By Donnie Cranfill, author of “The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa” and founder of CampNanaPapa.com
Do you remember the first time you caught fireflies? As a child, as soon as the weather warmed up and summer grew near, those first firefly sightings were something I looked forward too. I remember trying to catch as many as I could of those delicate bugs and placing them in a mason jar with small holes poked through the lid. I’d sit and hold that jar mesmerized by the beauty of those yellow blinking lights before releasing them back into freedom.
Throughout my childhood, I never outgrew chasing fireflies. Even as a teenager my friends and I would go to Milliken Research Park, a 660 acre scenic campus in Spartanburg, SC, to watch fireflies. It’s a great open space, full of natural beauty – perfect for hanging out with your friends and sitting around talking while fireflies light up the space around you. Decades later, I still love fireflies. That first yellow blink of light each season brings back all those fond memories as a child.
I’m not the only one who has great memories catching fireflies. When I was developing the characters for “The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa” story, I wanted siblings Nick and Sarah to have a special friend that accompanies them on all their special weekend adventures with their grandparents. It didn’t take me long to visualize Flash the Firefly. He’s whimsical, helpful, fun and best of all kids connect with him. When I’ve had the pleasure of doing book readings and signings, Flash is always the most popular guy in the room. Who doesn’t love an adorable firefly?
I love seeing faces light up – kids and parents alike – when Flash is introduced. I know they too are recalling their memories chasing fireflies. It’s a timeless tradition!
Fireflies will be here soon … don’t miss the chance to enjoy them with your kids and grandkids.
Donnie Cranfill is an author and founder of Camp Nana Papa™, an online retail store and social media hub for doting grandparents. His first book, “The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa” is the first in a series of children’s picture books celebrating the special bond between grandchildren and their grandparents. It tells the story of two children, Nick and Sarah, and their friend Flash the Firefly™ enjoying a fun-filled weekend at their grandparents’ home – lovingly called Camp Nana Papa. The hardback book also includes six keepsake pages to personalize and preserve special memories for each grandchild. The book is available at CampNanaPapa.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and Amazon.com. The second book in the series is expected later this year.