Here Come the Humpbacks!

Here Come the Humpbacks! My new nonfiction picture book, illustrated by Jamie Hogan of Maine, traces the migration of a humpback whale from the Caribbean to Stellwagen Banks near New England. The main narrative text is supplemented by expository sidebars. It’s a tad older, longer read than some of my youngest picture books. It’s a good pairing with Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out! because it traces some of the environmental challenges along the migrating animal’s journey. NSTA Recommends has commentary on how to use it in science units and NC Teacher Stuff‘s STEM Friday post mentions using it in teaching different kinds of nonfiction writing.  It was named a NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book and also a Bank Street Best Book for the year.

Bear Resources

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.

Bear Studies Resources Older Grades

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.

Meet the Howlers Is On Its Way!

MeetHowlers_72February marks the release of my new book, Meet the Howlers! (illustrated by Woody Miller, published by Charlesbridge).This nonfiction, rhyming read aloud looks at the life of a howler monkey from the perspective of a child who is a bit envious about the things wild howlers can get away with that a human child cannot. “A solid read-aloud for young animal enthusiasts. Ages 4–7” –Publishers Weekly. Charlesbridge has made a wonderful poster out of the cover art. To download it, visit their site and scroll down to the bottom of the page at



There are plenty of people out there to love whales and pandas. But what about woodchucks? I ask you. Who loves them? 

How fuzzy wonderful do you have to be? How rare do you have to be before people notice you?  Where are the woodchuck t-shirts, bumper stickers, and earrings? 

My friend Margaret,  a librarian in Goshen, loves them.  She’s just wild about them. Out in the western U.S., people climb mountains just to see marmots. Oh, hurray, marmots! Watch them scamper up rocky slopes. Well, have you looked at a woodchuck? 

It’s a marmot. It just lives in yards, fields, and woods. 

My husband and I call them “yarmots,” a name drawn from yard marmot, our own personal term.

Come on, let’s appreciate the underappreciated. Okay, so they’ve eaten my garden a few times.  But then I built the big, big, fence suggested by Rodale, the publishers of Organic Gardening. Oh, and I grew so many other plants that the woodchucks can eat, that they don’t think of the garden. They don’t even get around to it.