Thursday, December 27, 2012

Darwin Sets Sail

According to the Writer's Almanac, today is the day in 1831 that Charles Darwin set sail from England aboard the HMS Beagle for his famed trip to the Galapagos Islands.  That trip and his forthcoming book, On The Origin Of Species, became one of the great milestones in scientific thought.

There are two books for kids on Darwin that I highly recommend.  The first is Peter Sis' book, The Tree of Life.  Published in 2003, it follows Sis' other beautifully illustrated and well researched picture book biographies.  You can see an animated excerpt of the book here.

  The other is Deborah Heiligman's Charles and Emma.  Unlike other biographies on Charles Darwin, this book switches the focus to Charles' relationship with his wife, Emma.  Their marriage greatly influenced Darwin's scientific work.  Emma was a deeply religious woman and Charles was exploring theories that would greatly change social and scientific thought forever.  The book is well-researched and is a great read for both adults and kids.

There are great resources to accompany these titles for classroom use.  Discussion questions, teachers guides and book group materials can be found online.  Both afford students and teachers great critical thinking opportunities and work well with core curriculum standards.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Year in Review

As 2012 draws to a close I can't help but look back at my reading journal and take note of the books on my list.  I began the year with the challenge of reading one nonfiction picture book per week.  The year started out strong, but when I started researching and writing my own nonfiction book with an October deadline, that challenge took a back seat.  Even so, I did read more nonfiction picture books this year than last and I will bump up the pace up for 2013.

My reading list for 2012 is a mixture of picture books, both nonfiction and fiction, middle grades and novels for teens and adults.  Setting aside the books I read for research, here are some of my natural history picture book  highlights:

Thunder Birds by Jim Aronosky
Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart
The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter
Coral Reefs by Jason Chin
Butterfly Eyes… by Joyce Sidman
A Leaf Can Be by Laurie Purdie Salas
UnBEElievables by Douglas Florian
More by IC Springman

Wishing everyone a naturally wonderful New Year!  May it bring you peace, inspiration and an abundance of joy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NF Tip Of The Day

Nonfiction Tip Of The Day

It was my turn last year to give my nonfiction tip of the day.  If you asked me today for my tip, I'd say RESEARCH!    Thorough research leads to great nonfiction.   (And it's addictive to nonfiction writers!  We love it!)

Well, short post today…I'm off to a Skype visit with an elementary school in St. Louis, MO!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ICE! by Laurence Pringle

Thanks, Laurence Pringle, for bringing us a book about the ice business.  I took a peek at this book during the SCBWI Falling Leaves Master Class Retreat on nonfiction and can't wait to get my hands on my own copy.  Having grown up in Rockland County, I was well aware of our historic ice business.  Every year Rockland Lake hosts a fantastic festival, complete with ice sculptures and historical fanfare. Unfortunately, the festival is on hiatus for 2013, but they promise it will return in 2014.  In the meantime, we can enjoy ICE! by Laurence Pringle!  

Here are a few photos I took the last time I enjoyed the festival.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's that time of year!

I'm so excited by the books that made this year's NY Public Library nonfiction list.  They represent a wide range of topics as well as a wide range of creativity.

There are stories of artists and scientists, historical events and the people they impacted, microbes and zombie makers…each book inspired by the author's own curiosity.  Marc Aronson wrote about a conversation he had about American nonfiction in a recent NY Times book review.  He extolled its virtues including the fact that our nonfiction is unique in that it is written out of our own  passions and is often a  "labor of love".   How true!

At our recent SCBWI Falling Leaves Retreat focusing on nonfiction I was overjoyed to chat during meals about the stories within us -- our passions, curiosities, and research.  What fun it is to gather with a group of nonfiction authors!  Their enthusiasm for their subjects is unparalleled.  My NF writer buddies are all research junkies who love the chase as much as the writing.  And they continue to challenge us with their ideas.  They know how to appeal to the kid inside us all --the kid who peeked under rocks or searched for treasure or made concoctions in their bathrooms before their parents were up each morning.

This holiday season is a great time to pick up one of these books for the kid on your list or yourself and feed your own curiosity.

