When I saw Steve Jenkins’ art for our new book, Eat Like a Bear (Sept 10, 2013, Holt), I was amazed. The bears’ bodies were so furry-looking. I emailed Steve about it. He told me their bodies were made of amate, Mexican bark paper. Bark paper? You know me and my love o’ plants. I had to find out more. Turns out that this paper is made from fig and mulberry trees by craftspeople in a few small villages in the mountains of Mexico. It has a really deep history. The Mayan and Aztec people held it sacred. The craft almost died out but survived in one Otomi village in Mexico. Oh, there’s so much more to the story, I almost wish I could write a book about it. Hmm…! Take a look at this article on the web and you’ll see why I fell under the spell of this complex bark paper story: Amate Art of Mexico
Eat Like a Bear, my book illustrated by Steve Jenkins comes out in late 2012. But I’m already gathering like a bear for winter. The bears in that book are brown bears (grizzlies) but perhaps your classrooms want to study black bears. Here’s a great place to start. My cousin suggested that I might learn from this fellow and it seems he might do presentations in New England so perhaps some schools/organizations might want to work with him.
Ben Kilham presentations
He’s written books and has been featured in television programs. See here.
My book Eat LIke a Bear comes out next Fall. It’s a picture book, for young ages, about grizzly bears. But I just read about a curriculum that might interest some educators who want to learn more about bears in order to create related curricula. It’s a STEM based study of bear biology: Curriculum Guide to the Bear Book. Eight lessons in science, math, and problem solving for high school ages. Perhaps it might be used/adapted for some younger students, as well? I have not seen it, but read about it in a NSTA publication. It’s done by Melissa Reynolds-Hogland, exec director of Bear Trust International. I am not very familiar with the various conservation organizations surrounding bear issues, including this one. So if any of you have experiences with the curriculum, and opinions about it that you’d like to share with me, feel free to contact me so I can update this post.
Reviewer Meribeth Shank did a roundup of monkey books in Miami Family Magazine and the reviews are also available on her website here: http://meribeths.blogspot.com/
With the launch of If You’re Hoppy, I’ve been keeping my eye on bunny news. Check this out…the world’s largest rabbit was 26.4 pounds. It lived 3-5 million years ago and did NOT hop!
Here are three recordings I made in Panama. Just click on the call and a sound player will come on screen. You can also hear toucans grinding their bills and parrots flying past in these recordings. Sharp ears might hear hummingbirds clicking and other tropical forest birds calling.
I am excited to share with you a few of the creative educational activities at Liberty Union-Thurston Elementary School in Baltimore, Ohio. These projects were done in relationship to my books in advance of my 2-day visit to their schools. They’ve had some great authors, including Ron Hirschi, who did stream walks with them some years ago. (In DECEMBER, they said. Cold toes but worth it.) It seems they have an ongoing nature and stream study in this school. Hooray! Kids will learn so much from seeing nature and science in action.
Ah, the halls were festooned with beautiful bumblebees and flowers. A shiny paper mirror said “Look here to see the author.” How wonderful for each student to see a young author in themselves. We had some of the first art celebration of He’s a Howler: a howler paper quilt. Beautiful!
Many of the students were studying geography. They had done drawings and short writing pieces about the features of continents to go with my continent books.
One classroom did a hilarious counting riff on One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab. They did counting by eyes.
One class analyzed and classified the information in Bumblebee Queen.
Another class created new versions of the fish chant but with ocean fish. They created fish cutouts, wrote reports about features and behavior. Then they drew a fanciful sea/town scene where the fish swam. It was nonfiction with a visual fiction twist, in the spirit of Trout, Trout, Trout. Hooray!
One of my favorites was the bird poetry written by the fourth graders. Using Vulture View as a model, the teacher had created a form with key words and phrases from Vulture View. Students each drew a bird species and filled in what that bird would or would not eat and how it would move. Brilliant.
A highlight of my visit was two small sessions with young authors and illustrators. I will never forget my discussions with them! I hope that Reading Rainbow Book entry goes well.
This is a fine school with energetic educators and students that are excited to learn. The students were well prepared for my visit and worked well together in the assembly setting. The faculty welcomed me. Students and staff have much to be proud of; together they have made an environment for learning. As an author, it was a pleasure to visit.
Thank you, librarian Ms. Brown, for bringing me in to share this joyful place with you.
Meet the Howlers was just released. To listen to my howler monkey sound recordings, check my book page, here. National Geographic also has photos and a bit of information: