Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Awards

I hope you’ll forgive my absence. The downside of going away can be getting behind on the home front and, sometimes, getting sick. Douglas and I had a hard time getting back from Seattle (no thanks to weather and Delta’s trouble dealing with the logistics of weather). Then, I came down with a bug. I’m back, and I hope to catch up on all the things I’ve been doing — including WRITING!!

Here I am with Keith Baker, the author and illustrator of LMNO Peas, at the 2011 Best Books for Kids Award Party in Seattle. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature was nominated in the nonfiction category.

Best Books for Kids Finalists

The 2011 Best Books for Kids were: We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (Read Aloud), How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (nonfiction), Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill (Multicultural), and The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Conner. You can see a list of all nominees here. I enjoyed spending a few hours with people who love books and are committed to getting good books into the hands of all children. I hope to be back in Seattle one day and Page Ahead will be on my list of places to visit.


Books nominated for 2011 Best Books For Kids

more nominated books

More Nominated Books

more and more nominated books

Even more nominated books.


Page Ahead

Page Ahead Display

Darby DuComb

Darby DuComb, Page Ahead board president

Cecelia McGowan

Cecelia McGowan, a Best Books judge

Best Books judge nonfiction

Stefanie Malone, a Best Books judge.

Best Books judge helper

A Best Books judge.

Best Books Judge

Marilyn Carpenter, a Best Books judge.


Off to Seattle for Page Ahead Book Party

page ahead logoToday I leave for Seattle to attend the Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Award Ceremony. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a finalist in the nonfiction category. I’ll be visiting with some friends I’ve known since the day I started kindergarten in Evanston, IL. It’ll be a quick trip, but my son, Douglas, is coming along and we are going to pack as much in as we can.

Page Ahead To Honor Growing Patterns

Growing Patterns is a finalist in the nonfiction category for Page Ahead’s Best Books for Kids 2011. Page Ahead is an organization that puts books into the hands of kids in Washington state. I love groups like Page Ahead! I will be headed to Seattle next month to attend Page Ahead’s Party at the Library Bistro, which looks like a great space to celebrate books.

growing patterns cover

More Thank You Notes

During my recent trip to San Francisco, I visited St. Matthews Episcopal Day School. You can read about the visit here. I received a large envelope of thank you notes. Here are a few:

st mat 1

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Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival

As always, I had a wonderful three days at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in Hattiesburg. In today’s post I’ll just talk about my session: “It’s a Snap!” I talked about ways to use digital photography to get kids excited about reading, writing, books in general, and nature.

Sarah doing It's a Snap at CBF I shared some photographs of mine, some activities I’ve used with success in classrooms and libraries, and some photographs taken by students.

Hands on at CBFFor the final segment of workshop, attendees used their cameras (or borrowed mine) to take some photographs of some things I brought in for display.

camera talk

trying out photography

sarah tries to figure out camera settings

I very much appreciate the help I got from CBF ambassador Sarah M. Walsh, a graduate student at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She took the photographs during my session and helped with set-up and take down.
Sarah M Walsh with Sarah Campbell

Here are some of the photographs taken by attendees using my cameras. Nice, huh?
wasp nest
nautilus red
falling apart log

If you were in the session and you want to share some of the photographs you took with your camera, please contact me via email here.

Growing Patterns on Bank Street List

The marketing director at Boyds Mills Press forwarded the news today that Growing Patterns is in The Bank Street College’s 2011 edition of The Best Children’s Books of the Year. It is so very nice to be included.

CBF logo On Wednesday, I begin three days in Hattiesburg for The Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. On the first day, I will present a workshop titled, “It’s a Snap!” It is designed to help librarians and teachers use digital photography to get kids excited about reading, writing, and books.

Each of the three days, I will sign books at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on the USM campus.

I always get to see good friends who are librarians, writers, and teachers. I look forward to this festival all year. I’ll take lots of pictures!


Growing Patterns with Stickers

I have time for a quick post today. One of the things I got in San Francisco was a whole bunch of stickers that say Outstanding Science Trade Book. I affixed them to the copies of Growing Patterns we sold at the NSTA convention, but I was eager to get a new image of the book featuring its stickers: the OSTB and the ALA Notable.

