The other day, a mom told me she was taking cupcakes to her daughter’s day camp to celebrate. The reason for this celebration was that her daughter was the camper of the week and each week, the ‘camper of the week’ is asked to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life.

In response to the mother’s cupcake celebration, I suggested a book to go along with the cupcakes. Why not leave the campers with more than a sugar high for the camp counselors to deal with?

And so I suggested the book Miss Rumphius, (by Barbara Cooney) – a story about a little girl whose Grandfather tells her that when she grows up, she must do something to make the world more beautiful. It is a charming story that jump-starts a conversation on what one might do to make the world more beautiful —”Can you make the world more beautiful in small ways?”; “Do you have to be an adult to make the world more beautiful?”; “What would the world be like if nobody thought to make the world more beautiful?”

Cupcakes last 37 seconds, but connecting her daughter’s experience as camper of the week to a story she loves will last a lifetime. There is a double victory here. On the one hand, the daughter will always associate her celebration with Miss Rumphius. Secondly, the questions that stem from the book – how could you make the world a more beautiful place? What did Miss Rumphius do? – will generate thought-provoking conversation.


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