MAY 2018

Miss Rumphius

Miss Rumphius

by Barbara Cooney

Alice made a promise to make the world a more beautiful place, then a seed of an idea is planted and blossoms into a beautiful plan.  This beloved classic and celebration of nature—written by a beloved Caldecott winner—is lovelier than ever!

A Note from the First Lady

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

Making the world a more beautiful place – doesn’t that sound like a wonderful goal for a lifetime? I think we can all make the world more beautiful, just like Miss Rumphius and her grandfather, in a way that is unique and special to who we are as individuals.

This wonderful story by Barbara Cooney is based on the real Lupine Lady, whose name was Hilda Hamlin. Hilda lived in Maine in a coastal inlet called Christmas Cove. And just like Miss Rumphius, Hilda scattered seeds all throughout the coast of Maine as she walked from place-to-place. The beautiful Lupines still bloom each year, bringing a smile to all who pass by. I know Miss Rumphius will bring beauty to your life and I challenge you to think about how a small gesture can have a big impact on the lives of others.

Keep up the great reading!

Crissy Haslam

First Lady of Tennessee


Fun Family Activities


1. Reading Comprehension: What three things does Miss Rumphius want to do in her life? Why do you think her grandfather wanted her to do the third thing? Is it important to listen to our parents and grandparents? Why? Why do you think Miss Rumphius wanted to travel the world? What did she learn from her travels? Although Miss Rumphius seems to be alone most of her life, how does she feel about other people? How can you tell? What did Miss Rumphius decide to do to make the world more beautiful? Why do you think she chose that? Do you think she succeeded in making the world more beautiful? Why or why not? How do you think author Barbara Cooney has made the world more beautiful?

2. Goal Setting: After her conversation with her grandfather, Miss Rumphius sets three goals. Why is it important for us to set goals in our life? How can setting a goal be a helpful tool to accomplish what we want to do? How do you think Miss Rumphius felt when she met her goals? Think about the next week in your life, and choose two goals that you’d like to accomplish in the next week. Then choose two goals you’d like to achieve in your whole lifetime. Write your goals down on a piece of paper or in a journal. Take some time to talk with a parent, teacher or friend about what steps you will need to take to meet those goals, and how you could celebrate together once you reach them.

3. Planting Seeds: The first full week of May is National Wildflower Week. Not only are they pretty, wildflowers are important to our ecosystem too! Wildflowers provide a critical habitat for pollinators, like bees, and other insects and wildlife.  Ask your parent or guardian if you can purchase some wildflower seeds from your local garden store. Plant the seeds in a pot or in a small patch of dirt in your yard. Wildflowers grow easily in lots of different places, and the seeds can scatter after you plant them, just like the Lupines in the story. What do plants need to grow? Make sure that your seeds have everything that they need to become thriving wildflowers and enjoy watching them grow.

4. Further Reading: Barbara Cooney was a celebrated children’s author and illustrator in the U.S. Miss Rumphius won the American Book Award in 1983, and two of  her other illustrative works, Chanticleer and the Fox and Ox-Cart Man, were awarded Caldecott medals. Your local library can be a great place to find more books by Barbara Cooney, including Island Boy, Hattie and the Wild Waves, and Eleanor.