GP cover with stickers

In addition the partnering with the Children’s Book Council to select Outstanding Science Trade Books, the NSTA also has a program called NSTA Recommends. Growing Patterns is an NSTA Recommends title and the review appears here.

NSTA Annual Conference

I blogged about my school visits in the San Francisco area, but once I moved on to the NSTA conference, I stopped posting updates. There were a few reasons for this: First, I moved into The Palace Hotel and they charged for internet in the rooms (I still don’t understand why budget hotels provide free internet and breakfast and so-called luxury hotels charge through the nose for both). Second, I was working from breakfast to supper and falling asleep after a few clicks of my Kindle.

Boyds Mills Press rented a corner booth in the conference exhibit hall and my editor, Andy Boyles (pictured above helping M. make a Fibonacci Folding Book), and I were responsible for greeting conferees. Andy arranged display copies of all of BMP’s science titles around the walls of the booth. We set up a table in the front of the booth with display copies of Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator and Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. I put out my two mini-quilts (here and here), some private eye loupes, a pinecone, a nautilus shell, a sample Fibonacci Folding Book, and a stack of my postcards. I’ve gone to two other national conferences, the 2009 American Library Association meeting in Chicago and the 2010 International Reading Association convention (also in Chicago). In those cases, I was one of many BMP authors and illustrators who signed books. I was scheduled for an hour on each day. This time, I was signing all day every day. We left the booth only for three presentations (two featured information about 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Books) and a lunch meeting. I met lots of interesting people — some who teach science to kids, others who teach teachers how to teach science to kids, and people who work with organizations that promote science education.

We sold all the copies of Growing Patterns that BMP shipped and could have sold at least a dozen more. It helped that many teachers had seen the feature article about the 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 in Science & Children, NSTA’s magazine for elementary school teachers. Andy and I had a great time having lunch with current, former, and future members of the Outstanding Science Trade Book selection committee, including Suzanne Flynn, J. Carrie Launius, Betty Crocker, Steve Rich, Karen Ostlund, Kristin Rearden, and Juliana Texley. We also met Lauren Jonas and Emily Brady, who are on staff at NSTA and help coordinate the NSTA Recommends program and the OSTB list. We learned about the process and met some great people. Most of them seem to be on their second or third career. They started in classrooms teaching kids and then went into either administration or into teaching teachers at the college or post-graduate level.

They had stories about using trade books in classrooms. Juliana told me about the time she took flowers on an airplane so she could use them in a presentation about my book. They didn’t like the dry environment and shriveled beyond use. She had to hit a grocery store for replacements. One plant she bought was a peace lily (featured in the book to illustrate 1). When it was time to go home, she put it in her suitcase. “I threw some clothes away and made room for it,” she said. “It’s still doing fine.”

Right after lunch, I participated in a session featuring the 2011 NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books led by some of the teachers at the luncheon. Other authors with winning books who participated were: Debbie S. Miller, who wrote Survival at 40 Below, and Seymour Simon, who wrote Global Warming.

The final session Andy and I attended was led by Seymour Simon and centered on the changes in children’s book publishing being driven by electronic devices. Simon and his wife, Liz Nealon, who has worked in many creative capacities over the years including with Sesame Street, talked about the growing numbers of children and families who have access to electronic reading devices such as Kindles, iPads, Nooks, iPhones, etc. Simon demonstrated how he has begun publishing some of his out-of-print titles in electronic format. His talk was very inspiring and I left there thinking about how I could get some e-publishing going.

I mentioned it to Richard when I got home and he’s spent a good amount of time this week building an iPhone app for Wolfsnail. How cool is that?!

Two Oakland Schools: ICS and TCN

Today I drove down to Oakland to visit fourth grade students at the International Community School and Think College Now. Thank you, Ms. Woodard and Ms. Hatscheck. Your students asked great questions and gave me tons of things to think about. Read about my visit with students at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School here.
Sarah with fourth grader at ICS
4 2 ICS
another ICS 4
ICS 4 again
ICS again again
ics closeup
more ics

St. Matthew’s School Visit

I spent the morning at St. Matthew’s Episcopal School in San Mateo, CA. I talked about Wolfsnail and Growing Patterns with two groups (fourth and fifth graders, and sixth and seventh graders). I found the school through an old friend, whose three kids attend St. Matthew’s.

St. Matthews
from back st. matthews