Help kids learn about the USA with this BOOK!

Originally posted from The Malibu Surfside News… BIG THANKS for this one! (Fireball Tim’s BIG BOOK OF WACKY STATES)

If California was a car, what would it look like? 

Don’t worry, there’s no right or wrong answer — but there is one place you can look for one Malibu man’s take on it.

And what about Florida? Perhaps it’s a “flamin’ go” hot wheel that’s catapulting over a crocodile en route to the Keys. 

Louisiana? Easy. It’s a vehicle made of instruments which is driven by a crawfish. 

Illinois? Well it’d be an aquabus driven by a white-tailed deer, of course.

Those are just a few snapshots of what Fireball Tim Lawrence authored and illustrated in his latest children’s book, “Fireball Tim’s BIG BOOK of Wacky States: The Best Book for Kids on the USA Ever!”

Lawrence serves as a TV show host, a Hollywood car designer, a seven-time author with his own publishing house (Vlogmaster Publishing) and a Malibu Surfside News Ride of the Week columnist (if you haven’t already, check out this week’s column on Page 22). 

Lawrence’s latest book, published in late October, travels the United States from edge to edge, offering clever illustrations, tidbits of wacky knowledge — Did you know that fortune cookies were invented in California? — and details such as state animals, state trees, state flags and state capitals.

“It’s really fun, and the response I’ve gotten from the parents is ‘Wow, I didn’t even know that,’” Lawrence said.

The target audience for the book is children ages 3-10, but Lawrence assures that it “doesn’t come across as a little kid’s book.” Lawrence adds that there’s tidbits in some illustrations that young children may not fully grasp, such as New York’s “roach city.” Teenagers might appreciate different aspects of the illustrations than 3-year-olds will, he said.

“I just thought from a kid’s perspective, ‘what would I enjoy’ and ‘what would I learn?’” Lawrence said.

This winter, Lawrence will be taking his book and his drawing talents to Webster Elementary and Our Lady of Malibu School for a “wacky car seminar” in which he will ask the students to tell him some of their favorite objects, and he will then make a car out of it. 

“I think that I relate to kids really well and I like the fact that they’re pure and they’re genuine,” Lawrence said. “They tell you exactly how it is.”

Lawrence’s wife, Kathie Lawrence, will also attend the school visits, sharing a creative passion of her own. Kathie, through KCL Productions, builds mascots for sports teams, movies and, recently, for Ellen DeGeneres’ “12 Days of Christmas.” Kathie also has a children’s book of her own, “Smokey and Bandit Find a Home,” which Lawrence contributed to.

Lawrence hopes the duo’s visits might inspire a child or two. After all, when he was growing up, he didn’t know how to be involved with cars outside of being a mechanic. Years later, he’s found his niche — and then some. 

“To spread my love of vehicles and really love of creativity, you have to find a way to be able to do that that you enjoy [and] that you love,” Lawrence said.

For Lawrence, that path has been filled with creativity and cars — real and imaginary — and it’s a gig that suits him well. 

Lawrence’s latest book is available for purchase on Amazon.com. 

  • Lauren Coughlin, Editor
** A portion of the proceeds from this book go to The National Mill Dog Rescue!

Today’s Wacky State is INDIANA!

Cool info on Indiana from WIKI… A U.S. state located in the midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816.

Before becoming a territory, varying cultures of indigenous peoples and historic Native Americans inhabited Indiana for thousands of years.

Since its founding as a territory, settlement patterns in Indiana have reflected regional cultural segmentation present in the Eastern United States; the state’s northernmost tier was settled primarily by people from New England and New York, Central Indiana by migrants from the Mid-Atlantic states and from adjacent Ohio, and Southern Indiana by settlers from the Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.

Indiana has a diverse economy with a gross state product of $298 billion in 2012. Indiana has several metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000 and a number of smaller industrial cities and towns.

Indiana is home to several major sports teams and athletic events including the NFL‘s Indianapolis Colts, the NBA‘s Indiana Pacers, the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, the Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400 motorsports races.

Today’s Wacky State is ILLINOIS!

About ILLINOIS from Wiki…

Illinois is a state in the midwestern region of the United States, achieving statehood in 1818. It is the 6th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is noted as a microcosm of the entire country.[7] The word “Illinois” comes from a French rendering of a native Algonquin word. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway. For decades, O’Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world’s busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms[7] and politics.

Although today the state’s largest population center is around Chicago in the northern part of the state, the state’s European population grew first in the west, with French Canadian colonists who settled along the Mississippi River in the 17th and 18th century, and gave the area the names, “Pais des Illinois” or Illinois Country a region that was known as part of New France. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving crossing the Appalachians barrier range in the 1810s via the gaps of the Allegheny to boat building centers in Pittsburgh, from Cumberland, Maryland via the Cumberland Narrows pass to outfit in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, from North Carolina and Virginia via the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky and Tennessee, all on the Ohio River.

