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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

World Turtle Day!

I have always loved turtles! In fact, I even trained to be a turtle rehabilitator. Have you wondered about the difference between turtles and tortoises? Well, both are reptiles that belong to the order Tesdunes, but they fall into different classification families. A major difference, and easy way to tell them apart, is that turtles live in or near the water and tortoises live on land.

I have swam with sea turtles and walked among giant tortoises, but you don't have to go far to enjoy these special creatures. I bet that you can find some turtles out sunning themselves on a rock in your local pond. Most common of these are painted turtles. They are easy to spot since they live across North America.

If you are itching to know more about turtles, check out these books.  And for a look at sea turtles and giant tortoises read my latest BACK FROM THE BRINK!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Katherine Applegate and Author Events

Do you attend author events at your local bookstore? It is such a treat when a local bookstore hosts an author that you greatly admire. It's also a treat when you attend a book event and discover something new. These events not only feed your love of reading, but also support authors and bookstores --- both we need!

Authors are very appreciative of smiling faces in the audience!

I drove to Saratoga Springs, New York to a terrific event hosted by a fave indie bookstore -- Northshire Bookstore. The guest was the wonderful, award-winning Katherine Applegate.

Have you read THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN? Or perhaps CRENSHAW? Or WISHTREE? There are too many terrific books of hers to name, but most likely you have enjoyed one of her titles. Lucky for all of us, another book just released -- ENDLING: The Last. This one sounds amazing and has to do with endangered species in an imaginary world. I can't wait to read my copy!

Author, Steve Sheinkin interviewed Katherine about writing, inspiration, developing worlds, and this new title.  What a treat for the readers, librarians, teachers, and authors in the audience!

That's me on the right with Katherine's latest - ENDLING! 

You can hear Katherine talk about her books at these upcoming events. I hope one is near you! 


Friday, May 4, 2018

Happy Birthday, Eugenie Clark!

It's the birthday of shark scientist Eugenie Clark.  She would have turned 96 today and according to biographer, Heather Lang, she probably would have still been scuba diving.

Eugenie was a force of nature and Lang spent time with her when writing her picture book biography, SWIMMING WITH SHARKS.  Lang even tried scuba diving during her research.

Read about this groundbreaking scientist in Lang's biography and in Jess Keating's, SHARK LADY.  Compare and contrast these terrific biographies.

Here are two more books for budding oceanographers! 


Friday, April 27, 2018

One Day Until BACK FROM THE BRINK Launch

One more day. As I type I hear the Les Miserable music in my head. Tomorrow's celebration is the culmination of years of research and writing, but actually a beginning, because a launch is just that -- the book is beginning its journey into classrooms, libraries, and bookshelves -- into the hands of my readers.

I spoke about the the creation of BACK FROM THE BRINK earlier this month and shared lots of the photos I took during the research phase, but tomorrow I'm going to do something a little different at Oblong Books & Music. I'm going to show behind-the-scenes photos. These aren't the photos you are likely to see in a blog or school visit, although one or two might pop up. These are the photos of the back story. The photos taken during the research, for me only, that show another side of publication, often gritty, fun, and thoughtful.

Oh, like all great book launches there will be yummy treats and also a fun activity. I hope you'll join me on this special #IndieBookstoreDay to celebrate how we can all make a difference for endangered species!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Happy Birthday, John James Audubon

Anyone who has ever picked up a bird guide certainly knows who John James Audubon is….don't they? Well, they know he stuffed a lot of birds and made beautiful drawings of them, but there is so much more to this great naturalist.  

He loved birds all his life and said,"When I had hardly yet learned to walk, and to articulate those first words always so endearing to parents, the productions of Nature that lay spread all around, were constantly pointed out to me. They soon became my playmates; and before my ideas were sufficiently formed to enable me to estimate the difference between the azure tints of the sky, and the emerald hue of the bright foliage, I felt that an intimacy with them, not consisting of friendship merely, but bordering on frenzy, must accompany my steps through life." 

