HAPPY EARTH DAY 2021: Books to Help Celebrate Plus Giveaways

Today is International Mother Earth Day! Events will be taking place all around the globe to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment and educate people to preserve our natural resources and help children learn to be good stewards of this planet.  I agree with Roni Baras, author of 55 Ways to Save the Environment and Make a Difference, when she says: “As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids to care for the world.”

Here are a few ways that parents, children, and all of us can participate, not only on Earth Day, but all year long:

  • Don’t Litter: Walk to a local park and talk about how it looks better when people don’t leave trash – bring a bag and pick up garbage
  • Grow Stuff: Plant herbs, flowers and vegetables outside or in pots – teach kids how to care for them
  • Save Energy: Turn off lights when they are not needed
  • Conserve Water: Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth – install water-saving shower heads and faucets
  • Reduce Pollution: Walk or bike if possible instead of driving short distances

And here’s a really fun idea! How about washing your hair in the rain? I spoke with my sister the other day and she reminded me of the times when we were kids and we would go outside with a bottle of shampoo when it was raining and giggle and laugh as we played with heads full of suds.

For Earth Day, I’m sharing two very special books that celebrate life, love, and the creatures that inhabit our precious planet.

First I want to introduce you to LOVE IN THE WILD – an amazing board book from talented author/illustrator Katy Tanis that explodes with color, creativity, and compassion. What a brilliant idea for a book for the littles…actually, this is a book for EVERYONE! I guarantee that you will learn so much about the animal world that you never knew.

Here’s a bit about the book: The sweet rhyming text in Mudpuppy’s Love in the Wild Board Book highlights the many different types of love that can be found in the animal kingdom! This colorful celebration of love is based on scientists’ observations of same-sex couples, adoption, non-binary gender expression and more. Author-illustrator Katy Tanis is currently earning a MA in Biology from Miami University of Ohio. Her graduate work, partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Society, explores the promotion of conservation biology through art.

And we are so lucky because Katy stopped by to chat and share how she is participating in Earth Day this year.

KATY: In the past, I’ve sent postcards to my representatives asking them to support environmental issues I care about, like protecting the Endangered Species Act. Everyday is like Earth Day to me. This year, I have been focusing on learning more about my local wildlife. I often study animals from across the globe, but know little about the ones in my own community. I have been using iNaturalist to get to know my local species. I’ve been replacing plants in my yard with native plants, like goldenrods, a favorite of migrating monarchs.

Did someone say POSTCARDS? Take a look at these gorgeous ones that Katy drew! And guess what? She is offering them as a GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will win a set! Please leave a comment on this post and then please share the post on your social media channels and/or post a review of the book on Amazon, purchase a copy if you can (makes an awesome baby gift), add it to your Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf, and ask you library to buy copies for their collection.

Aren’t those amazing illustrations? And the gift-giving isn’t over yet! FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: An Animal Counting Book can also be used to encourage children to cherish and protect the precious creatures that inhabit our world. The back matter explains some of the reasons why habitats are destroyed and the activity book (which can be downloaded from my website) provides simple steps children can take to help as well as loads of arts and crafts activities plus word scrambles and other games.

PLUS – one lucky reader will receive a signed copy of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN and the print copy of the Otterly Awesome Activity Booklet that was created by illustrator Mirka Hokkanen. Please make sure you leave a comment on this blog and please share on social media, post a review on Amazon and ask your library to purchase copies for their collection – and let me know what you’ve do or if you’ve already done these things – and I’ll add extra tickets in the giveaway hat for you

I wrote FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN to celebrate the beauty of the pristine wilderness areas where my late husband and I loved to hike and fly-fish. When my legs grew tired of walking or my arm grew tired of casting, I’d sit on a boulder and watch the otters splash by as butterflies would flit, flutter, and hover over wild columbines. We all must work towards saving these wild places and protecting their inhabitants.

I hope you all have a Happy Earth Day and a wonderful weekend. Remember to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaways…and please share the post, review the books, and do whatever you can to get these books into the hands of children so they can develop a love of the wild and a desire to protect and cherish ALL of Earth’s inhabitants.

Picture Book Review and Activity PLUS Giveaway: LUCY LOVES SHERMAN

People who work from Monday through Friday often look forward to the end of the week. I look forward to the end of the week because that means…Perfect Picture Book Friday. But first, a few things to take care of.

  1. Last week we enjoyed having Marcie Colleen and her adorable pals, the SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS. We promised two giveaways and here they are.

THE WINNER OF STAYING A HIVE IS…

Jeanine Potter

THE WINNER OF GOING NUTS IS…

Judy Sobanksi

Ladies, please email me: viviankirkfield@gmail.com and I will make arrangements to get the books to you.