NY Public Library's 2012 List of Nonfiction Titles

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano. Illustrated by Michael Carroll. CharlesbridgeDive in to this lively and engaging exploration of one of our universe's most mysterious and misunderstood marvels.
Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close. Abrams Books for Young ReadersThis innovative, large-scale portrait artist answers kids' questions about his life, his art, and other challenges he's faced.
Citizen Scientists: Be Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns. Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Henry Holt and CompanyKids are scientists too! A year's worth of experiments and activities, including Fall Butterflying, Winter Birding, Spring Frogging, and Summer Ladybugging.
Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders by Jim Arnosky.Sterling Children's BooksThink you know bugs? Think again! Get all the facts about everything from mayfly nymphs to praying mantises in this lyrically written and gorgeously illustrated book.
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel. Illustrated by Amanda Hall. Eerdmans Books for Young ReadersA toll collector achieves his dream of being an artist by painting a world he imagines. With illustrations that echo the self-taught master's style.
The Great Molasses Flood: Boston, 1919 by Deborah Kops. CharlesbridgeWhat do you get when 13,000 tons of molasses meet the streets of Boston? A sticky situation.
The Human Body Factory by Dan Green. Illustrated by Edmond Davis. KingfisherMaking a body work is a team effort, so get an inside peek into the mechanics of you!
Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Clarion BooksA frightening look into the history of a disease that still infects people today.
It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low Books Inc.Why did 85-year-old Billy Traylor suddenly pick up a pencil one day and start to draw? As the book says, it just happened.
Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Atheneum Books for Young ReadersYoung Josephine Baker "grew up singing nothin' but the blues" and went onstage to become the toast of Paris and the world. A jazzy "fairy tale" with vibrant, high-steppin', high energy art.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola.Farrar Straus GirouxFollow a modern day explorer who has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater. Includes engaging illustrations.
The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch. Houghton Mifflin Books for ChildrenTake a trip with the ultimate explorers to the red planet. A place where no human foot has ever stepped.
Monkey Colors by Darrin Lunde. Illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne. CharlesbridgeDid you know that the mandrill with the most colorful face is the leader of the pack? Learn this and other fun facts in this book for young children.
Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey by Gary Golio. Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. Clarion BooksThe highs and lows of a legendary jazz artist explored through dynamic, vivid art.
Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean. Photographs by K. C. Bailey and Steve Kazmierski. Scholastic PressSometimes a dog and a person find each other at just the right moment. Ten troubled shelter dogs find a loving home and a new life in the circus.
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery. Houghton Mifflin Books for ChildrenThis biography tells the story of an extraordinary scientist who used her autistic experiences to design humane animal-processing facilities.
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson. Scholastic PressYou only think you know the full story, but just wait until you read this gripping account in the words of the survivors of history's most infamous shipwreck.
Those Rebels, John & Tom by Barbara Kerley. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.Scholastic PressHere are twin portraits of founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – one short, stout and blustery and the other tall, thin and quiet. How this odd couple played a pivotal role in shaping the history of the United States of America.
We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Y. Levinson.Peachtree PublishersWould you go to jail to fight for your rights? These kids did!
Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead by Rebecca L. Johnson. Millbrook PressFor anyone who thinks that zombies aren't real, here is a "no-brainer" introduction to some worms, germs, molds and other parasites that control the minds of their hosts!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Buzz on Bee Books

Beelieve me, these books pair together like mac and cheese.  Douglas Florian's UnBEElievables is a terrific introduction into the world of the honeybee.  Even kids with a fear of stingers will find that his beeautiful honeybee illustrations are friendly and fun enough to dispel all their fears. Florian's blend of poetry and nonfiction text is reminiscent of Joyce Sidman's award winning titles and equally effective.  

When kids are ready to step up their reading, Loree Griffen Burns' The Hive Detectives, is the book they should pick up.  Burns explores the mystery and science of the missing honeybees that has impacted our environment. Like other titles in the well-researched Scientists in the Field series, The Hive Detectives presents readers with a great science read right out of today's headlines.

Both of these titles are great additions to a classroom collection and dovetail well with core curriculum standards!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

Hello everyone!

After my last post my life seemed to kick into high gear.  All good stuff - mega birthdays, a college graduation, SCBWI event planning and a trip to Italy, Turkey and Greece.  And that was all before June!  Then it happened…..I began a nonfiction book project for Houghton Mifflin!!!!

Whew, was there time for reading?  YES!  Was there time for blogging?  NO!

So, I'm checking in.  I read some amazing books over the summer.  Many I plan on sharing with you in the coming months.  Others were making their way into my book's bibliography.

It's proving to be a busy fall and some days I feel like one of the squirrels running around in my yard. But I promise I'll be back soon with more news and notes and, above all, some great nonfiction reads for you to add to your shelves!

