Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Creativity is a Process

"Inspiration is for amateurs -- every great idea I've ever had grew out of work itself. Sign on to a process and see where it takes you."

Chuck Close*

Art Nouveau-style bookplate,
by Otto Tragy

*Via CBS News

Friday, November 25, 2016

MMGM: Squashed

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

Squashed, by Joan Bauer
Written by Joan Bauer
Speak, Imprint of Penguin, 1992
Ages 8-12, 194 pages, Lexile 930
about 48,400 words

I was preparing my secret booster solution of one part buttermilk, two parts Orange Crush, and about to inject it into the thick stem of my world-class Big Max—technically a variety of squash, but often the winner in giant pumpkin contests. I called him Max for short. He was the biggest squash I had ever grown— 107 inches wide around his middle—which put him over three hundred pounds, approximately. Awesome was the only word for it, especially since this was only August. We had forty-six days to go until the Rock River Pumpkin Weigh-In and Harvest Fair, where I, at sixteen years of age, am the only teenager ever to enter the adult growing division. I was facing heavy competition for the blue ribbon from Cyril Poole, four-time Weigh-In champ and a deeply despicable person. If I didn't win, I was sure I'd die, which was why I couldn't bother with anything else right now."

All Ellie can think about is her prize pumpkin, Max. He's her confidant and security blanket in a way. Though Max is just a vegetable, Ellie goes to him for comfort and refuge from her teenage troubles. Sometimes, it's like he's taking care of her. Her dad doesn't understand her. She's awkward and nerdy, in a growers-kind-of-way. She is smitten with Wes, the new boy in school, and she is constantly at war about her desire to weigh less and her desire for comfort food.

Everything in Ellie's life is a dichotomy. She is driven and absolutely sure of herself, and yet she struggles with self-image and others' perception of her. Ellie says she can't bother with anything else, but the book is about just the opposite. She takes pains to build a relationship with her dad, she wants to impress Wes, she diets on and off again, and she spends precious time despising her rival pumpkin grower, Cyril Poole.

Ellie's strong voice, genuine teen-age mutability, and penchant for comparing life to a vegetable patch make this a book I couldn't put down. I just had to review it here because, while it was the first and probably not the best of Joan Bauer's amazing novels, it is largely unsung. Thankfully, Speak has put the story back in print with a new cover and a new chance at popularity. It's hard to get readers excited about a story where the MC grows a prize pumpkin (trust me, I've tried) but I am convinced they will see a part of themselves in her inner struggles, whether they live in the city or the heartland.

1. If you enjoyed Squashed, I recommend anything else by Joan Bauer, particularly Hope Was Here or Rules of the Road, which are even better. But don't take my word for it, read reviews by other MMGMers.

Rules of the Road, by Joan Bauer
Hope Was Here, by Joan Bauer
Soar, by Joan Bauer

Hope Was Here
Reviewed by The Paige Turner

Close To Famous
Reviewed by Jenni Enzor, Shannon Messenger, That's Another Story, and Mrs. Yingling Reads.

Reviewed by Always in the Middle

Almost Home
Reviews by The Hopeful Heroine and Mrs. Yingling Reads.

2. Feeling the need for comfort food? Joan Bauer includes a pumpkin bread recipe on her site. Bake some up and cuddle up for a cozy read. Or make a Beef and Pumpkin shepherd's pie for dinner, courtesy Nestle Very Best Baking.

3. The crux of what Joan's books represent is encapsulized in these ten short video clips from AdLit.

Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for November 28, 2016.

MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?

PPBF: Baseball Biography

There's no official Perfect Picture Book Friday today, but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce a few of the worthwhile picture books I've read this fall.

Today's theme is BASEBALL!

The William Hoy Story,
by Nancy Churnin and Jez Tuya
Also reviewed by Vivian Kirkfield
The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Jez Tuya

Albert Whitman & Company, 2016
Ages 5-8, 620L

Biography, Disability, Nonfiction,Sports

"William Scooped dust to dry the sweat off his slick rubber ball. He stared at the small X he'd chalked on the barn wall. He closed his eyes. He opened them and threw. Bam! He hit the mark. He stepped back so he could try again."

William Hoy loved playing ball. He was an outstanding athlete. He made it all the way to the major leagues, but when he got there he discovered there was a communication problem. Hoy invented a system of signals for the base coaches and the umpire.
William also happened to be deaf. His hand signals improved game play for both hearing and deaf players, and made it easier for the spectators to see what was happening.

I'm not sure how much of this is urban legend, but William Hoy was a great baseball player, and hand signals did improve the game for everyone. The story points out some of the challenges Hoy faced as well as his accomplishments. The folk-art style compliments the mood of the story. The text is a bit straightforward, but well-organized. Great for classrooms and at home.

The Kid From Diamond Street,
by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno
Also reviewed by Beth Anderson
The Kid From Diamond Street Written by Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by Steven Salerno

Clarion, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Ages 4-7, 40 pp, 880L

Biography, Nonfiction, Sports

"Born into a Philadelphia family in 1912, Edith was the youngest of ten kids. Nearly as soon as she could walk, Edith was playing ball with her big brothers and neighbors."

Edith Houghton started playing professional baseball when she was 10 years old. She practiced hard, traveled the world, and followed her dreams. Sport-a-phobes and baseball fans alike will cheer for this plucky kid from Philadelphia.

I loved this inspiring and empowering peek at the life of a famous teen. The MC feels like an authentic, yet extraordinary young girl. This book is a great example of using available data to create a flowing story while sticking to the facts. Bouncing text. Fun, animated illustration style.

Queen of the Diamond, by Emily Arnold McCully
Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story
Written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2015
Ages 5-8, 460L

Biography, Sports, History, Nonfiction

In 1900, baseball was America's national pastime. No other form of entertainment came close. Every boy owned a ball, a glove, and a dream.

Lizzie Murphy was a better baseball player than most of the boys she knew. Decades before Edith Houghton played on a girls pro team, Lizzie was playing for two different amateur boys' teams, eventually moving to the pros. She played in All-Star games and batted against Satchel Paige. Lizzie didn't just play, she earned a living. A worthwhile biography with jaunty, expressive text and lively illustrations.

Check out these and other Perfect Picture books at your local library.

Reviewed by Kirsten
Reviewed by Maria

Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Kirsten

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

5 Things to Be Thankful For

During the Thanksgiving season, we traditionally gather together and count our blessings: home family, prosperity. Many posts will focus on gratitude. Some will encourage readers to find things about which to be thankful even amid the trying circumstances of their lives. But I would like to submit to you this year, while those are good and noble ideas, there are 5 things we have probably neglected.

Thankful for family, by Joanne Roberts

Be grateful for hardship.
"Count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations." James 1:2

When was the last time you said thank-you when you were struggling against a rash reaction? A hateful response? An addiction?
Difficult things in our lives give us chances to be an example to others and make us better people. I absolutely look forward to the day when I won't have to think twice about saying and doing the right thing. Until then, I'm counting my difficulties as blessings. (James 1:12)

Be grateful for suffering.
"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings..." I Peter 4:13

This particular admonishment is speaking of persecution, but I think it can be equally applied to suffering wrongfully, condescension, or physical suffering. (I Peter 2:18,19)
Those who hold an opinion differing from the mainstream are continually blasted for their beliefs. Religious and moral freedoms are challenged on every side. The current political climate engenders strife, and while there is a general appeal for tolerance, those who speak the loudest deepen the divides rather than healing them. Complaining certainly isn't the answer. How would a thankful spirit transform our communication?

Be grateful for everyone in government.
"I exhort therefore, that, of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority;" I Timothy 2:1,2

 No matter your country or political leanings, this is a very clear call to specific, purposeful thankfulness for specific, generally objectionable, people.
I've had cause to meditate on this thought for the last eight years, and see the need to discipline ourselves to it in the next four.

