Eat Like a Bear, my book illustrated by Steve Jenkins and published by Henry Holt, just received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Kirkus reviews also gave it a starred review. I’m excited that folks “get” this book. I was so pleased with every word, illustration, design choice on this project. It was a great team effort. Tilt the cover and check out the shiny ants. Notice the designer’s great backmatter fonts and layout. See a few pages on Henry Holt’s website. Okay, so I’m a little stoked about it. Guess what else thrills me: Steve Jenkins has signed on to illustrate my next three books with Henry Holt! Need I say more? Yes. Another Steve Jenkins book, one which he wrote, The Animal Book, received a starred review in PW this week. Go, Steve!
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.