July 2 – World Firefly Day


About the Holiday

World Firefly Day was instituted by Fireflyers International Network to raise awareness of these summer-night beauties and the dangers to their survival, including habitat destruction, pesticides, light pollution, and over-collection. More and more, as fields and marshlands are paved over for building and waterways open up to recreation, the fireflies that call these places home are disappearing. This year’s theme is “Let’s stay together in the challenging world” and encourages everyone to learn how to “live in harmony” with fireflies. To learn more about fireflies, how you can make your garden or lawn firefly friendly, and more, visit Firefly Conservation & Research.

Light the Sky, Firefly!

Written by Sheri Mabry Bestor | Illustrated by Jonny Lambert


When fireflies begin dotting the summer night sky with light, it may seem like they’ve magically appeared out of nowhere. But as Sheri Mabry Bestor eloquently reveals, these beautiful insects have been lurking and luminescing for a long time. How long? Well, would you believe a full year? As summer rains dampen the earth, a firefly lays her eggs (up to 500!) under brush or fallen leaves. “Under the leaves, the eggs lay still. For the baby fireflies inside the shells, it is time to grow. And begin to glow.”


Image copyright Jonny Lambert, 2022, text copyright Sheri Mabry Bestor, 2022. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

The larvae hatch after a month, and then they begin to eat, eat, eat. Slugs and snails are on the menu and, as a paragraph of scientific information about the firefly’s nighttime dining discloses, “instead of fighting their prey, the larvae bite and then inject the prey with a liquid that keeps it from moving to get away.” All through the rest of summer and fall, the baby fireflies grow. During the winter, the larvae undergo many transformations, growing and outgrowing a series of casings.


Image copyright Jonny Lambert, 2022, text copyright Sheri Mabry Bestor, 2022. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

It isn’t until late spring when the larvae are ready to become an adult. When they are ready, they emerge from their mud nest. Then, while the sun is high, they stay low to the ground. But “when the sun begins to set, they begin to climb higher. And when the sky turns black, fireflies launch!” Then “the sky is filled with flashing fireflies. They twinkle like faraway stars.”


Image copyright Jonny Lambert, 2022, text copyright Sheri Mabry Bestor, 2022. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

Still, the darkness of night doesn’t protect them from predators, so fireflies always have to be on the alert. If they are caught, fireflies have a bitter surprise for the hungry critter. And what about those “blink, blinks” that we all marvel at? Those signals aren’t random. As Sheri Mabry Bestor explains, “Fireflies blink with specific rhythms called ‘flash patterns,’ and each species has its own. This helps them communicate with each other.” Not only does that luminescent chemical help fireflies, Bestor describes ways in which scientists and doctors are studying it in hopes of helping people.

“In time, the females are ready to lay their eggs. Pitter-patter, drizzle-drip. Summer rain cools the earth. Bees buzz. Birds glide. A firefly finds a place under the leaves that blanket the ground.” The eggs hide, waiting until next summer when it’s their turn to shine.


Image copyright Jonny Lambert, 2022, text copyright Sheri Mabry Bestor, 2022. Courtesy of Sleeping Bear Press.

Sheri Mabry Bestor’s lovely, poetic story of the lifecycle of fireflies is a beautiful read aloud for summer nights or for whenever you and your kids are missing the simple pleasures of summer. While the story plays out from page to page in flowing and sometimes vibrant text, scientific facts about these insects, their transformations, homes, anatomy, protection, and, of course, their bright and glowing communication skills are tucked in the corner waiting to be discovered and explored. Bestor’s rhythmical cadence also highlights the seasonal changes that accompany a fireflies’ growth and the cyclical wonder of nature.

Jonny Lambert’s stunning textured collage-style illustrations portray all the beauty of these unique insects and the landscape they inhabit. Mottled greens and yellows give depth to lush leaves, opaline snail shells catch the light above as the curious snail discovers the glowing eggs below, and delicate spring flowers camouflage the mud nests where the larvae are transforming into adults. The nighttime scenes are breathtaking with deep blue skies, a canvas for the pin pricks of light that create summer’s most spectacular show. Both realistic and dreamlike, these nighttime pages will have kids and adults scurrying outside to watch and be a part of it.

A gorgeous book to celebrate the exquisite charm of fireflies as well as to impart natural science facts, Light the Sky, Firefly is highly recommended for home, school, and public library bookshelves.

