Book inspires staycations in NJ

September 25, 2008 2:59:54 PM PDT
Nicky Fifth's Garden State Adventure is about a New Jersey grade-schooler's travels in the state, inspired by the author's childhood. "I love New Jersey, so I go around and I get to see all these places and show my children," author Lisa Funari Willever said.

Her book helped shape the summer vacations of some 5th graders at the Birchwood School.

"I read the book and then I really saw it in person," student Jason Parisi said.

The Parisis went to the Jersey Shore and the highest point in the state.

It led the Cefaloni family to travel down to Wildwoods.

"When I read about it, I got really excited because it sounded really cool so I went to my mom and asked her if we could go, and once we got there it was so cool because it was just like the description in the book," Kristen Cefaloni said.

It was also a reason for families to take staycations.

"Especially with the...of course the high cost of gas and and stuff but...we did get to see a lot of nice things," Ginny Cefaloni said.

"It's very timely right now because it's a way for families to get out and have a lot of fun together and spend quality time without spending a lot of money, and a lot of things in the book are free," author Lisa Funari-Willever said.

The bulletin board at the Birchwood School includes what some of the children have written about what they read this summer, and teachers told us that the entire exercise has given them a head start on classwork that began this month.

"Every child in that class has read the same book, so we walk into school in September and we're teaching when our feet hit the ground," teacher Terry Suleski said.

So the assignment covered reading, social studies and how to save money.

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