book review

10 Ways to Make the World More Beautiful with Miss Rumphius

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As part of the Natural Nester At-Home Nature Summer Camp eCurriculum we’re sharing the day with a very dear friend of mine Miss Rumphius. How many of you love Miss Rumphius ? I Do !!! I Do !!!

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a classic. I’ve read it to a variety of nieces and nephews throughout the years, and my own children grab it often. Miss Rumphius is an old friend that we go back to again and again.

Miss Rumphius Cover

Miss Rumphius is the life story of Miss Alice Rumphius (otherwise known as the Lupine Lady) as told by her young niece, Alice. When she was a young child, Miss Rumphius set two goals for herself; she would follow in her grandfather’s footsteps by traveling to faraway places and then settle down in a home by the sea. Alice’s grandfather tells her there is one more thing she must do.

She must do something to make the world more beautiful.

rumphius grandfather

Alice agrees to honor her grandfather’s request, but does not yet know how she will do it. Alice grows up and accomplishes her goals of traveling the world and finding a home by the sea.

Miss Rumphius Travels

Still, Miss Rumphius wonders how she will make the world more beautiful.

Then one spring day, after having spent many months in bed with a bad back, Miss Rumphius discovers that the lupines she had planted in her garden had spread to a nearby hill. Miss Rumphius orders five bushels of lupine seed and begins to sow them wherever she goes that summer. By the next spring lupines are growing all over her seaside town and Miss Rumphius, now known as the Lupine Lady, has accomplished her grandfather’s request.

Now a very old woman, Miss Rumphius graciously entertains the neighborhood children with stories of faraway places. Her niece Alice says that she will follow in her aunt’s footsteps by traveling to faraway places and then settling down in a home by the sea. Aunt Alice tells her that there is one more thing she must do.

She must do something to make the world more beautiful. Young Alice agrees to honor her aunt’s request, but she does not know yet how she will do it.


This is a legacy story. Just as Alice was asked by her grandfather and then Alice asked her niece, “what will you do to make the world a more beautiful place?”

I’m now asking you.  I asking, “What will you do to make the world a more beautiful place ? “ It’s completely alright if you don’t know what that is yet. The joy is in the discovery. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

10 ways to make the world more beautiful


10 Ways to Make the World More Beautiful

1. Smile

2. Eat and Buy Locally

3. Start a garden – Plant a Tree

4. Be Kind

5. Recycle – Repurpose – Reuse

6. Be a Good Neighbor

7. Ride Your Bike – Walk

8. Participate in a Community Clean-up

9. Give a Compliment

10. Conserve Water and Electricity

 **what will you do to make the world more beautiful today?

Don’t forget!




9 thoughts on “10 Ways to Make the World More Beautiful with Miss Rumphius

  1. Yes, yes, yes! I love this blog. I’ve been searching for a story that will help inspire our students to perform “Acts of Greatness.” Your list of ten is such a great place to start. Smile, be kind–are all small but powerful actions that make a difference to our communities and neighbors. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello and Welcome City Year !!! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by and found something which inspired you. I love your program and the positive differences you make in our communities. Everyone has something they can do even if that is only giving a smile. We all just need to keep doing that something. Happy Summer !!!

  2. Valarie- somehow you have a knack for picking some of my favorite children’s books! This book is definitely a favorite of mine. I love that Miss Rumphius travels all around the world (something I definitely want to do!), comes home, and keeps her promise to her grandfather. What better way to make the world beautiful than through flowers? This is a classic that every child should read, over and over and over again.

  3. I think that if each of us concentrated on making ourselves more beautiful on the inside, we would reflect that on the outside and the world would be a more beautiful place.

  4. Valarie,
    I just love this post! I had read Miss Rumphius a few years ago and now I remember it more clearly. What a wonderful message and I love your book extension!

  5. I love Miss Rumphius! We have enjoyed this story for many years in my home. Thank you for posting about it – and I love your list of 10 things to do to make the world a better place! I stopped by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  6. Stopping by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop. What a fantastic book with a timeless message for all. I absolutely love the illustrations. Thanks for sharing.

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