 

  1. The ReFoReMo Challenge is winding down…thanks to Carrie Charlie Brown and Kirsti Call for all of their work in organizing this for the kid lit community. You can access all of the incredible blog posts and reading lists here.
  2. Jodell Sadler is gearing up for the 2nd Annual Birthday Bash for KidLit College. There will be inspiring posts (one of them is mine – hurray!) And incredible prizes…don’t miss it. Here’s just a taste of what the blog posts will look like.
  3. And because I know how much you all love writing challenges…fellow Storm sister, Alexandria LaFaye has a fun 100-word one going on…what if a piece of food was your childhood friend.
  4. I’ve been working behind the scenes on the #50PreciousWordsforKids Writing Challenge. The flyer should be ready shortly and I’ll post it on Facebook, Twitter, and my blog. If you are a teacher or connected in any way to an elementary school, this may be for you and the children you work with. The challenge will coincide with Children’s Book Week, May 1-7. It’s all about encouraging diversity in imagination for kids in K-6th Several authors have already offered to donate a mini-Skype classroom visit…I’ll need one for each grade level and I already have three.

And now, thank you for your patience…it’s time for our #PPBF review of a book that JUST CELEBRATED ITS BOOK BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK.

cover

Lucy Loves Sherman

Written by Catherine Bailey Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Bat Count

What a special time of year! For me, Thanksgiving is for bringing people closer together…and we all need that, right? I hope you had a beautiful day yesterday, whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving.

Working together is an important skill…we’ve seen lately what can happen when people don’t come together. What impresses me the most about this kid lit community is that many groups are formed to enable people to work towards a common goal. One of the new groups I am now part of is Picture The Books 2017…a group of authors and illustrators whose debut picture books are coming out next year. And one of those books is my Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for today.

But oh my goodness…as happens very often, first we need to make an important announcement.

viv-and-sophie-standing-by-tree-2015

The lovely Susanna Hill has announced her famous Holiday Writing Contest. The rules are simple…a holiday story for children (ages 12 and under) that is 300 words or less. I’ll be participating again this year…will you? Joining in Susanna’s writing contests is a great way for writers to get their work out there and submit to a positive and loving audience. For all the details, please click here. And don’t forget, there are always GREAT PRIZES!

And now, thank you for your patience…it’s time for our #PPBF review.

bat-count-by-anna-forrester

BAT COUNT

Written by Anna Forrester

Illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Family life, diversity, bats, animal conservation

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.

Opening Lines:

“The sun is dropping behind the ridge and the red-winged blackbirds have quit their squalling, so I know it’s almost time.”

Why I like this book:

  • If you read the opening line above, you already know one reason why I love this book…the language is so lyrical…the author did a wonderful job of picking just the right words.
  • This is a beautiful family story on two levels…the little girl’s family who track and count the bats…and the bat family that they hope will be there.
  • Much of the story takes place at dusk…the illustrator was able to capture that low light, yet still give the reader wonderful pictures showing true emotion in the faces of the people.
  • I take my hat off to Arbordale Publishing…many of the pages are dark (see above), but they made sure to put easy to read white print in a large enough font that children will be comfortable reading. I can’t tell you how many picture books I am unable to read to my grandson because the contrast between the text and the background of the page is nonexistent…dark gray letters on dark blue background, for instance.

 

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  1. The back matter is excellent…four pages of learning activities
  2. More free activities at: ArbordalePublishing.com
  3. Find out if there are any animal count activities going on in your community and participate with your child.
  4. The book is a fabulous resource for elementary schools plus a wonderful story for every family. It launches in Feburary 2017 and is available on Amazon for preorder.

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It will be December when I see you next.

December is going to be an exciting month…we have TWO Will Write for Cookies interviews AND giveaways. The first is with Jessica Lawson…and the second is with Duncan Tonatiuh. WOW!

And don’t forget Susanna’s Holiday Writing Contest.

To help start the year off, I’m participating in a Happiness Challenge for December: www.truly-julie.com/happiness-challenge

And I’ll also be making a list of the stories I think I’d like to write in 2017…for some I’ll just have a title…for others, just a topic. I’ve done this for the last few years and it really helps me focus and be more productive when I know beforehand what I’d like to be writing/researching about. I learned this from Kristen Fulton in her Nonfiction Archaeology class…but it works even if you write fiction.

In addition, I have work to do for the editor of Sweet Dreams, Sarah…I need to make a list of bloggers who will review my debut picture book or post an interview or Q&A...plus shout out on Twitter, Facebook and other social media when the book launches in the spring. It’s going to be a very busy time if the launch is on schedule because I’ll have just finished the #50PreciousWords Challenge. By the way, some of you have already volunteered to do a post in the book blog tour...please PM or email me if you’d like to be involved. And ditto for the #50PreciousWords Challenge…if you’d like to donate something (kidlit book, class, critique, art, etc), please let me know. My wonderful agent, Essie White, has already offered to do another critique as a prize…and if any of you remember, the 1st place winner chose that and is now one of Essie’s clients. I know it is not until March, but time has a way of sneaking up on us.

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