                                                    The library at Ephesus in Turkey.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

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!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Biodiversity and New York City

Biodiversity and New York City.  You won't hear those words too often in the same sentence, unless you are talking about the lack there of.  Well, last week that changed.  Thanks to my writer friend, Loree Griffen Burns, I was alerted to news of a new frog species.  I am always excited about any discovery of a new species, especially since most are discovered in a rainforest.  But this time I was over-the-moon excited and immediately posted the article on my Facebook page…. This new frog species was not found in a rainforest, but an urban setting right here in my very own state!  It was found in New York City.  New York City, were the population of pigeons outnumbers every other species and the biodiversity among people is far more interesting to that of wildlife!

The frog is a type of leopard frog, in a beautiful shade of green, with it's own distinct call.  In fact it was it's call that got it noticed!

I have thought about the discovery of this frog for days.   When I wrote Keeping Our Earth Green I was bogged down with oodles of daunting issues.  And it was challenging for me to write ways that would encourage kids to make a difference.  I had to constantly focus my brain on the hope for the future.

This little frog did that for me this week like nothing else has!  If something new and special can be found amidst the urban wilds of New York City, then why not everywhere else?  Why shouldn't we get as excited about our own backyards as all of these other exotic and bio-rich locations?  

 I'm sparked! And I'm hopeful!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Green Earth Book Awards

The winners for this year's Newton Marasco Green Earth Book Awards are:

Picture Book
Arthur Turns Green, written and illustrated by Marc Brown (published
by Little, Brown and Company)

Children's Fiction
Wild Wings, written by Gill Lewis and illustrated by Yuta Onoda
(published by Simon and Schuster)

Young Adult Nonfiction
Gaia Warriors, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by James
Lovelock (published by Candlewick Press)

Children's Nonfiction
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families, written by Cindy
Trumbore and Susan L. Roth and illustrated by Susan L. Roth (published
by Lee & Low Books)

And the 2012 Honor Books are:

*   101 Ways to Save the Planet, written by Deborah Underwood
(published by Raintree)
*   Extraordinary Endangered Animals, written by Sandrine Silhol and
Gaƫlle GuƩrive and illustrated by Marie Doucedame (published by Abrams
Books for Young Readers)
*   Global Warming: A Personal Guide to Causes and Solutions, written
by Sneed B. Collard III (published by Lifelong Learning, Inc., DBA
Project CRISS)
*   Human Footprint: Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and
Throw Out in Your Lifetime
, written by Ellen Kirk (published by
National Geographic Books)
*   Luz Sees The Light, written and illustrated by Claudia Davila
(published by Kids Can Press)
*   Nowhere Else on Earth:  Standing Tall for the Great Bear
, written by Caitlyn Vernon (published by Orca Book
*   Riparia's River, written by Michael J. Caduto and illustrated by
Olga Pastuchiv (published by Tilbury House)

Congratulations to all the recipients!  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nonfiction - Inside Tornadoes

Every spring we face tornado season in our country.  It's scary, especially for kids.  They are random or least they seem that way.  I don't even live in tornado alley and yet have seen the effects of a tornado just a few miles from my house.

How do these horrible winds form?  Why is there a "tornado alley"?  How do you protect yourself?  These questions and more are answered in Mary Kay Carson's book, Inside Tornadoes.

As with all the books in the Inside series, it is an informative, interactive read.  First person accounts, diagrams, pull-out pages, and full color photos make it a great resource for kids and adults.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Naturally Speaking About National Poetry Month

It's National Poetry Month!  How could I not blog about one of my favorite poets, Joyce Sidman?  Her natural subjects are brought to life by beautiful poetry in clever collections for kids.   

One of my favorites, Ubiquitous, is an absolute treasure.  Sidman and illustrator Beckie Prange are the creators of the Caldecot Honor Book Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems.  This picture book, delving into nature's survivors including, the gecko, grasses, diatoms, bacteria, coyotes, and humans, does not disappoint.  Sidman's poems are eloquent and are accompanied by rich, scientific notations.  Prange's illustrations (linocuts, hand-colored with watercolor) are lush and inviting.  Ubiquitious is certainly deserving of its multiple starred reviews! 

Of course, all of her titles rise to the top.  Dark Emperor, Red Sings From Treetops, and Butterfly Eyes. And be sure to check out her latest, Swirl by Swirl  Each and every one a jewel that should be read over and over!  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo of the Day - Yellow

When I interned at Audubon Magazine, then under the direction of the wonderful Les Line, I helped edit a photo essay on the color blue.  What an amazing experience.  I was the first one to open all of those spectacular packages of transparencies from photographers I had always admired.  Helping to select the photos was an experience that taught me so much.

Seeing this forsythia in such a spectacular yellow brought that color essay back to me.  I began to think about all the things in nature that are yellow.  Daffodils, buttercups, caterpillars, dandelions, goldfinches, warblers, and the ever beautiful sunflowers.

