National Park Service Centennial

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100!  The centennial celebration pays homage to the Organic Act of 1916, which established the Park Service and brought a number of parks already in existence together under its auspices.  However, the rich history of the parks movement predates this, beginning in earnest in the 1860s. […]

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Celebrate Our National Parks

Kids, pack your bags, grab your hiking shoes and tell the family it’s time for a real vacation! Where are some of the best places to vacation? Our National Parks! There is no better year to visit these treasures than this year as the National Parks’ celebrate their centennial. Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service! Glaciers, mountains, […]

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Vacation Countdown

Most summers we stick around to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer, but this year we're packing our bags and heading to California. Coming along for the trip will be our Summer Learning Challenge Explorer’s Guide as we continue to read, discover and create. What vacation books or music are your favorites? Here are some things […]

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Open a Book and Travel the World

Have you ever picked up a book, started to read it and felt like you were in a different place? Books can take you to many wonderful new places. Even if you aren't going anywhere for summer vacation, you can feel like you have been all over the globe, or beyond, just by reading. Check out these stories […]

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Let’s Hit the Road!

Summer always makes me long for a good road trip story, so naturally I'm completely pumped about John Green's new movie adaptation of his novel Paper Towns that comes out July 24. Paper Towns is available in other formats. If you're like me and you're looking for more road trip novels, here are a few books for […]

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Travel Like You Mean It

Lots of people travel just to find out who they are. Maybe they're going through a divorce or struggling with addiction, or maybe they have a suicidal love of nature, but they're all finding themselves on the road. I don't like it. I already know who I am and I'm boring. I prefer travel books about people trying […]

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A Taste of Cuba

Much has been said and written about Cuba, our neighbor 90 miles south of Florida.  One thing is undeniable: Cuba is home to a rich and colorful culture full of life. The Cold War between the United States and Cuba significantly restricted travel to Cuba.  In fact, the closest most people could ever get to Cuba […]

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Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

We know life isn't always a bowl of cherries, despite how much we'd like it to be, unless of course you happen to be visiting Door County, Wisconsin. Aside from abundant cherry farms and roadside stands where you can pick up pints of fresh cherries, jams, cherry pie and even cheese with chunks of cherries in it, Door […]

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Laughs Across America

Filmmaker John Waters has made a career as the Prince of Perversion; however, I have always found his movies rather wholesome in their own way. Unfortunately, investment in independent directors like Waters has gone the way of the real estate boom. This means that Waters has had to come up with other ways of funding his films. Role Models (2010) is […]

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Grand Canyon or Bust!

My family and I drove the 3,200 miles to the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona and back in eight days. Almost four days were spent in a rented Chevy SUV because we wanted to see the West from a car window. We planned our trip using the Chicago Public Library's rich collection of Southwest U.S. travel books such […]

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