When I began writing for children, I searched for others who were writing for children in Mississippi. Early on, I found Deborah Wiles‘ books, but I couldn’t find her.
On the internet I found out that she lived in Maryland. When she came to Lemuria bookstore in Jackson to sign, I made sure I went. I had to work up the courage to admit that I was trying to be a writer for children, too. She was kind and encouraging. Most folks in this business are, but there was something about her “you can do it,” that I believed. Deborah (who now lives in Atlanta) came back to Lemuria this week to sign Countdown, her genre-busting new book. It is a documentary novel, chock full of black and white photographs, advertisements and other visuals from 1962.
Deborah read from the book’s opening and then a tiny snippet from much further in. I could have listened much longer. I think she should record the audio book version. I feel so lucky to live in a town with a fabulous independent bookstore that has a very cool performance space for readings. Here is a picture of Emily Grossenbacher, the manager of Lemuria’s children’s store. You can read her post about Countdown here.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) included Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature in its online review journal called Science Books & Films (or SB&F). Growing Patterns got a starred review from Marylin Lisowski, a professor of science and environmental education at Eastern Illinois University.
“In an engaging manner, the author guides the reader to observe the pattern of petals in several clearly illustrated pictures of flowers and then describes the rule for obtaining the Fibonacci numbers,” she writes. This review journal is available for download on the AAAS website.
As a teaching artist, I am excited about the new school year. I am scheduling traditional author visits, but I am also scheduling a few longer residencies. Tuesday, I will join other Jackson-area artists and arts organizations in meeting with elementary school faculty and principals committed to integrating the arts into everyday academic instruction. This group is the Ask for More Arts Collaborative, a program of Parents for Public Schools of Jackson. I will offer my services through the AFMA JumpstART program.
In collaboration with teachers and a librarian friend, I have designed two projects that combine writing and photography. They are: The Fibonacci Folding Book Project and [Your School] on the Map. Regular blog readers will have followed the development of these projects. Julie Owen, librarian at St. Therese Catholic School, helped develop the Fibonacci Folding Book Project. It is a companion to Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.
Second grade teachers at Davis Magnet School, most notably Beth West, helped develop Davis on the Map, or [Your School] on the Map. You may click on the “Davis on the Map” category to the right to read about this project. Both of these projects feature the study of the work of a master artist, the opportunity for students to create original artwork, and an exploration of the program’s theme (Community: A Sense of Place.) Each meets curriculum objectives in the visual arts and several academic areas.
I have taken first day of school pictures for a decade now. Wow!
Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator won the Mississippi Library Association’s Children’s Book Award. I am thrilled to have won this award and I thank the MLA’s 2010 Authors Awards Committee for the recognition. I will accept the award during the MLA’s annual conference in Vicksburg, which is October 20-22.
The committee voted in February to add the children’s award to its list, which has traditionally included fiction and nonfiction for adults. A list of previous award winners can be found here.
In other news, my friends at Boyds Mills Press shared today that a professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois is using Wolfsnail in a course on using children’s literature to teach.
When I posted photographs from our recent trip to Oregon, I forgot to include this one, which is actually one of my favorites. Somehow it didn’t get flagged. I hope you enjoy the two semi-circles in the composition as much as we do.
Richard and I went to Oregon with the boys. We visited some friends in Bend and spent time in Portland and on the Coast. Here are some of the photographs we took. A few are panoramas knitted together using photoshop and a few are high dynamic range images.
I can already see that these panoramas are not suited well to the size constraints of a blog.