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Growing Patterns

Summer Reading at Eudora Welty Library

I visited Eudora Welty Library on Monday to launch the 2015 Summer Reading Program. We read Wolfsnail and Growing Patterns and I brought along Private Eye magnifying loupes for everyone to try.

Eudora Welty summer reading

Eudora Welty Summer Reading Program-7345

Mysterious Patterns Finalist for The Cook Prize

MP cover Such wonderful news came in last week. Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature  was chosen as one of four finalists for The Cook Prize for best STEM picture book.

This prize is given by The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. It is unique among prizes for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) books in that the winner is chosen by third and fourth grade students. If you are a teacher or librarian and want your students to participate, please click here to register.

The other finalists this year are Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle by Cheryl Bardoe, illus. by Alan Marks (Charlesbridge), Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George, illus. by Wendell Minor (Harper), and Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, illus. by Gilbert Ford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Cheryl Bardoe, author of Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, is also a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism’s master’s program. She and I did a fireside together four years ago when I was in Evanston promoting Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Number in Nature. Read about that here.

 

Korean Edition of Growing Patterns

Look what was waiting for me when I got home today: my first look at the Korean Edition of Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.

Korean Growing PatternsThe Korean edition was published by Woongjin Think Big Co., Ltd. Here’s a look at an inside page:

inside GP Korean

I don’t read Korean, but I have some friends who do. I’ll have to see what they think.

New Website

Richard built me a new website. Click here to check it out and see what you think. Please let me know if something is not working.

Louisiana Book Festival

I’ll be in Baton Rouge Friday and Saturday for the Louisiana Book Festival. Come see my presentation on Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature at 10:15 a.m. in the State Library’s First Floor Seminar Center. At 11:15 a.m., I’ll be signing books at the Barnes & Noble Jr. tent. For more about the festival, click here.

 

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!

Growing Patterns to be Published in Korean!

Great news is coming in fast and furious around here. It’s hard to keep up with the reporting.

growing patterns overGrowing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature will be published in Korean by a Korean publisher.

Here’s how I found out: I received a nice check in the mail from my publisher with no explanatory letter. The memo on the check just said “Advanced Pay.” I sent off an email to my editor asking about the mystery check. She passed it on to our rights manager who told us that the Boyds Mills Press international team had sold the rights to publish a hardcover edition of Growing Patterns in Korean to a Korean publisher. Wow!

My check is an advance against royalties so the hope is that eventually, there might be further royalties from the deal. I haven’t seen any royalties from my first foreign rights deal, which was to publish Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator in China in 2011.  I keep scouring the twice-a-year royalty statements, and occasionally bugging my editor, who then bugs the international team. I’ll keep you posted.

Visit to New York

Next week Sarah will be traveling to New York to make a few school visits.  The first visit she’ll be making will be to The Dalton School, where she will be speaking to first graders about Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator.  The First Graders at The Dalton School are actually familiar with Sarah’s work already because Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a part of their curriculum! Last year, some first graders did the Fibonacci Folding Book project.

Sarah will then be at the Girls Prep Charter School in the Bronx. She’ll be spending a few days there working with second graders on writing non-fiction books.  They will be exploring the work of an author, specifically tying in how authors and illustrators choose their topics, how to write with a purpose in mind, and how to put one’s research into their own words. For this presentation Sarah will be highlighting Wolfsnail. Also at Girls Prep, Sarah will also be working with the fourth grade writing club, doing the fractal pop-up book project we taught at St. Luke’s in Baton Rouge.

We’ll certainly miss Sarah here down South, but it will be exciting to hear about her time in New York!

School Visits to Prentiss Christian and Lawrence County High School

Prentiss Christian and Lawrence County-

This past Thursday Sarah visited Prentiss Christian School and Lawrence County High School to promote teen writing contest, the theme for which is “Animals and/or Nature.”  Students are encouraged to write either a short story about nature or a nonfiction essay about the theme. This contest is a partnership between The New Walden Writers Retreat and Environmental Arts Center and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality with support from the Jefferson Davis and Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the Central MS RC&D Council.  While at Prentiss Christian School Sarah gave a brief presentation on her books to introduce the students to the process of writing nature-focused non-fiction.  She shared both Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator and Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature, both of which are non-fiction books.  Although her work is non-fiction, I noticed that while we were at St. Luke’s in Baton Rouge that her work seemed to unanimously inspire fiction work from the students. I wonder what it is about these scientific and mathematical concepts in nature that inspires us to write creatively?

