“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Einstein
I think that, like so many quotes, this one can be interpreted in many different ways. For me, it’s about slowing down to really see the natural world. It’s about looking closely. And it’s about coming to understand the vast complexities of our world. With that understanding we can appreciate nature much, much better. And going back to what I said last week, if we appreciate something, we care and will take care of it.
The day after Thanksgiving the government released the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Despite what some of our illustrious leaders say, the science is undeniable. Climate change is a real and present threat. The outlook is certainly grim.
It’s at that point that I find myself quoting Dr. Seuss. “Unless,” he wrote in The Lorax in 1971, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” And then, I want to yell, “I care!” I want to holler from the rooftops and tweet and retweet, and champion renewable energy and recycling and public transportation. I want everyone to know and understand what is going on. And I want everyone to care. Because there IS room for hope.
But how do I make a difference in this big, big world? I’m not a scientist or engineer or politician. I am one person, trying to improve my own very small corner of the world. And I’m raising kids who are aware of the problems our planet faces. I’m trying to teach them to take small steps and that a lot of steps together equals change. Yet it’s not enough. How can I do more? And then I think…writing. I already write books for kids. I love it. So why not narrow my focus to more books about nature and environmental issues and biodiversity? It’s actually been an idea that’s been percolating for a while: build a platform on environmental writing for kids.
Now is the time.
I am thrilled to announce the winter 2020 publication of The Fort, by Page Street Kids! It was reported in Publisher’s Weekly Rights Report: Week of August 27, 2018
The Fort is my first picture book. The manuscript was picked up by Courtney Burke through a #PitMad event back in March! It will be illustrated by Adelina Lirius and the initial sketches I’ve seen are amazing – they bring to life two characters and a dilapidated fort in a way I never could have imagined. So excited to be on this journey!
I developed a STEAM book for kids ages 9-100 that was homeless for a little while. However, I am thrilled to announce that Engineering Crazy Contraptions has now found its place with Nomad Press. A huge thank you to everyone there for considering the manuscript. The book introduces readers to simple machines and basic engineering concepts, including the engineering design process, through building Rube Goldberg contraptions (Goldberg’s contraptions were based on chain reactions that were both complicated and ridiculous, yet accomplished very simple tasks: https://whoisrubegoldberg.com/). Throughout the book kids are challenged to build increasingly complex contraptions of their own using simple machines. It’s loads of fun!
Last week I had the honor and privilege of speaking to the students at Trinidad Middle School about the importance of writing. I was treated like royalty…
Soon after a book is published, copies show up on my front step. I usually have a general idea of when this will happen, but I never know for sure. And it’s always fun to get the package, open the box, and see all the hard work and research right there in my hands. The wetlands book, about wetland conservation efforts around the world, was one of my favorite projects. Not only that, it looks fantastic. Check it out (Bringing Back Our Wetlands, ABDO, 2018)!
A big thank you to KidLit411 for giving me the “Author Spotlight” today, featuring Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds? If you haven’t been to the KidLit411 site, it is an excellent resource for kid lit authors on a wide variety of topics!
You can read my post on their website at KidLit411 Author Spotlight.
In preparation for the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver, Nomad Press featured me on their website this week (and my son Jack would like everyone to know he took the photo)! I’m grateful to be supported by such a wonderful publisher and for the opportunity to go to the conference. Check out the post on their Meet the Author Blog.
Now that Story Storm is (sadly) over, it’s time to knuckle down and get writing! And, go to conferences. I will be at the CCIRA Conference in Denver on Thursday, February 8 and on Friday, February 9. Friday’s schedule includes “speed dating” with teachers who are interested in having authors visit their classrooms.
Then on Saturday, February 10, I will be at the ALA Midwinter Conference with Nomad Press promoting Extinction: What Happened to the Dinosaurs, Mastodons, and Dodo Birds?, from 10:00-12:00. If you’ll be at either of these conferences, come by to say hello!