I had such a good time making this book. Many personal experiences were drawn on. Two thoughts: vacations, like other parts of life, don’t have to be pictures perfect to be interesting and memorable. Maybe just the opposite. Also… even with a really good camera, it’s hard to take a picture of a story someone tells, or what it feels like when you’re rolling down a hill or falling asleep in a house full of cousins and uncles and aunts…

But those kind of pictures you can keep in your mind.

Things you can do after reading this book:

1. The most obvious one, of course, is to write a story and draw some pictures about what you did on your vacation!
2. The cousins in this story invent a dessert:
dessertIt looks pretty easy to make, doesn’t it? Have you ever invented a recipe? Tell us how to make it! Include a picture!
3. Think of a trip you have gone on. It can be a special trip to a faraway place, like the one in this story. Or it can be an everyday trip, like coming to school or going home.
Now think of 5 things you saw along the way. Make a picture map. You can put the pictures in order on an accordion-folded piece of paper like this:
accordionor you can punch holes and connect the pictures with paper clips, like this:
paperclipYou can put a string through the top two holes to hang your map up:
hanging mapHere is the map the girl in Pictures from Our Vacation imagined of her special trip to a faraway place:


Here is a map I imagined of how a dog might plan his trip from one place to another:

dogmap(here’s a secret: this is a drawing from a book that hasn’t been published yet.)

You can imagine a trip someone else might make, too, even your dog or your cat!


From reviews of Pictures from Our Vacation:

“This deceptively simple, thoroughly engaging story is a child’s account of her family’s cross-country road trip (complete with hand-drawn maps) to visit the old homestead…watercolor renderings include the lush scenery from a variety of perspectives, the characters and their activities, their vivid imaginings, and the kids’ captioned ‘photos.’ The whole is infused with wonderfully understated accidental, but child-centered humor. A journey into family dynamics, shared experience, and memory that is well worth the trip.”

School Library Journal  (starred review)

“[Perkins] offers watercolors that beautifully capture all that is real about family vacations: boredom, disappointment, fun and love.”

–ALA Booklist (starred review)

“An outstanding choice for pre-vacation reading or for ruminative children at any time.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“…refreshingly honest, complete with rainy days, boring drives, long-lost relatives and, ultimately, warm memories of time spent together.”

People Magazine

“Perkins is exhilaratingly free in her approach to the picture book form.”

The Horn Book  (starred review)

“…brilliantly reveals the small moments that make a family…”

New York Daily News


ALA Notable Children’s Book

Horn Book Fanfare

Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice

School Library Journal Best Book

Bank Street Children’s Book Committee Best Book of the Year

New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing