystery Day Activity


What Went Missing In the Dark? Game


This fun and fabulous game combines memory building with just the right amount of suspense and spookiness. The game is best played at night or in a room that can become totally black when the lights are turned off. If you play in the daytime, just have the players leave the room while you take away objects.



  1. Gather a number of small objects (the number will depend on the ages of the players. For younger players, gather 5 – 7 objects. For older players try 12 or more)
  2. Lay the objects on the ground or a blanket
  3. Tell the players to look at the objects for a certain amount of time. The time will depend on the ages of the players—a longer time for younger children, shorter for older kids (or to make the game more exciting)
  4. When the time is up, turn out the lights or send players out of the room.
  5. Remove 1 – 3 objects. To make the game more difficult rearrange the remaining objects
  6. Turn the lights back on.
  7. Let children guess which objects have been removed.
  8. Repeat until all the objects are gone
  9. For an alternate game, instead of removing objects, add one or two

Picture Book Review

May 25 – National Photography Month


About the Holiday

Established in 1987 by the United States Congress to commemorate the importance of photos to present and future generations, National Photography Month encourages photographers to really look at their subjects and become more intentional about making photos that will be meaningful in the future. Once you’ve taken your pictures, don’t just leave them on your phone, in the cloud, or on your hard drive. Print them and document the place, people, and time of each picture for future generations.

Pictures from Our Vacation

By Lynne Rae Perkins


Just before a family leaves on vacation, a girl and her brother each receive a Polaroid camera and a notebook from their mom so they can document their trip. The first picture the little girl takes is of her feet by mistake. During the two-day trip to the old farm where their dad grew up, the kids play with games from the activity bag and look out the window at the passing landscape. Her second photo taken through the car window reveals “there was not anything to look at out there,” although she does see an orange truck labeled “Yellow” and a motel with a red roof. 

She thinks that if she owned a motel it would be called the Blue Motel, and she begins to imagine in detail the accommodations she would offer. In the Jungle Cottage people would sleep in hammocks and shower under a waterfall. In the Sun Cottage, the bed would glow like the sun but turn off for sleeping. The floor of the Flower Garden Cottage would be real grass, and she thinks up many more.

Her reveries last until the family begins searching for a real motel. They stop at the Shangri-La, which advertises POOL, but as the girl’s photograph shows, “it didn’t have water in it.”

When the family reaches the farm, Dad sees happy memories everywhere. They find an old badminton set with warped racquets (shaped like potato chips, the girl says in her picture’s caption) and begin to play. But one minute into the game the rain comes down. It rains for days and the family spends the time playing cards, reading, and drawing.

After the rain stops, Dad takes the family to a hidden swimming spot. They forge their way through the now-overgrown secret path only to find a KEEP OUT sign and a guard dog.  They backtrack to the car and drive around and around, having trouble finding the lake. They stop at a park, where the girl takes a picture of hills that were built in ancient times to look like a snake from the air and one of a leftover Chinese food container where a squirrel was eating before it ran away.

At last they find the lake and run out to the end of the dock. But a boy warns them of an impending storm. Suddenly, the storm breaks and as the family shelters in the dock gazebo, the girl learns that tomorrow they are attending a memorial service. The next day the old farmhouse fills up with relatives who have traveled there for a memorial service for Great-aunt Charlotte.

At the service family members tell stories about Charlotte’s brave escapades and afterward the whole crew go back to the farmhouse to spend a several days. They eat dinner and tell more stories, and the cousins play. They roll down the hill, climb trees, and explore. That night as the kids sleep upstairs, murmurs of continued conversation float up through the grate. After a few days, the families disperse and only the girl and her brother and parents stay behind, but the memories and feeling of the full house remain.

Finally the girl’s family leaves too, and as they drive home she looks at the pictures she has taken. “‘These don’t remind me much of our vacation,’” she says. She snaps one last picture as they pass a row of huge electrical towers along the highway. When she looks at the photograph, however, the towers don’t look like the giant robots she imagined. She realizes that “it’s hard to take a picture of a story someone tells, or what it feels like when you’re rolling down a hill or falling asleep in a house full of cousins and uncles and aunts. There are a lot of things like that. But those kinds of pictures I can keep in my mind.”

Lynn Rae Perkins’ paean to formative old-fashioned vacations in which extended family members gathered to pass on history and traditions through stories told around the picnic table is a welcome reminder in this digital age that some “pictures” are better stored in one’s memory than on a device. Perkins’ choices of details seen on the two-day road trip, the incessant rain, and the changed landscape that lead to wrong directions are just the kinds of childhood events that often stick in a person’s memory for life. The story is charmingly told from a child’s point of view with realistic dialogue and a tone of heartfelt nostaligia.

Perkins’ realistic drawings of the family are homey and evocative. The kids lounge in the backseat of the car while the little girl conjures up the décor of her Blue Motel; the old house and fields of the family farm are rendered in warm golds and greens with humor and comfort; and you can almost hear the shouts and laughter of the family members gathered on the lawn at the reunion. This is a vacation kids will love to take.

Ages 4 – 8

Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins, 2007 | ISBN 978-0060850975

National Photography Month Activity


Fantastic Frame!


Your photographs show your unique personality, why shouldn’t the frame you put them in? Today, you can make a frame that perfectly suits your décor or snapshot!


  • Cardboard or bare wood frame, available at craft stores
  • Stickers
  • Buttons
  • Jewels
  • Beads
  • Glue
  • Paint in your favorite color
  • Paint brush


  1. Paint the frame (optional), let dry
  2. Attach stickers, beads, buttons, or other objects
  3. Fill with your favorite picture