The Apple Box Library

Blog The Apple Box Library

Guest Blogger Terry Lindberg, Children’s Reading Place Reader In Residence

Aww… summer, the time of year many of us ditch work and school to head out on a family vacation! An opportunity to leave the hectic pace of life behind and reconnect as a family. I still remember sprawling out with my siblings behind the backseat of our wood-panelled station wagon. No seat belts required (yikes!) as we lay on flannel sleeping bags reading, gazing out at the passing scenery and napping.

Growing up in the remote town of Prince George, and later Edmonton, it was not uncommon for us to pack up our vehicle and drive in one push to the West Coast to visit relatives. My father, an engineer, loved to drive long distances, stopping only occasionally to read historic highway signs or gas up.

To pass the time in the vehicle we played games like “I spy with my little eye something that is red “…eventually guessed correctly to be a barn. After exhausting the colour spectrum, we would then pick categories (VW Beetles, campervans, buses, etc.) and tally up how many of each we saw on a given stretch of road. Games like these had a short life, however, and tricky driving conditions (heavy traffic, wet roads, Nightfall, etc.) required us to remain silent while my father concentrated on his driving.

In the sacred silence, the Apple Box Library worked its magic! Before every long, road-trip, my siblings and I were sent to the library and instructed to fill an apple box with books of our choosing. We were encouraged to pick a wide range of books to fill up our mobile library; educational “how to” books, scientific fact books on planets, earthquakes, etc., chapter books such as Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter (a colorful, eccentric woman and her cow go on a radioactive adventure), and other works of fiction. Fortunately, none of us suffered from car sickness and disappearing into the world of books helped us to escape the cramped, confines of the vehicle and enter the limitless galaxy of the imagination.

Most people associate apple boxes with apples; round, pinkish-red or Granny Smith-green fruit, plucked from their box and bitten into…crisp, tart sweetness dribbling down one’s chin!

For me, however, an apple box is a mobile library filled with delicious books…each one a wormless mystery waiting to be tasted and savoured.


Have you ever noticed that paper books don’t need recharging and they have no annoying dings or text messages to respond to?! So, the next time you are faced with a lengthy road trip as a family, turn off those electronic devices, fill an apple box with books and create your own mobile library. You can also take your apple box library other places: to the beach, in the tent, on to the porch…

As for the driver, once the destination is reached they too can tie into a humdinger of a book. One way of gauging a restful vacation is the ability to successfully finish a book or two. A two-book vacation is indicative of a restful holiday!

One place worth getting stuck is between the pages of a book!

Happy summer reading!