Ages 4 – 8

Sleeping Bear Press, 2022 | ISBN 978-1534111158

Discover more about Sheri Mabry Bestor and her books on her website.

You can connect with Jonny Lambert on Twitter.

World Firefly Day Activity


Firefly Flight Maze


This little firefly wants to join her friends in the forest. Can you help her through the maze to find them in this printable maze?

Firefly Flight Maze Puzzle | Firefly Flight Mage Solution


You can find Light the Sky, Firefly! at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

June 16 – Dump the Pump Day


About the Holiday

There’s no better time than early summer to consider “dumping the pump” and traveling by foot, bicycle, scooter, skates, skateboard…there are so many options! Leaving the car at home saves on gas costs, is better for the environment, and leads to a great exercise workout. Today, grab your walking or tennis shoes and with a friend or alone, take an example from the subject of today’s book and enjoy the pleasure of traversing the outside world!

Good Trick, Walking Stick!

Written by Sheri Mabry Bestor | Illustrated by Jonny Lambert


The walking stick is one insect that knows a thing or two about tricks. Even before it’s born wile plays a part in its survival. A mother walking stick drops her eggs where they will be buried by autumn leaves—and found by ants that think they are delicious seeds to eat. Why would a mother purposefully do this?! She knows that the ants will take the eggs to their colony, where they will eat only the tops leaving the baby walking sticks undisturbed. The ants will then drag the remains of the “seeds” to their garbage dump area, where they will spend a warm winter safe from predators until spring.


In the spring a baby hatches. It look like a tiny twig—a twig that can walk! The baby searches for food and munch, munch, munches the leaves it finds. As it becomes bigger it molts, shedding its old skin and growing a new one. The walking stick looks just like the branches that it lives on. It is perfectly camouflaged! “Good trick, walking stick!”

But a bird with keen eyesight swoops down and in an instant grabs the walking stick in its beak. Quickly, the walking stick squirts out a bad-smelling juice. The bird spits it out, but has gained a snack while the walking stick has lost a leg! It’s okay, though; the walking stick will just grow a new one! “Good trick, walking stick!”

The walking stick finds a tree with others of her kind hidden in its branches. The leaves make delicious meals. During the day the walking stick can change color to blend in with the sunlit bark of the tree and stay cooler. At night the walking stick becomes darker to hide in the shadows and stay warm. “Good trick, walking stick!”

When a squirrel brushes past, looking for a meal, the walking stick “pulls in her legs and drops to the forest floor, just like a stick falling off a larger branch. The stick insect is safe.” All day the insect lies on the ground, not moving, pretending to be just another cutting. At nightfall the walking stick climbs back into the tree. The squirrels and birds are resting now, so the stick insects “Munch munch. Crunch. Munch.”


With the onset of fall stick insects begin looking for mates. The females “spritz their perfume into the cooling air.” Males find them. Even if a walking stick does not have a mate, she can still produce eggs which will all develop into females. The eggs settle into the fallen leaves, ready to begin their unique life. “Good trick, walking stick!”

Stick insects are some of the most unusual creatures in the world. Measuring from an inch or two to 21 inches (53 centimeters), they can be found in forests, parks, even your own backyard! Sheri Mabry Bestor’s story of a year in a walking stick’s life is filled with action, suspense, and the clever ploys stick insects use to survive. Bestor’s enthusiastic, conversational tone and evocative language will engage kids over a wide range of ages. Each page also contains fascinating scientific sidebars that expand on the events in the story.

Jonny Lambert’s collage-style illustrations are a perfect match for the text. The mottled hues and textures of nature are beautifully represented in the vibrantly colored two-page spreads. The scientific details of the stick insect’s life are clearly and organically depicted, making it easy for kids to understand and enjoy the concepts: on one page ants carry away eggs with missing tops while on the next baby walking sticks emerge from the same images. Illustrations of the stick insect’s camouflage are particularly effective, and the cyclical quality of the story and the insect’s life are well portrayed.

For teachers and for kids who love the natural world and are curious about its unique creatures, Good Trick, Walking Stick is a wonderful addition to their school or personal library.

Ages 5 – 9

Sleeping Bear Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-1585369430

Dump the Pump Day Activity


Take a Stroll Puzzle


You can see so many amazing things when you take a walk! But can you spot the 15 differences between the two pictures in this printable Take a Stroll puzzle?