Each February, when the weather is bleakest in the North and summer is yet months away, Alice Rice and her family pack up the car and head to the Florida coast. Their final destination is a little beach cottage called Scallop which to Alice is “an enchanted house from a fairy tale—- the interior of a tree or an enormous worn out shoe or a giant nutshell.”
While on the south Florida shot they join other families who vacation there as well each year. All except this year.
As Alice hits her first double-digit birthday (she’s turning ten) some of her best and favorite friends and family are missing. One set of playmates are getting too old to miss homework and can’t make it. One older woman is trapped in a New York City blizzard, and Aunt Kate has brought along her boyfriend and his daughter Mallory. Will she be able to turn this birthday around ? Will she find a junonia shell she has long been searching for ?
Kevin Henkes had us wanting to find a junonia shell !! He has done a brilliant job authoring this very sweet coming of age story. Through this simple and loving story we come to know the inner workings of a ten-year old. He creates with impeccable sensory detail the tug of war between familiarity y and uncertainty, coziness and independence, being self-centered and all caring.
“Because she was looking down and focusing her attention so precisely, Alice lost track of time and of herself. She wouldn’t be able to put it into words, except to say she felt removed from the world. Or just at its edge. At the edge of the wild and beautiful world. She felt small, too. But part of something large. She was happy.”
― Kevin Henkes, Junonia
Something To Do:
Common names the junonia, or Juno’s volute, is a species of large sea-snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Volutidae, the volutes. This species lives in water from 29 m to 126 m depth in the tropical Western Atlantic.
A junonia shell is a very prized item for shell seekers. It’s not easy to find and some people like Alice Rice spend years looking for one.
“It’s not visions of sugar plums that dance in the heads of Sanibel shell collectors, it’s visions of Scaphella junonia, commonly known as “THE Junonia.” There’s not a day that I roam the shell littered shores of Sanibel that I don’t lust for the discovery of this pride of the Island. The shape and color pattern are deeply etched in my memory bank. At the vaguest hint of this icon all senses go into overdrive and my shell scooping net flies into the water, trapping any moving object in sight.
It was ten years before this shelling dream became reality.” Kathleen Hoover Shell Seeker
The Seashell Sun
We are always collecting things. We are a family of great collectors. Throughout the years we’ve had this ever-growing collection of seashells. They are always bundled up very gently and brought home to be placed in one of our jars, bowls, or glass boxes.
Shells are such a wonderful memory of going to the beach: Walking in the surf, sand between our toes, seaweed round our angles, looking closely for a little house without an inhabitant, wind through our hair, seagulls cawing and diving, all the while looking for our treasures of sea shells in the sand.
When our beach days are but a memory, we refer to those golden times together as Seashell Sun Days.
Why not take some of our collected shells and make a seashell sun to remind us of those happy carefree days?
What you’ll need:
- A small wreath of any material
- Small shells
- Medium shells
- Large piece of paper to work on as a mat
Take your wreath and spread a small glue strip along the edge. Place your small shells on the glue.
Continue by placing another small glue strip along the edge. Continue doing this until you have a row of small shells all around the edge of the wreath.
Working in sections, place a generous amount of glue in the remainder of the wreath. Place your larger shells and fill in the gaps with smaller shells.
Work your way around the wreath until it is all filled in.
Be sure to let your Seashell Sun dry completely before picking it up. The shells will fall off it otherwise.
When you’re finished, glue a ribbon to the back to hang it up or just lay it on an end table to use as decoration. Either way you will have a beautiful piece of art to remind you of your wonderful beach days.
This craft originally appeared in the Little Acorn Learning July Enrichment Guide.
Summer may be coming to a close but there still time to enjoy the outdoors and nature play in your own backyard!
The At Home Summer Nature Camp is a creative, affordable alternative to pricey summer camp, this 8-week eCurriculum is packed with ideas and inspiration to keep your kids engaged and happy all summer long. In one easy-to-follow PDF, you receive eight kid-approved themes, each including ideas and tutorials for: outdoor activities, indoor projects, arts & crafts, recipes, field trips, books & media, and more. Every weekly theme is packed with summer nature fun your family can have right in your own backyard.
Jump Into a Book is very proud and excited to be one of the many “Camp Counselors” and bringing fun, enjoyment, and family activity to your upcoming summer.
If you have grabbed your e-Curriculum yet I highly recommend hopping on board and “jumping” into the fun Click the link below for details and ordering information. Welcome to Nature Summer Camp!