Prentiss Christian and Lawrence County--5

 

Special thanks to Hope Daley of the Jefferson Davis County Soil & Water Conservation District and Mandy Callaway of the Lawrence County SWCD for organizing these visits, and another thanks to Chuck Jepsen and Laura Beiser of the Central MS Resource Conservation and Development Council for facilitating them! Hopefully the wonderful weather (and Sarah’s wonderful presentations) will inspire the students to get out and start writing about nature!

Young Readers Center

I visited the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress this week, and look what I found. Wolfsnail! Actually, I wasn’t surprised. I met the founding director of the Young Readers Center at a conference a few years back and heard her pitch for books. She had no budget, but wanted to build a collection of books in the Library of Congress that kids could actually take off the shelves and read when they visited. So, I sent her a copy.

wolfsnail at LOC

I learned that they don’t have a copy of Growing Patterns, so that’s one of my jobs for this week. While I was at the LOC, I spent some time in the Science Reading Room. It is a lovely space, and reminded me of the many great libraries I’ve had the privilege of studying in — especially Northwestern University’s Charles Deering Library, the New Bodlein Library at Oxford University, and the Corpus Christi College Library.

I was only in Washington, D.C., for a few hours, tagging along with Richard on a business trip. We flew to DC, where he met with members of Congress and I visited the LOC, and then took the train to Baltimore, where I did some site-seeing, reading, and R&R. It reminded me of the summer I graduated from college (25 years ago) when I spent a term in DC covering the Capitol for a Mississippi newspaper. Several of my classmates and I spent a day up in Baltimore. Lovely times.

Though it rained much of the time we were in Baltimore, Richard and I managed two nice meals out — one Italian and one Thai. I read a few New Yorkers, Big Brother by Lionel Shriver, and started Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

We’re working hard to finish the images for the fractal manuscript. This one is proving hard to put to bed, but I think it’ll be all the better for it.

First Graders Use Fibonacci Folding Book App

growing patterns over

First graders at The Dalton School in New York City did a recent reading, writing, and art project using our Fibonacci Folding Book App for the iPad. They took photographs, wrote Fibonacci poems, and made Fibonacci Folding Books. You can see their work here.

Regular readers of the blog may remember that Julie Owen and I developed the Fibonacci Folding Book Project, and that Richard turned it into an app for iPads and Android tablets.

The Fibonacci Folding Book project is also available on my website in the section labeled For Teachers. I love hearing about it when teachers and librarians use the educational materials we’ve created for Growing Patterns and Wolfsnail.

Read a Book, Make a Book

I spent Saturday leading a workshop for a dozen Greenville Public School teachers titled “Read a Book, Make a Book.” The workshop was organized and paid for by the Greenville Arts Council. I appreciate all the help I got from Megan Hines, the education director for the arts council.

I taught three book forms: the instant book, the Wolfsnail on the Move Book (a scroll form), and the Fibonacci Folding Book (an accordion form). I shared the stories behind each of my books to give teachers a window into the creative process of a writer of nonfiction, and to empower them to lead their students through the same process.

writing

We used Private Eye loupes to examine natural objects.

examining the nautilus

It was a cold, dreary day in the Delta so we didn’t spend time outside. We did a few exercises that teachers can use to prepare students for nature journaling outside, including the 20-second nature break.

observing, writing

A highlight of the day was making our Wolfsnail on the Move books.

green crayon

D reading Wolfsnail

illustrating

green pencil

wavy brown

orange

L reading

D reading

C reading

R reading

J reading

D reading

finished book

wolfsnail on the move book

d's book

G 's book

I used some portions of the Digging Deep curriculum I developed this year with the Mississippi Museum of Art. I thank the museum education department’s Elizabeth Williams and Dorian Pridgen for sending copies of the curriculum, other MMA materials related to schools, and door prizes for teachers.