A Family Reunion in Ohio

OnaSlideHi everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been away for a few weeks, but I’ve been traveling! I explored Durham, drove to Ohio and back, relaxed on an island paradise, and flew all the way to Michigan! I’ve exhausted, but it’s been so much fun spending time with my friends and meeting their families. Let’s start with my trip to Ohio with the Phelps family. Samuel and I had such a great time together, and I can’t wait for our next adventure together!

KarateWhen I first came home with Samuel, the first thing we did was visit him at his karate class. He got to watch the kids practice their kicks and punches. They are so very strong!

After karate class, we hopped in the car and drove to Ohio with the rest of the family. We drove for 12 hours! And I thought the drive to Florida was long – boy, was I wrong! VALuckily, I can sleep in any place, as I learned with my friend, Cole, so I wasn’t bothered. I slept the entire way, but Samuel thought it was rather long. We stopped on the way to get a photo in Virginia. Doesn’t Samuel look happy?


atthepoolThe first thing we did when they arrived at the hotel in Ohio was go swimming at the pool. It was very cold! I didn’t realize how the weather in Ohio is cooler than the weather in North Carolina. PhelpsFamilyReunionI was relieved when we found the hot tub nearby. We stayed nice and toasty warm. The next day, I had the chance to meet all of Samuel’s family, including his cousins. It was a lot of fun. They are a lovely family, warm and welcoming. Thank you to my new friends!

MayberryJailOn the way back to North Carolina, we stopped by the Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy, NC. Would you believe that Samuel and I were arrested for eating ice cream on the street? Just kidding! We just pretended to be in jail. We also got to drive a motorbike and a jet.

AndyGriffithMuseumOverall, it was a fantastic trip, and I’m grateful for the chance to hang out with Samuel.

Look for more posts soon! I can’t wait to tell you about my adventures in my hometown, Durham!

Tommy’s Penpals: Great Britain

london12Hello everyone! I am very excited to introduce my friend, Lane Devereaux. He lives in Ruthin Castle, Wales. Wales is a country that is a part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. Wales is right next to England, which is where these photographs are from. Well, I have been writing to Lane for awhile, and I thought it might be fun to share one of his latest letters. Enjoy! unitedkingdom

Dear Tommy,

Hello from the United Kingdom! In your last letter, you told me how rainy it has been in Durham, North Carolina, and I wanted to share that it is always rainy here. Unlike your typical sunny and hot days, we usually have very cool and rainy days. For example, today was only 65 degrees Fahrenheit and very rainy. But I love it!

london1This weekend I traveled to London to visit my friend, Paddington Bear. We had lovely brunch of my favorite food:”toad in a hole”. Since I’m guessing you’ve never heard of that, I’ll share a photo:


Doesn’t it look just delicious? We cooked our meal together, since that is one of our favorite things to do. We also love to ride our bicycles, so we rode around some beautiful castles nearby. Lots of people ride their bicycles in London to help get from one place to another even faster than walking. We also castletake the Tube, which is the subway system. It’s best not to have a car in London when you’re visiting, since the public transportation is just so easy!

Paddington and I enjoyed shopping and walking around town. Next time, I think we’ll go cave hunting. Doesn’t that sound like a fun adventure?

I look forward to seeing what you’re up to and where you have been traveling.

Lots of love,









Tommy’s Penpals: St. Louis

StLouis1 This year, the city of St. Louis turned 250 years old. Wow, that is OLD! Well, my friend visited St. Louis this summer, and he participated in all the cool activities they are doing right now to celebrate the birthday.  He took a photo of himself saying hi! Wasn’t that so thoughtful?

He told me that Charles Lindbergh is from St. Louis. Mr. Lindbergh was the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean all by himself. He made the nonstop flight on May 20-21, 1927.

I also learned that Scott Joplin is from St. Louis. Do you know the song that plays a lot on ice cream trucks? Well, it’s called “The Entertainer,” and Mr. Joplin wrote it in 1902!

Finally, the city of St. Louis is right on the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is 2,340 miles long! Many Native Americans lived right here in St. Louis on the Mississippi, where they could hunt lots of animals, gather the fruits of the trees, and catch fish from the river.

I really hope that I can visit St. Louis some day. In the meantime, I look forward to traveling with my friends and receiving photos and postcards from my penpals.

