Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Adventure Book Boxes

Sometime last year my Pun'kin  niece Natashia tagged me on Facebook sharing the Once Upon a Book Club because she thought I might like the concept. She was right, of course! With this book club, you not only get a book each month, you get several gifts that go along with it. I love this FRESH idea.

I decided to adapt this idea and create Adventure Book Boxes for my twin nieces Paige and Laurie for their thirteenth birthday earlier this month. Robbie and I brainstormed book ideas and ended up with several possibilities for each of the girls. I decided to go with two book by e.l. konigsburg because I knew each of the girls would like the main character in the book we chose for her.

One of the best parts of putting these gifts together was that I had to re-read the books. Of course, this time I was also looking for opportunities and ideas for including gifts.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Adventure Box

For Paige, I chose From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which won the Newbery Medal in 1968. This story is all about how Claudia Kincaid, along with her brother Jamie, runs away from home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! I thought Paige would appreciate the fact that Claudia wanted to run away from home, but she didn't want to be uncomfortable or have to sleep out doors or anything drastic like that. (I don't think Paige wants to run away, but I'm pretty sure she's not one for sleeping outdoors or being uncomfortable.) This is a wonderful book that follows Claudia and Jamie's adventures as they strive to stay undetected and to help solve a mystery about one of the museum's latest acquisitions . . . which leads to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and her mixed-up files.

Along with the book, I sent six items for Paige to enjoy when she came to the page where I'd placed a post-it note with the number of the gift to open. Each gift corresponded to something happening in the story. For example, I added a post-it note under the paragraph where Jamie finds an unopened Hershey's bar in the museum, and Paige opened a package containing a Hershey bar!

One of the gifts for each book was a quote card. I chose a FUN quote that somehow related to each of the girl's one little word this year and created a 4x6 card with the quote. Paige's quote comes from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler herself.

Other gifts in Paige's box were $24.43 (in coins & crumpled up bills), a hand mirror, and photos I took of Grand Central Station when I visited New York a couple of years ago.

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place Adventure Box

For Laurie, I chose The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, which was published in 2004. The main character in this story, Margaret Rose Kane, is rescued from summer camp and spends the summer with her two beloved uncles at their home at 19 Schuyler Place. I thought Laurie would totally relate to Margaret Rose's insistence on being herself and how she takes charge of trying to save the towers the uncles have built in their backyard when she discovers the city wants to tear them down!

Laurie's Adventure Box also held six gifts. My favorite was the pendant I created out of wire and coke bottle caps to represent the pendants hanging from the uncle's towers (although I forgot to snap a photo of it).

The quote I sent Laurie came from the son of one of the uncle's old neighbors and describes one of the reasons he thinks the towers should not be torn down.

Other gifts in Laurie's box were $25.90 (for her next adventure), chocolate chip cookies, and photos of the Rose Window at Notre Dame that I took when Robbie and I visited Paris last fall.


We set up a Skype video call so I could watch the girls open their birthday boxes, and my sister snapped photos as well.

They read the directions I had taped to the front of the books!

Once the books were unwrapped, they both immediately began reading the back covers to see what they were about. This is my favorite photo of the unwrapping!

In fact, they both began to read the books that very day and have since finished them. I'm pretty sure they enjoyed the Adventure Boxes because they've already asked my sister if she thinks I might do that again sometime. (Honestly, it was so much FUN, I can't wait to do it again!)

Have you ever received or sent a book with corresponding gifts?


  1. That is such a cool idea, and I'm so glad the girls enjoyed receiving their mystery boxes. You're a fabulous auntie!

  2. Such fun & what a wonderful heartfelt way to stay connected to the little ladies. You are a Fresh approach to being a fantastic Auntie.

  3. What a great idea, and a perfect gift! I'm going to keep this concept in my mind for my grandchildren when they get older.

  4. I like both book choices, but I've never sent gifts to go with specific pages. I've sent things that go alongside, or 'suitable snacks' a couple of times, but am now inspired. Hmm, which kid has the next birthday? ;)


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