I enjoyed my trip to Ocean City, Maryland, this week, where I talked to Maryland librarians about how Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator came to be. I also accepted the Blue Crab Young Reader Award for Beginning Nonfiction.
I spent time with Janis Cooker, the chair of the Maryland Blue Crab Award committee, Jill Hutchinson, and Catherine DiCristofaro. They picked me up at the airport and took me out to dinner the night before my presentation. I learned about some interesting programming they are doing in the library system of St. Mary’s County — especially with children who are identified for early intervention services and hands-on science. Jill was among presenters for a pre-conference program titled Quality Programming for Pennies and Janis joined others to present on Creating Successful Cultural Connections for Preschoolers and their Families.
Today I leave for Ocean City, Maryland, to participate in the Maryland Library Association‘s annual conference. On Thursday, I will accept the Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award for Beginning Nonfiction for Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator. In honor of the award, I dug up some old photographs of wolfsnails. They are ones that didn’t make it into the book, but were part of its development. The above photo is a good shot of the Wolfsnail’s radula, the toothy tongue.
One of the best things about Wolfsnail has been that parents, librarians, and teachers are using it in the exactly the way I hoped.
In her recent blog post recommending Wolfsnail for new readers, Jennifer Wharton, a librarian at Jean Little Library wrote: “The simple text tells in riveting detail the progress of a wolfsnail as it stalks its prey. The reader learns many details about these giant snails and how they feed. The vocabulary level is simple enough for most intermediate readers to read on their own. Beginning readers will need some help with the longer words. I encourage adults to listen to the child’s reading – and help with the longer vocabulary words, then spend some time reading aloud the extended information about wolfsnails at the back of the book, or visit the Campbells’ website and talk about their amazing photography! The simple text also makes an excellent read-aloud for elementary students.”
I often say Wolfsnail is the book I wish I’d found in the library when Nathan found the wolfsnails. But, really, I am so glad that book wasn’t there.
It is almost time for Mississippi’s third through fifth graders to vote for their favorite book among this year’s nominees for The Magnolia Award. I learned about this award at the 2009 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival and asked Virginia Butler, a writer friend and independent reading specialist who is part of the Award’s nominating committee, to bring me up-to-date.
Voting will take place at public and school libraries in April. Any student who has read at least half of the books is eligible to vote. The creator(s) of the winning book will be invited to receive The Magnolia Award at the 2011 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival.
In establishing this award, Mississippi joins about 30 other states in recognizing excellence in children’s literature and getting young readers excited about new books. Linda Perez, librarian at Madison Station Elementary, spearheaded the push to create a children’s choice award. It is a goal of organizers to expand the award to other age groups in coming years.
The Magnolia Award is a partnership between the Mississippi Department of Education; the Mississippi Library Commission; the Mississippi Reading Association; the University of Southern Mississippi School of Library and Instructional Science; the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival; the University of Southern Mississippi School of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education; and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.
If you have questions, or comments, please contact Catharine Bomhold (cbomhold at yahoo dot com). If you have suggestions for next year’s nominees, please follow this link.
Big news today for Hester Bass! Her book, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, won the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children. This is wonderful news for Hester, for the book, and for the legacy of Walter Anderson. Many, many more people will learn about his extraordinary life and art. Way to go, Hester!
In November, I talked with Hester about the book and featured a video of her reading the opening lines. Click here to see that post. Hester also presented at my sons’ school, Power APAC, which I wrote about here. During Hester’s visit to Jackson, a crew from Mississippi Public Broadcasting filmed an interview for their online feature Don’t Lecture Me!
We were excited to learn earlier this month that Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator won the Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award in the Beginning Non-Fiction category. It was announced today at the MLA’s Kids Are Customers, Too conference in Westminster, Maryland. I will accept the award at the Maryland Library Association conference in April in Ocean City. I have been corresponding with Janis Cooker, the youth coordinator for St. Mary’s County Library. Aside from driving through on my way from Lexington, Virginia, to Dover, Delaware, (the home of wolfsnail researcher Melissa Harrington), I haven’t spent any time in Maryland. I am looking forward to my visit with Maryland’s librarians next spring. And, thanks.