Tommy’s Penpals: Ghana

Hi guys! As I’m traveling around the world, I’m meeting so many new and interesting people. It’s been such a wonderful chance to see the way things happen in other people’s lives and homes. GhanaI’ve invited my new friends to be my penpals, so you’ll start seeing friends from all over the world posting to let us know the adventures they have, too! I’m really excited to introduce you to some of my friends!

Here’s my friend Bobo. He lives in Accra, Ghana, which is in Africa. In this photograph, he is with his best friend, Queen Nana Noyana Opata. That’s right, she is royalty! Check out his letter to us, but stay tuned to learn more from our friends around the world.

Dear Tommy,

Hello from Africa! I’m very glad to meet you and all of your friends in Durham, North Carolina. I am looking forward to our letters!

Let me start by telling you about some of my favorite things. First of all, I love food! map-ghana-africa-impMy favorite foods are French fries, fried plantains, and rice, goat stew. But my favorite thing to eat? That is definitely Waakya, which is spaghetti, beans, and fried fish wrapped in a leaf. Yum!

When I’m not busy eating, I love to spend time with my best friend, Queen Nana Noyana Opata. Together, we often enjoy spending time in the market,where we buy all of our delicious food. My other favorite thing, besides food, is getting hugs from all the kids in our village. I hope you get to meet them all some day.

I love seeing the adventures you’re having with your friends, so please keep posting them!






Florida with Cole

coletommyHi everyone! A couple weeks ago, I traveled with my good friend, Cole, all the way to Florida. So now I’ve been as far north as Wisconsin and as far south as Florida. When can I go out West??

I asked Cole to write a short story about our journey, so here it is!

Tommy started a long adventure with me on Tuesday, July 15. We started out with a visit to Master’s Garden Preschool in Mrs. Dawn’s 4 years classroom. That’s where we learned about walls, and we had so much fun playing a lot.

After school, we started the VERY long drive to Florida. It rained the whole time, but luckily Tommy and I slept through the storm.  While we were in Florida, we went to the beach. Tommy told me about all beaches he’s seen this summer, but this was the only time he got to ride on a ferry! We also saw a waterspout, which was really cool.

After all that time at the beach, we decided to hang out in the nice clean pool. Tommy hadn’t been to a pool before; he wanted to know where the sand was! Silly Tommy. We also had a lot of fun at my grandma’s house, where we watched Planes and Frozen.

Tommy was the coolest travel friend, and I can’t wait to take him with me on another adventure!

Road Trip with the Bennett Family

Field Museum, ChicagoEarlier this summer, I traveled with the Bennett family to Wisconsin. I had never gone on a road trip before, and it was such a cool adventure! I asked them to write about our journey, so this entry is actually by my new friends. Thank you, Bennett family!


On our way to visit family in Wisconsin we stopped at Pilot Mountain, NC and had lunch. The view was awesome; we could see for miles.Sue at Field Museum We went through five other states to reach Wisconsin. At dusk we drove along the Ohio River to Cincinnati. We couldn’t camp as planned because there were many thunderstorms and a tornado watch. Driving through Indiana, we saw windmill farms with hundreds of windmills all over the corn fields. We camped and rode bikes along the Kankakee River just south of Chicago. The next day we went to the Field Museum in Chicago. They had a giant dinosaur skeleton named Sue; it’s one of the most complete dinosaurs in the world.

From the Field Museum we took a bus to “The Bean” in Millennium Park and walked back toward the museum through Grant Park and along the shore of Lake Michigan. Standing under the Bean, we could see multiple reflections of ourselves. Other views made us look really fat.

Physics Museum UW MadisonIn Sheboygen we biked around town, bought local honey, and saw the lighthouse on the lake. It was cold because the wind was blowing off of Lake Michigan, and the lake was only 38 degrees. (This was June!) We went to Madison to see where Dad studied physics in graduate school. We ate brats and dogs by a lake and then visited the Physics Museum. As you can see, one of our favorite pictures of Tommy is his reflection in a concave mirror, distorting his image.

We toured Hennings Cheese Factory and tasted cheese curds for the first time.Making String Cheese

On our way home we stayed at Brown County State Park Lodge with a waterpark. We need to move around after sitting in the car so much!

We had a great trip and loved having Tommy with us!