Be grateful for those in opposition to us.
"Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:28

This one's especially hard for me. I get so tired of people who feel entitled. Self-righteousness fosters the opposite of gratefulness.
What would happen if we followed the rest of the commands in Luke 6?
"And unto him that smiteth thee on the cheek offer the other also; and to him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;"

Be grateful for everything.
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I Thessalonians 5:18

Everything. Fill in the blank.

This is only possible with supernatural intervention.
But if you want to do the impossible, then you need Someone who is capable of that. That's God.

I've lost some readers here. Sorry to hear that. I hope they'll be back.

For those of you still reading, here's where I'm coming from. I'm a born-again follower of Christ.*

I was recently reminded that God never asks us to do the impossible. He does that part. (Romans 8:28, Mark 10:27, Luke 1:37, Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 43:2,7)

*Email me with any questions. I'll do my best to give you the truth. Or you can look at this clear explanation of my beliefs.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Straightforward Writing

“Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.”
~ H.W. Fowler*
Raven bookplate available from Florentine Collections

*Via Rosi Hollinbeck on The Write Stuff

Sunday, November 20, 2016

MMGM: Mighty Jack

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

Mighty Jack, book 1,
a graphic novel by Ben Hatke
Mighty Jack

Written by Ben Hatke
Color by Alex Campbell and Hilary Sycamore of Sky Blue Ink

First Second Books, 2016
Grades 4-7, 208 pages

Magical Realism, Coming-of-age, Siblings, Special Needs

Mighty Jack is part one of a fantasy adventure graphic novel. Jack's single mom is trying her best to raise him and his mute little sister, Maddie. When a mysterious stranger at a flea market convinces Jack to buy a box of seed packets for Maddie, the two embark on a strange journey that begins with a patch of dirt in the backyard and ends somewhere beyond the beanstalk.

The seeds grow bizarre, magical plants which have a life of their own. When the garden becomes dangerous, Jack's neighbor Lilly lends her special brand of talent to train Jack, to protect Maddie, and to investigate the creatures growing in the back yard.

I love Ben Hatke's art and was blown away by the breathtaking colors of the artists of Sky Blue Ink. Also, Hatke's grasp on graphic storytelling is refreshing. Lots of illustrators have jumped on the graphic novel bandwagon, but few have yet learned the special skills for composing a page, wordless panels, and storytelling in comic format. In Mighty Jack, the story flows seamlessly from page to page. There are plenty of wordless spreads, but Hatke manages to convey emotion and suspense. His creatures are by turns frightening and adorable, but always cleverly designed. Yes, the story ends on a complete cliffhanger, but comic fans are used to the episodic nature of the medium. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a whole year for the next issue. Luckily, there's plenty to read in the meantime. I predict a strong fanart following for this series. And if you still can't get enough, hop over to Etsy and purchase some of Ben's original art. 

In lieu of the actual opening pages (which you can see on Amazon) I've included two pages of the inciting event.

 1. If you enjoyed Mighty Jack, there's more to come. Look for book 2 around September 2017. In the mean time, enjoy the comic capers on Ben's blog, picture books like Julia's House for Lost Creatures or Nobody Likes a Goblin, or more graphic novel work like those below.

Ben Hatke's other middle grade series,
Zita the Space Girl
Little Robot, a graphic novel for grades 2-4
2. Don't take my word for it, read what other MMGM reviewers have to say about Ben's work:

Zita the Space Girl
Faith, at Life's An Art!
Alyson, of Kidlit Frenzy

Legends of Zita the Space Girl
Heidi, the Geo Librarian

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl
Beth, at Beth Fish Reads

Mighty Jack, book 1
Karen on Ms. Yingling Reads

3. If you love comics and graphic novels, check out these Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations.

Storm in the Barn, by Matt Phelan,
 reviewed by My Brain on Books
Alamo All-Stars, by Nathan Hale,
reviewed on Word Spelunking
Anya's Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
Reviewed on Tales From the Raven
Ghosts, by Reina Telgemeier
Reviewed on Bookish Ambition


Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for November 21, 2016.

Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

International Games Day 2016

Stop by your library to share in the gaming fun, meet new people, and maybe learn a thing about yourself. Participating branches may have game times organized by age, life-sized gaming, or simply open free time with games available.

Thanks to the American Library Association!
Support your local library. Join in the fun. Celebrate International Games Day.

Last year I made some suggestions for those of you new to the gaming world. This year, I thought I'd introduce you to some unsung illustrators, those who create the art for board games and cards. Along the way, you might find a new game worth trying.

Dixit, by Asmodee Games
Don't tell me you haven't played yet! Great for all ages, Dixit is a party game, sort of like Apples to Apples or Balderdash with pictures.

And what pictures!

Each of the cards has a bizarre, surreal illustration, so half the fun is staring at the artwork. Even better, there are a dozen expansion packs with, you guessed it, more cards. For more info, there's a good description on Thirsty Meeples.

My favorite artist may be Xavier Collette, but I love Maria Cardouat's original cards too. Other illustrators include Franck Dion, Pierô, Carine Hinder, and Jérôme Pélissier.

A sample of Dixit card art.

DragonMaster, by E. S. Lowe
OK. It's not fair for me to show you this game, because it's pretty rare, but we love Dragonmaster for its adaptability and its art.

Basically a standard pitch-type trick-taking game, this fantasy version offers four new suits (Nomads, Warriors, Dragonlords, and Druids), new characters (from the fool through the king), and plastic gems to keep score. (Just like the ones used in Lazer Attack. Remember that one?)

Our kooky family has invented almost a dozen variations of this game at last count. You can find them explained on Whatsits Galore.
I'm convinced this game's appeal comes from the fabulous artwork by Bob Pepper, Mid-Century psychedelic paperback book cover legend.

A sampling of Dragonmaster cards
Courtesy 2 Warps to Neptune

And a random sampling of other greats

Guillotine action cards illustrated by Quinton Hoover

Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space,Art by Giulia Ghigini

Tokaido, art by Xavier Durin AKA Naiiade

Mission Red Planet, 1st ed.
art by Christophe Madura

Mission Red Planet, 2nd ed.
Art by Andrew Bosley

Game cafes are popping up all over the country. You can stop by to play  or sample anything in their vast collections, usually for an hourly fee. These are great places to meet and relax, eat and laugh. Experiment to find your favorite games, then buy them at your local games store.
My current favorite is The Games Keep [561 E Gay St, West Chester, PA 19380, Phone:(484) 905-5533]
Local game stores, like local book stores need your support.
Can't find one? Try the Steve Jackson Games store finder or this one from Fireside Games, or Rio Grande's locator for a retailer near you. Online, I like Funagain Games. What are you waiting for?

Happy International Games Day!

Please leave your family's favorite past time in the comments. 
We love to try new games.

Friday, November 18, 2016

PPBF: Mira Forecasts the Future

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick 
Mira Forecasts the Future, by Kell Andrews and Lissy Martin
Mira Forecasts the Future

Written by Kell Andrews
Illustrated by Lissy Marlin

Sterling Children's Books, 2016
Grades K-3, 40 pp, Lexile 550

Science, Weather, Careers 

Mira couldn't tell the future. That wouldn't bother most people in town, who lived their lives front-ways forwards with few surprises along the way. But Mira wasn't most people

She was the daughter of Famous Madame Mirabella, the Miracle by the Sea. Folks came from all over to hear their futures.

"For some, telling the future is a gift. For Mira, it's a science."
Mira and her mom live in a boardwalk beach community. Mira's mom tells fortunes with her crystal ball. But Mira has no such talent. She becomes increasingly frustrated trying to imitate her mother. Finally Mira's inventions and unique interests allow her to set up her own booth predicting the weather. When a local competition hinges on Mira's expertise, she finds her hard work pays off and learns to trust her instincts.