It's fun to focus on one color in nature.  You begin to see that color everywhere.  What a treat for your eye!

For me today it is yellow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Photos of the Day - Signs of Spring

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - The Manatee Scientists

It's always a treat to see a manatee floating by in the Florida waters.  I can remember seeing them on my many visits to Sanibel Island.  It's easy to appreciate their gentle demeanor and peaceful gliding, which is why I was eager to read peter Lourie's book about the scientists working so hard throughout the world to protect them.

Lourie does a thorough job of introducing young readers to the different species of manatees and the scientists studying them.  With countless photographs of wild manatees in Florida, Amazonia and Africa, The Manatee Scientists capturing this unique mammal species.

The Manatee Scientists is part of Houghton Mifflin's famed Scientists in the Field series.  As with all of these titles readers can find details of fascinating field work and thorough research.  It's a great book for budding scientists, conservationists and classroom libraries!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Desert Elephants

Desert elephants travel hundreds of miles through the deserts of Africa to find water.  They've been doing this migration for thousands of years.

This book knocked my socks off.  Helen Cowcher's illustrations are luscious and her palette captures the beauty of the desert.  Her text is well researched, informational and insightful.  It is a story of cooperation and conservation.

A wonderful book to add to your classroom library!

Take a peek inside Helen's book with this video.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Bring On The Birds

I'm really enjoying the books coming out of Peachtree Publishers. For a long time they seemed to only publish regional titles, but they've broadened their list.  This is a great title for young birders!  Susan Stockdale's illustrations are engaging and bright, while her sparse, rhyming text is simple enough for first readers and perfect for a read-aloud!   Her additional back matter furthers the text for interested readers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Galileo Galilei!

This was my Galileo.  He had the most beautiful celestial blue eyes.  But his knowledge of the universe didn't go very far.  Oh, I still believe he was an old soul, but get him talking and what came out wasn't about the heavens.

The birthday we celebrate today isn't his, it's another Galileo's.  One less warm and fuzzy, but perhaps a little more worldly.

Galileo Galilei was one our our greatest astronomers.  

From Leap Into Space:
Galileo Galilei spent a good deal of his life questioning the accepted scientific beliefs of his time that were not proven by experiment.  Galileo heard about the new Dutch instruments built to see the heavens and built one himself…
He found evidence that the Earth was not at its center, just as astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus had theorized. 

His theories caused him to be tried and convicted by the Catholic Church for heresy, but unlike common belief, he was never tortured or excommunicated.  He remained a loyal Catholic throughout his life.

Let's celebrate Galileo's 448th birthday with some of these titles:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - Coral Reefs

Jason Chin has done it again. He's created another great title to add to your nonfiction bookshelf.   This time he's taken us from the redwood forest to under the sea in his latest book, Coral Reefs.  Again, Chin offers readers informative text and beautiful, imaginative illustrations.  In Coral Reefs, a young girl enters the New York Public Library, pulls a book about coral reefs off the shelf and finds herself in the undersea world she's reading about.  The text is straight nonfiction, while the illustrations offer the reader a healthy dose of magical realism.  I love the idea of text coming alive for readers and Chin has done a beautiful job of capturing the beauty of the reefs. His text, however, is not as creative as his illustrations.  Nonetheless, this title is an example of how creative nonfiction can be, while still providing readers with great information!

Friday, February 3, 2012

So if it isn't fiction, it must be nonfiction...

Nonfiction author, Melissa Stewart, blogged this week about the term "nonfiction".   I can remember sitting in a conference of science writers years ago debating the same problem. Today the debate continues.   Nonfiction is not simply something other than fiction  - it is its own entity and as such warrants a more definitive name.  The science writers I met spoke about the term verity, meaning "something that is true; especially: a fundamental and inevitably true value".  Should nonfiction books reflect a derivation of the term verity?  As Melissa stated, many librarians now refer to these titles as informational.   Perhaps this is something the Library of Congress should examine, or the ALA.

Thanks, Melissa, for bringing this up again.  I agree - we need to keep the conversation going!  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 5- Winter Titles

Even if winter never really arrives and we don't end up with some real snow cover, these two books are the perfect titles to share with kids this season! Both are so wonderful I just couldn't choose between them.   Kate Messner and Melissa Stewart present a world little seen in these well-done picture books.  Both are lyrically told and informative.  Each beautiful picture book would compliment an elementary science curriculum.