Wilmington, NC with the Strickland Family

wilmington3 I just got home from the beach with Hayley and her family, and it was such a great trip! We drove out to Wilmington, North Carolina, where we explored the beaches and ate great food.

My favorite beach was Kure Beach, where we walked along the boardwalk on Ocean Front Park. When we went swimming, the waves were so big! I was nervous about swimming alone in the ocean since those waves were so gigantic, but Hayley hung on to me to keep me safe.


We also went fishing. We caught lots of fish, including a croaker and an oyster cracker. Wow, are those oyster crackers ugly! Who knew? They are also called oyster toadfish, and they eat all kinds of stuff, like squid, clams, and shrimp.

wilmington4One of my favorite stops on our vacation was to Fort Fisher. Fort Fisher is a Civil War National Historic Landmark that kept North Carolina’s port of Wilmington open to blockade-runners supplying important goods to the Confederate armies.

wilmington2Overall, it was a fantastic adventure, and I’m grateful to Hayley for bringing me along!



Welcome Back to School!

backtoschoolYesterday, I went to two open houses with Ms. Stephanie: Easley Elementary and Holt Elementary. Both of these schools are year-round, so school starts next week for the kids who go there! I think going to school all year long is a great idea because then you don’t forget all the smart things you learned throughout the year! Good thinking, guys!

easley1Well, we started the day at Easley, and we sat at a table right outside the media center. We also happened to be next to the After School Program table, which was fantastic! We met Mr. Smith, who runs the program. Ms. Stephanie and I are so excited to work with Mr. Smith and the kids to put together some exciting new programs for the school year. Keep a look out for what’s coming soon!

Next, we went over to Holt, where we had a huge table across from the school nurse. Well, that table over there was super cool because you got to make pretend sandwiches and talk about food. How fun! We got to spend some time in the preschool class with Ms. Jones. Those preschoolers are so much fun, and we can’t wait for our first visit in September for storytime!

It was so much fun to meet all the families who attend Easley and Holt. Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic to talk to us. I can’t wait to see you all in the fall for our awesome programs. I’m even more excited to see all the new places I get to go. So don’t forget about me as you consider future travels – even your first class field trip!

Blowing Rock, NC with the Grant Family

One weekend in June, I went to Blowing Rock, North Carolina with the Grant family. Rollie and Ryan took me to see a bunch of different sights. We went to Mystery Hill where the laws of gravity don’t apply: There’s a special room where everything seems to be backwards! Water runs up hill instead of down. I got to ride on a special swing that was hard to push one way but easy to push the other. I still don’t know how that works. One of the best parts of Mystery Hill is the bubble room. Ryan tried to fit inside of a giant bubble. Way cool!

After Mystery Hill, we went to Blowing Rock Memorial Park. I attempted the climbing wall, and I wasn’t scared one bit. The park also has a jungle gym, swings, and two basketball courts. It was so much fun!

Rollie and Ryan wanted me to see the sights on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we took a drive. We stopped at the Wilson Creek Valley overlook, and we were up so high! I loved being able to see all of the mountains and valleys from the sky.

A trip to Blowing Rock is never complete without a visit to the library, where I got to play with some puzzles and read a few books.

I had a great weekend with the Grants, and I can’t wait to go on my next adventure.


Hi! My name is Tommy, and I live at Durham County Library’s North Regional Library in Durham, North Carolina. My favorite thing to do is to travel the world with my friends and take tons of silly photos. I’ve already had the chance to travel to quite a few places this summer, but I’m super excited to go someplace with you!

Tommy in a concave mirror

I like to take silly pictures like this one of me reflected in a concave mirror.

Some of the places I’ve been so far include Myrtle Beach, SC for a softball tournament (we won!) and Wisconsin, where we explored the Ice Age Trail. Along the way, we explore a lot of other places, too. I’ve also been to Washington, D.C. and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I can’t wait to go to the Bahamas with Ms. Tanika! I’ll admit, I really hope I don’t miss the flight, though. Last month, I slept in too late and totally missed the flight to Hawaii with Ms. Stephanie. We were supposed to visit my cousin, Timmy! Luckily, Ms. Stephanie took lots of photographs for me.

I’m really looking forward to going on a trip with you soon, so please stop by the Children’s Desk to see when I’m free. See you soon!