Jacqueline Davies captures that boy in her book, The Boy Who Drew Birds, beautifully illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  It's the perfect read to pull out on Audubon's birthday and any other day you'd like to inspire a young person's creativity and love of the outdoors!  

Here is another Audubon biography. This one, by Nancy Plain, is for older readers. The text is beautiful and captures both Audubon's life and his wildlife art. 

Now that you are inspired by the life and art of John James Audubon, it's time to get outside and observe what he loved best -- birds!

More "birdy" titles to share with young readers:

Lastly, take a look at all of Audubon's artwork to get a real appreciation for his contribution to the study of wildlife in early America. As I researched BACK FROM THE BRINK, I went back to his writings and paintings for information and inspiration.

Happy birthday, John James Audubon --- and thank you!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Green Earth Book Award

As a former Green Earth Award recipient, I know what an honor it is to be included on this list. Congratulations to all the book creators on the 2018 list! It is so very important to emphasize environmental literacy. Thanks to The Nature Generation for their efforts each year to promote these terrific books! 

The Nature Generation Announces National Green Earth Book Award Winners
Modern day storytellers shed light on complicated environmental issues 
 April 20, 2018– Arlington, Va. — The Nature Generation, an environmental nonprofit, has announced the winners of its United States’ 2018 Green Earth Book Award.
The national award recognizes books that best convey the environmental stewardship message and inspire youth to grow a deeper appreciation, respect, and responsibility for their natural environment.  Winning authors and illustrators in these categories will receive the $1500 award:  Picture Book, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Nonfiction and Young Adult Nonfiction.
“These winning and honor books are tools that offer young and old alike a way to bridge the environmental literacy gap,” said Amy Marasco, founder and president of The Nature Generation.  “I encourage schools, librarians, youth groups and families to make these books available and accessible to our youth.”
Picture Book
 Creekfinding: A True Story, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Claudia McGehee
(University of Minnesota Press) Ages 4-9.
A true story about a man who brought a creek and a whole world of nature back to life after it was long buried under fields of corn. This heartening tale of an ecosystem restored in the Driftless Area of Iowa unfolds in a way that will charm and inform young readers.

Honor Winner:
Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock StorySuzanne Slade, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
(Sleeping Bear Press) Ages 6-9.  
  Children’s Nonfiction
 Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem, Patricia Newman
Why did one inlet grow healthy seagrass while other ones suffered? Sea otters!  With both irresistible otter photos and scientific diagrams, this book explains ecosystems and how its inhabitants affect it at every level.  Explains the often-damaging effect humans have and ways in which young people can help the environment on a daily basis.  (Millbrook Press) Ages 9-14.
Honor Winners:
The Hidden Life of a Toad, Doug Wechsler  (Charlesbridge) Ages 4-8.
This Book Stinks! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash, Sarah Wassner Flynn (National Geographic Kids) Ages 8-12.
Children’s Fiction
Forest World, Margarita Engle
Award-winning author’s lively novel in verse tells the story of a Cuban-American boy who visits his family’s village in Cuba for the first time. Weaved throughout is the message of importance of biodiversity, and how Cubans are trying to save their own flora and fauna from tourists, poachers, and climate change.  (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) Ages 10-99.
Honor Winner:
The Last Panther, Todd Mitchell
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers) Ages 8-12.
Young Adult Nonfiction
Trashing the Planet: Examining Our Global Garbage Glut, Stuart A. Kallen
Globally, humans create around 2.6 trillion pounds of waste every year. What can we do to keep garbage from swallowing up Earth? Reducing, reusing, recycling, and upcycling are some answers. Learn more about the efforts of government, business, research, and youth as they work to solve our planet’s garbage crisis. (Twenty-First Century Books) Ages 10-16.
 Honor Winner:
Geoengineering Earth’s Climate: Resetting the Thermostat, Jennifer Swanson (Twenty-First Century Books) Ages 13-18.