What I Love:
Impossible not to love, this book is fresh and funny and utterly adorable. Perfect for twenty-first century girls and boys, too. This book is fiction, but sprinkles in nonfiction elements about predicting the weather. Readers are introduced to windsocks and barometers and such, but all within the framework of the story. The author doesn't stop with the obvious, Mira realizing her talent. She includes stakes which involve the community and a climax in which the main character must choose and act on her choices.
The art has a lively animated quality. The setting is slightly vintage, but the color choices and style are perfectly modern-day. STEAM-worthy and just plain fun.

1. Author Kell Andrews has a host of printable downloads for predicting the weather as well as other resources for this book.

2. Did you know the National Weather Service has a spot Just For Kids? Or check out Weather Wiz Kids posts on how meteorologists forecast the weather and other resources. Ducksters has more detailed information on meteorology for a slightly older audience.

3. has a blank downloadable 7 day forecast you can use in conjunction with the weather-related activities available on iGameMom. Or make your own barometer with instructions from Deceptively Educational.

4. Homeschoolers will find useful free lessons on Homeschool Scientist and Free Homeschool Lessons, plus an extensive list of free worksheets and experiments on Homeschool Giveaways.

5. I also recommend these books: Bel the Weather Girl series, Weather Clues in the Sky, by Belinda Jensen and Renee Kurilla; What is a Forecast, by Jennifer Boothroyd; The Weather Wizard's Cloud Book, by Jim Duncan and Louis Rubin; and The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting, by Breen and Friestad.

6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Grade Onederful
Reviewed by Sue

Reviewed by Keila
Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Andrea
Reviewed by Susanna

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, November 18, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bookish Foundation

"Books give us the gift to imagine and the foundation to leap into a life we conceive, believe and achieve for ourselves."
-Johnette Downing*

Hanns Bastanier bookplate courtesy Ex Libris Argentina

*Via Picture Book Month

Monday, November 14, 2016

MMGM: The Human Body

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

First in a new Smithsonian series from Viking,
The Human Body, by H. P. Newquist
The Story of How We Protect, Repair, and Make Ourselves Stronger
The Human Body
The Story of How We Protect, Repair, and Make Ourselves Stronger

Written by H. P. Newquist
Smithsonian: Invention & Impact (Book 1)

Viking Books for Young Readers, 2015
Ages 8 and up
112 pages, Lexile 1130

Non-fiction, Science

“We’re going to see how flesh and bone have given way to wood and metal, glass and gold, carbon fiber and computers,” says the introduction to this overview of medical innovations. The first section, “Body Parts,” which takes up more than half of the book, focuses on the history of prosthetics and replacements, from glass eyes to dental implants to artificial hearts; the middle section, “The Medicine Cabinet,” focuses on soap, aspirin, and antibiotics; a final section, “Tools and Treatments,”  talks about the development of surgery, ways to peek inside the body and its processes from stethoscopes to MRIs, and vaccines. ... Reproductions of period and contemporary images, sometimes adding a gross and/or a cool factor, enliven the pages; a list of web and print resources and an index are included.

Overview courtesy Project Muse

This book focuses on what humans do to repair and improve body parts and functions. I find that a fascinating approach and a great way to organize the material so kids will want to read it. The material is never dry, but enthusiastic and optimistic. Middle schoolers are bound to oh and ah over the history of prosthetics, the torture-like tools of early medicine, and the technological advances presented in this collection.

Did you know eyes were made from more than just glass or porcelain? False eye balls have been manufactured from rubber, cork, bone, wax, wool, and even gold. Did you know where the inventor of contact lenses got his inspiration? He realized there was no infection around the glass shards imbedded in fighter pilots eyes. Gross!

Did you know the Egyptians were some of the first to use false teeth, but they were for mummified bodies, not the living! Early false teeth in other civilizations were carved from sea shells or collected from dead people.

Did you know how early doctors scraped the pus from cow pustules, inserting it into cuts on their patients' arms to prevent further infection? How many were ridiculed and arrested?

Find out about mummification. See the progression from peg legs to modern running blades. Learn how aspirin finds the headache and what happened to Marie Curie's notebooks.

The author relates a smattering of cutting-edge examples as well, from the scientist who has implanted a communication device in both his and his wife's arms which they can feel anywhere in the world, to the mid-western dad who was able to download and print a prosthetic hand for his middle-schooler—for under $20!

As a creationist, I did find a few misleading "facts" and I shuddered at the philosophy that science should be used to "improve" the body's design. But the author presents even these viewpoints without moral comment. He never tackles the consequences of past or present methods. I see that as an opportunity for discussion rather than a disappointing lack of ethics. I enjoyed the author's passion for the subject and his presentation, allowing readers to form their own judgments.

This is the ultimate coffee table book. Browse. Marvel. Repeat.

Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for November 14, 2016.

MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?

Friday, November 11, 2016

PPBF: Welcome To New Zealand. A Nature Journal

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Welcome to New Zealand, by Sandra Morris
"A guide to recording amazing discoveries in your own backyard."
Welcome to New Zealand,
A Nature Journal

Written and illustrated by Sandra Morris
Candlewick Press, 2015
Grades 3-7, 48 pp, Lexile 920

Nature, Art, Nonfiction

       Nature is full of surprises. To discover them, all you need is curiosity and sharp eyes. Have you ever noticed that ladybugs have different numbers of spots? Or that leaves can be pointed or round, long or short, soft or hard? What about birds? Could you describe the bills or feet of the species you see every day?
       Keeping a nature journal is a great way to develop your observation skills. It will help you learn to look closely at the amazing natural world around you!

Morris uses the landscape of New Zealand to inspire young readers to inspect and catalog the world around them. The book beckons readers to become observers, looking up to the skies, down to the weeds, and out to the birds in the trees. Her soft watercolor sketches and pencil drawings bring the details of nature up-close. She explores the diversity in her own native surroundings, all the while encouraging readers to do the same in their own neighborhoods.

What I Love:
I thought this was a New Zealand encyclopedia, but it is much more an exploration of creative observation. Just a cursory glance at the pages made me want to run outside with paper and pencil. It had the same reaction in the kids I showed it to. An indefinable something make the subject attainable to even the most fledgling creative. Is it the honesty in the drawing? The unassuming tone of the design? The straightforward text? Or perhaps the sheer beauty in the shape of a beech twig or the color of a scallop shell.
The title may be misleading, but the subheading, A guide to recording amazing discoveries in your own backyard, is apt. I'd love to see the author explore this format in other locations, with new instructions and ideas for journaling.

Super Healthy Kids
Ultimate Trail Mix Guide
1. Read the review by a 12 yr old named Maia on We Love Books. Or a glowing review from Bookology. ILA recommends it as one of the best science books of 2015.

2. The Handbook of Nature Study has a thorough guide to teaching children to keep a nature journal, step-by-step, with free downloads, and includes links, monthly activities, and student examples. Need more help getting started? Download the journal template from Sierra Club.
3. Science teachers should find the resources they need on  Exploring Nature, over 5.000 pages of activities, diagrams, investigations, and worksheets.
4. I learned to draw nature from illustrator Jim Arnosky. He taught me to observe the different patterns of falling leaves, the shape of dripping water, the light and shadows produced on a river's current. His website includes links to his own travel journals, drawing lessons, science books, coloring pages, and more.
5. Carol Coogan is another artist / backyard naturalist. Explore her work for kids on her website or in an interview titled, "Getting Your Kids Out Drawing From Nature" on Wired.
6. Need more inspiration? I also recommend exploring The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and the journals of Beatrix Potter.
7. The Magnifying Glass has compiled a checklist she uses with her own kids, and Stories and Children has published a personal approach to getting your kids to explore the outdoors.
8. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Beth

Reviewed by Barbara
Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Sue
Reviewed by Kirsten

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Susanna
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, November 11, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Note: I received a review copy of Welcome To New Zealand to read for the Cybils Award judging. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s
16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”