With the War of 1812 Illinois growth slowed as both Native Americans and Canadian forces often raided the American Frontier. After the war’s end, the federal government re-established forts such as Fort Dearborn (in 1816—now the site is within Chicago) and army patrols west of the Mississippi diminished the threat from Amerindian raids, so settlers were able to move into all of Illinois from the eastern and southern emigrant trails.

Mineral finds and timber stands also had spurred immigration—by the 1810s, the Eastern U.S. had exhausted most timber stands close to the established cities creating a hard felt first energy crisis by the late 1790s, and after 1818 the industrial revolution was being fueled by new canals such as the Lehigh Canal feeding the furnaces of the rapidly industrializing east coast. In the same year of 1818, Illinois achieved statehood and its growth, as yet untroubled by the speed of as yet unrefined railway technology, would be fueled by the new religion of industrialized forward thinking.

After construction of the Erie Canal with increasing traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan.[8] John Deere‘s invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois’ rich prairie into some of the world’s most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting new immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Railroads arose and matured in the 1840s, and soon carried immigrants to new homes in Illinois, as well as being a resource to ship their commodity crops out to markets. Railroads freed most of the land of Illinois and other mid-western states from the tyranny of water transport; no longer was a location near a river or canal a need to ship bulk goods.

By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted a new group of immigrants, from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in Chicago, who created the city’s famous jazz and blues cultures.[9][10]

Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was the only U.S. president born and raised in Illinois. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954.[11][12] The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the state capital of Springfield, and the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be completed in Chicago by 2020.

Today’s Wacky State is IDAHO!

All about IDAHO from Wiki…

Idaho is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. It borders the state of Montana to the east and northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west.

To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canadian border with the province of British Columbia. With a population of around 1.7 million people and an area of 83,569 square miles (216,440 km2), Idaho is the 14th largest and 39th most populous of the 50 states. The state’s capital and largest city is Boise.

Idaho prior to European settlement was inhabited solely by Native American peoples, some of which still live in the area. In the early 19th century, Idaho was considered part of the Oregon Country, an area disputed between the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

It officially became U.S. territory with the signing of the Oregon Treaty of 1846, but a separate Idaho Territory was not organized until 1863, instead being included for periods in Oregon Territory and Washington Territory. Idaho was eventually admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, becoming the 43rd state.

Forming part of the Pacific Northwest (and the associated Cascadia bioregion), Idaho is divided into several distinct geographic and climatic regions. In the state’s north, the relatively isolated Idaho Panhandle is closely linked with Eastern Washington, with which it shares the Pacific Time Zone – the rest of the state uses the Mountain Time Zone.

The state’s south includes the Snake River Plain (which contains most of the population and agricultural land), while the south-east incorporates part of the Great Basin. Idaho is quite mountainous, and contains several stretches of the Rocky Mountains. Additionally, around 38 percent of Idaho’s land is held by the United States Forest Service, the most of any state.

Industries significant for the state economy include manufacturing, agriculture, mining, forestry, and tourism. A number of science and technology firms are either headquartered in Idaho or have factories there, and the state also contains the Idaho National Laboratory, which is the largest Department of Energy facility in the country.

Idaho’s agricultural sector supplies a number of different products, but the state is best known for its potato crop, which comprises around one-third of the nationwide yield. The official state nickname is the “Gem State”, which references Idaho’s reputation for gemstones and, more broadly, its many wilderness areas.

Today’s Wacky State is HAWAII!

About HAWAII from Wiki…

Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state to have joined the United States of America, having received statehood on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas.

The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles. At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight main islands are—in order from northwest to southeast: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest island in the group; it is often called the “Big Island” or “Hawaiʻi Island” to avoid confusion with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists. Because of its central location in the Pacific and 19th-century labor migration, Hawaii’s culture is strongly influenced by North American and Asian cultures, in addition to its indigenous Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.

Hawaii is the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the fifty U.S. states. It is the only state with an Asian plurality. The state’s coastline is about 750 miles long, the fourth longest in the U.S. after the coastlines of Alaska, Florida, and California.

Today’s Wacky State is FLORIDA!

Get my new BIG BOOK of WACKY STATES on Amazon! Teaching KIDS & GRANDKIDS all about the USA!

About Florida…

Florida (Spanish for “land of flowers”) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous,[9] and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida’s most populous urban area. The city of Tallahassee is the state capital.

A peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, it has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south.[10] The American alligator, American crocodile, Florida panther, and manatee can be found in the Everglades National Park.

Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida ([la floˈɾiða] “land of flowers”) upon landing there in the Easter season, Pascua Florida[11] – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.

Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues. The state’s economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, the Kennedy Space Center, and as a popular destination for retirees.

Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; Native American, European American, Hispanic and Latino, and African American heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.