Most of the ways I use photographs these days are digital. I capture them using a digital camera, edit them using Lightroom or Photohop, post them on my blog, website, and Facebook page. When I submit them to editors for magazines or books, I submit a digital file. Every once in a while, I upload my digital images to an online photolab (I use Kodak Gallery) and get prints or calendars made. Most recently, I have purchased photographic prints to make photo albums as gifts. I rarely print photographs at home — unless I am printing on plain paper as a proof of some kind.
Today, I made homemade cards. I printed several copies of the above image on matte photo paper using my Canon IP 4600 printer. They turned out very nicely — except for the one I mis-loaded. Only the front of the paper is appropriate to receive the ink. You can see how the cards turned out. I tried different sizes and mounted some. It was fun to make nice prints and work with them to make a final product at home.
These will go in the mail on Monday.
While I was at the kitchen table putting these together, today’s mail came and with it a nice note from my editor. He passed along a note from Sue Margulis, chair of the Children’s Book Award Committee, of the Animal Behavior Society. Wolfsnail was one of three Boyds Mills Press books (Ookpik and The Puzzle of the Platypus were the others) named as finalists for the 2009 ABS Outstanding Children’s Book Award. Richard and I are honored to have Wolfsnail recognized in this way.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Geisel Ceremony. Mo Willems made a truly funny speech. My boys particularly appreciated the line: “Screw you!” He suggested it as his preferred comeback to the dog in ‘Go Dog, Go” who keeps saying “I do not like that hat.”
Richard and I received nice plaques with our certificates mounted on them. My friend Hester Bass (author of the forthcoming title The Secret World of Walter Anderson) led the “whoops” section. By happenstance, we ended up sitting not in the section reserved for honorees but among the various selection committee members. This made it easy for me to thank the Geisel committee members for noticing Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator.
We went back to the exhibit floor to sign books for an hour. The boys, meanwhile, worked on restaurant selection. We ate a late lunch at Giordano’s and then Richard and the boys took off for the suburbs. I went back to sign for another hour.
Visitors to the booth continued to express interest in Growing Patterns. I gave out a bunch of business cards to librarians who expressed an interest in my website‘s supplemental material for Wolfsnail — especially the teachers’ guide and slideshow.
Today I gave the keynote address at the Reading Rainbow Young Authors & Illustrators Awards Ceremony at Mississippi Public Broadcasting. I was able to listen to stories by winners from kindergarten through third grades. I loved the stories, the illustrations (including some photographs), and the confidence of the young readers. Their stories ranged from chronicling the everyday joys and sorrows to documenting the momentous to imagining the fantastical. These kids are clearly reading and writing a lot at home and at school. Hooray!
This was the first time I’ve had the luxury of using a lapel microphone and it worked like a dream. I am always trying to read and point and move around and I hate being tied to a particular spot. Thanks to Darrell, who took photographs using his camera and mine, and to Maggie Stevenson, who invited me to speak.
This is my son painting the face of one of our day campers. My three boys are running a four-day camp for some neighborhood kids. I caught them “working.”
I got a call this week from my local independent bookstore, Lemuria, saying Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator had been added to a local school’s summer reading list. The bookstore needed four more signed copies. Another local school, Madison Station Elementary School, has Wolfsnail on its list of finalists for the 2009-10 Mockingbird Award. Wolfsnail is also on the summer reading list for Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, MD, and Parish Episcopal School in Austin, TX.
It also makes an appearance on the Horn Book summer reading list. Wolfsnail earned a mention on Through the Tollbooth, in an entry noting how nonfiction titles are winning notice even in categories not exclusive to nonfiction. To sum up, Nancy Bo Flood asks: “Is nonfiction about content – facts – or story and passion? I say both are essential. And great visuals – ones that intrigue as well as clarify. Write with passion. Find the story. Tell the facts.” Well said.
Another mention was in the online edition of the Naples (Fla.) News, in the education briefs.