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 4- The Watcher

Jeanette Winter's book The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps joined Me...Jane on the bookshelves last year.  Both of these books were well received with star reviews.  Where Me...Jane focuses more on Goodall's childhood, The Watcher focuses on Goodall's early days in the field with her chimps. Beautifully illustrated and well-researched, The Watcher is a wonderful celebration of Goodall's tireless efforts in chimpanzee conservation.  Both titles are a must for a classroom collection!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Informational Fiction or Nonfiction????

I've been becoming increasingly concerned about the state of nonfiction.  Up until now I was quite positive about the growth in creativity and opportunities in children's nonfiction titles, but I'm feeling a little differently this month.  You see I've started reading numerous nonfiction titles each week as part of the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge.  I've seen some terribly creative titles, but some of those titles seem to be fiction masquerading as nonfiction.

One of the titles clearly states on the cover that it is a mix of fact and fiction.  It includes a wonderfully imaginative journal and even a note on how the journal survived the tragedy the book speaks about, but it's imagined  ------not true.  And yet the book is classified as nonfiction by the publisher. Why hasn't the Library of Congress balked at this classification?  How can a reader distinguish fact from fiction?

In another title, also published by a traditional, well respected publisher, I found the following quotation:

"Then a cavewoman sprouts yellow hair. Why? The men have started to hunt for meat. The dangers of going after reindeer, mammoths, and horses are killing too many cavemen. Cavewomen have to compete for the few men left. Instead of beating each other up, they evolve ways to be more special. Being blond seems to help."

Can this be a true statement?  But it's nonfiction.  It must be.

Authors must put their foot down if a publisher misclassifies their work.  Our readers deserve better!  I hope I don't find many more of these titles during my challenge.  There are so many fine nonfiction authors out there who are careful about their work that I have faith these inconsistencies will be the exception.

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 Week 3- Fun Facts About Pets

Seymour Simon never disappoints.  I enjoyed this one on my Nook.  Fun facts!  Nice layout and love the READ TO ME feature.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Photo of the Day - SNOW!!!

It's blizzarding!!!  (The first real snow of winter calls for a new word - don't you think?)

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 - Tails

Robin Page and Steve Jenkin's What Do You Do With A Tail Like This?  bring tails to the forefront.  Hehe. Sorry.  I couldn't resist.

This team has an unbeatable way of bringing nonfiction to kids, with titles featuring lyrical text  and their signature illustrations.

Another title focusing on tails is Beth Fielding's Animal Tails.  With beautiful color photographs, Animal Tails is informative and fun.

Ever wonder why humongous elephants have skinnier tails than tiny squirrels?  You won't after reading Fielding's book!

Both titles are great additions to your nonfiction library.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inside Hurricanes by Mary Kay Carson

Sterling has published some great nonfiction titles - this being one of them.  Their INSIDE series is fantastic.  They are chock full of great facts and the fold-out page design creates an interactive experience for middle school readers.  Inside Hurricanes includes first-person experiences as well as pithy hurricane statistics.  The use of diagrams, charts, and photos is so effective, even adults will find this appealing.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo of the Day

The personal challenge of taking a photo every day of 2012 is helping me make the time to "see" things. Stepping away from the computer every so often is important, whether for a photo or to read a picture book.  Gatsby loves the plan and hopes that most of my photos involve him!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review - NF Picture Book Challenge, Week #1 - Thunder Birds by Jim Arnosky

Jim Arnosky is a pro at wildlife illustration and this book is no disappointment.  In Thunder Birds, Arnosky has chosen to highlight the biggest and strongest of birds.  He mixes his wonderful personal narrative with fold-out  life size illustrations that will thoroughly engage readers, both young and old.  This book will definitely inspire readers to grab a pair of binoculars and search out their own "thunder birds".

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Photo of the Day - Stone Wall

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast." ~ Robert Frost, Mending Wall

My mom loves Frost's poems, which is probably why I have a fascination for stone walls to this day.  I have been photographing them in the Hudson Valley since I was a teenager.  This one does not separate a farmer's fields, but probably framed an early garden.

You build a wall one stone at a time, just like book.  Stone by stone.  Word by word.  Sometimes those words even seem as heavy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012

Announcing: The Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2012
I'm excited to announce the
2012 Nonfiction Reading Challenge
The goal is to encourage everyone to read more nonfiction picture books this year.
Take the challenge by setting a goal for yourself.
Maybe you want to read one nonfiction picture book each week or each month.
Visit both the Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives blogs
throughout the year for nonfiction reviews and giveaways!
Tweet about the challenge using the hashtag #nfpb2012.

Photo of the Day

First snow of the new year.

Good News and Bad News ---For Wolves

There was good news and bad news recently for our country's gray wolf population, as you see below. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser...