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Mysterious Patterns Big Splash at NSTA

Richard and I had a great time at the annual convention of the National Science Teachers Association in Boston. We signed at least 80 books for teachers, professors, and science specialists. Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature got lots of love!

session

On Saturday, I was part of a session called “A Real-Life Page Turner: Award-winning Trade Book Authors Share Their Research Strategies.” As always I began by talking about Wolfsnail. We had about 40 participants who rotated through three tables for 15-minute mini sessions. A group of professors of literacy and science education put the session together.

dr. saul

Dr. Wendy Saul opened the session with a discussion of why books remain important, especially in nonfiction.

mp in session
Here I am talking about the page in Mysterious Patterns where the first explanation of fractals comes.
other groups
A look at the other groups’ tables.
amy broemmel
Here I am conferring with Dr. Amy Broemmel, an early literacy expert at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was my table partner for this session, and will be a co-presenter with me and Jessica Crosby-Pitchamootoo at the International Reading Association annual conference in New Orleans in May.

In addition to presenting and signing books, I attended a number of great sessions, including:

Asking, Imagining, Arguing: Using Books to Provide Examples of Science Practices in Action (Broemmel, Rearden)

NSTA Press® Session: The Authors’ Picks! Teaching Science Through Trade Books (Royce, Morgan, Ansberry)

Sense-of-Place Writing Templates: Connect Your Students’ Past Experiences with Science AND Literacy! (Clary)

Using Writing to Motivate Students to Learn Science (Caukin)

Connecting Science, Engineering, and Literacy in an Elementary Classroom (Laurier, Denisova)

family
While I was attending sessions, Richard was hanging out with Graeme at MIT. We shared three suppers in a row. It was nice!

Guest Posting at Elizabeth Dulemba’s Blog

Today, I offer tips on finding and working with experts when you are writing nonfiction for children. My post appears on the blog of children’s author/illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba, a friend from SCBWI’s Southern Breeze region. I hope you’ll click here to read the post. You could win a free copy of Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature.

Elizabeth has a new novel out next month called A Bird on Water Street. I read an advance copy and I think she did a masterful job of exploring the environmental impacts of resource mining through the eyes of boy growing up in Appalachia.

Physically, I am in Boston for the annual convention of the National Science Teachers Association. I will present in a session titled, “A Real-Life Page Turner: Award-winning Trade Book Authors Share Their Research Strategies” and then Richard and I will sign copies of Mysterious Patterns. I’ll post pictures when I get back home.

 

 

Mysterious Patterns Launch at Lemuria

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and signing Mysterious Patterns at Lemuria yesterday. My mother took a ton of pictures and I’m happy to share some here.

reading MPThis is actually one of my favorite pages, with fractal patterns in leaf veins and human lungs.

big crowd shotHere’s Jackie Hayes, a retired teacher, talking about how teachers use books to extend the curriculum.

showing sierpinski carpetA group of students from Davis Magnet IB World School came to the signing, including four who have been part of this book’s journey for a few years. Read about my Davis Magnet critique group here.

Emily G selling booksHere’s Emily Grossenbacher, the manager  of Lemuria’s Children’s section, helping sell my books!

signing for Barbara Signing books for Barbara McLaughlin and her granddaughters, Tinsely and Tatum.

critique groupMy faithful critique group.

Nice Booklist Review, Signing at Lemuria Today!

MP coverIt’s publication week!!

Finally, finally, my third book, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature, is ready to make its way into the world.

Publication week brings one more nice review, this time from Booklist. In its April 1 print edition, Booklist calls Mysterious Patterns a “beautifully designed volume,” with “many clear color photos (to) illustrate the examples.” (The full Booklist review is not available online without a Booklist subscription.)

See other reviews here.

You are invited to Lemuria bookstore this afternoon at 4 p.m. for the official launch of Mysterious Patterns. I can’t wait to celebrate with my good friends at Lemuria, especially the manager of the children’s store, Emily Grossenbacher, who has been cheering me on through the many drafts.

I’ll bring along some of my 3-D geometric fractals and my fractal quilt.

fractal quilt
This design is based on the Sierpinski Carpet. I pieced the eight nine-patch blocks on my sewing machine (each one made of nine 2-inch squares). The 1/2 inch blue squares in the middle of the 64 yellow squares are sewn on (again by machine) using a blanket stitch. I used my Serger machine to finish the edging, as you can see in the detail photo below.

edge

Mysterious Patterns Book Launch at Lemuria

MP coverI know I’ve been talking about Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature for months, but the date of publication is finally upon us. Next week, in fact. So, please join me at Lemuria bookstore on Monday, March 31, at 4 p.m. to officially launch Mysterious Patterns.

I’ll read from the book and answer any questions you have about fractals.

In the meantime, you can read reviews here.

Later next week, Richard and I will travel to the National Science Teachers Association‘s Annual Convention in Boston. I will join other authors for a session titled “A real-life page turner: Award-winning trade book authors share their research strategies,” and we will sign books at the booth of Stenhouse Publishers, a sister company to my publisher, Boyds Mills Press.

We will also visit our son, Graeme, who is in his first year at MIT. We can’t wait!

 

 

 

Mysterious Patterns Earns Second Star — School Library Journal

I’m thrilled to report that Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature got a starred review in School Library Journal.

Here’s an excerpt: Mysterious Patterns Cover online small-“Using clear text and outstanding color photographs, Campbell explores the concept of these unusual shapes. Beginning with circles, cones, and cylinders, she leads readers carefully and concisely through examples of fractals such as trees, rivers, mountains, broccoli, lightning, and lungs. The photographs, sometimes highlighting the ever-smaller pieces of a vegetable fractal against a black background, sometimes drawing back to give a aerial view of a geological feature, are crisp and precise and underscore the clear text.”

Read the whole review here. I am excited about the reception that Mysterious Patterns is getting in the review press, but I am even more excited about the reception it is getting from kids.

“I never knew about these before!” “Oh, now I see. Cool.” Music to my ears.

Girls Prep Fractals-

st lukes fractals

Finding Fractals in the Classroom

St. Lukes Fractal Pop up Books--16Hello! My name is Mary Schmidt, and I’m Sarah’s intern for the Spring. I’m a senior at Millsaps College, and while I don’t know much about children’s literature I’ve enjoyed my first month learning about it!

On February 5 Sarah and I left for Baton Rouge, LA to make a visit to St. Luke’s Episcopal School. While there Sarah presented her newest book, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature, to Mrs. McIlwain’s fifth grade classes. The classes were both very welcoming and enjoyed learning about fractals (as well as some side facts about the wolfsnail!).

We arrived in Baton Rouge late Wednesday afternoon, just in time for a great dinner prepared by Julie Owen. After dinner Sarah showed me the ins and outs of the cameras that I would be using to film and take pictures with the next day. I’ve always appreciated photography, but I honestly did not know how much work went into the process (not to mention just setting the cameras up!). Thanks to Sarah’s husband Richard’s notes, though, I was able to set the camera up and even get a few good shots.

Sarah read the book from the F&Gs (folded and gathered, meaning the pages of the book without binding or a spine) to explain fractals to the classes. Each class had great questions about fractals — they were certainly a smart group of students. After reading the book Sarah led them through a fractal activity, one that she and Julie Owen will be presenting at the Fay B Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg, MS on April 10. The classes had great fun with the project, and we found that it was a great way for them to express their creativity and use their imaginations while engaging in math and science.mysterious patterns cover

Sarah also showed the classes some of the different drafts of the book, starting with the very first draft (see photo above). The classes were perhaps most interested in the process of writing a book, as they just finished a unit in which they wrote their own books. Based on their fractal projects I would not be surprised if there were a few potential authors in the class!

The visit was a huge hit (according to Julie’s son, Hobson), and Sarah, Julie, and I are all grateful to Mrs. McIlwain’s class for allowing us to visit! And a huge thanks to Julie and her family for hosting Sarah and me (an even bigger thanks for the delicious meals). We certainly appreciated it!

 

The F&Gs for Mysterious Patterns Arrived!

I’m very excited to have the glossy pages in my hands! (Here’s a good explanation of F&Gs from Editorial Anonymous.)

Mysterious Patterns F&Gs

All the back-and-forth we did on layout, design, and final nit-picky details was done by sending electronic documents back and forth. I always have to trust that the photographs are going to be clear, sharp, and crisp when they are printed on real paper. And, they are! I love it when a book comes together. (OK, so this one is not bound yet, but we are oh, so close!)

Another fun piece of news is that I’ve been invited to join the faculty of the Writing About Nature Retreat offered in May 2014 by the Highlights Foundation. Read about the other great faculty here, and consider joining us. I participated in similar workshops in 2007 and 2009. You can read some posts about previous workshops here.

Mysterious Patterns Cover

mysterious patterns cover

I’ve been very busy with a new part-time job, so I haven’t had time to keep you posted. The big news is that Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature went to press this week! This is a close-to-final draft of the cover. I’m eager to see the book between covers, which should happen in late December. That’ll be an advance copy. The publication date is April 1, 2014. My editors at Boyds Mills Press will have a copy to show at the American Library Association’s mid-winter conference in Philadelphia.

New Part-Time Job

I’m working as a communications consultant for Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union. Because Richard has worked for HOPE for the last 18 years, I know the work. I am coordinating some new social media efforts, and I’m blogging over there. You can come see my new work at HOPE here.

 

The Marketing Begins

I guess it’s time to write about work again. I’m in the lull between finalizing text and images for my newest book, Mysterious Patterns: Fractals in Nature, and seeing a layout. Today, I got an email from Boyds Mills Press that officially jumpstarts the marketing process: the author/illustrator questionnaire for books on the 2014 Spring List.

I’ve already been marketing for Mysterious Patterns in several ways:

daisy luck
Someone who knows more about children’s publishing than I do said the best marketing for already published titles is to get a new book out, so I’ve spent a good lot of time this year gearing up for a marketing campaign for Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature and Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator.