The Stuff of Stars

Stardust! We are made of stardust! What a mind-boggling concept! Today’s Perfect Picture Book takes a complex topic, makes it beautifully simple, and aims it straight at the heart. Amazing! Title: The Stuff of Stars Written by: Marion Dane Bauer Illustrated by: Ekua Holmes Candlewick 2018 Suitable for ages: 5-10 Themes/topics: universe, nature, stardust Opening: … More The Stuff of Stars

100 Bugs!

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! Here’s a lovely and creative counting book that just might inspire you to get out in nature before school starts. It’s also a great book for teachers to start off the year! Congratulations to Julie LaCombe, winner of Adventures to School by Miranda Paul! Next week, be sure to stop … More 100 Bugs!

Du Iz Tak?

Here’s a fun one for Perfect Picture Book Friday! Title: Du Iz Tak? Written and illustrated by: Carson Ellis Candlewick, 2016, fiction Suitable for ages: 4-8 Themes/topics: nature, insects, life cycle, plants, language Opening: Du iz tak? Ma Nazoot. Brief synopsis (from Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies … More Du Iz Tak?

Mining the Setting: “In the Canyon: How Setting Became Story” by Liz Garton Scanlon

With the “Paging Through the Parks” celebration of the 100th anniversary of  U.S. National Parks during August, it’s the perfect time to examine setting. Liz Garton Scanlon  shares her experience mining the setting for story. What she found sprang from her own experience and memories, and how the setting had touched her.  In the Canyon: How Setting … More Mining the Setting: “In the Canyon: How Setting Became Story” by Liz Garton Scanlon

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This week –  a middle grade favorite. And next week, I’ll be launching a monthly series from published authors entitled “Mining for Heart.” Stay tuned. Title: Pax Written by: Sara Pennypacker Illustrated by: Jon Klassen Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins, 2016, fiction, 288 pages Suitable for ages: 8-12 Lexile: 760 Themes/topics: nature, war, family, relationships, pets, grief Opening: … More Pax by Sara Pennypacker


How much do you know about the puzzling platypus? Title: Platypus Written by: Sue Whiting Illustrated by: Mark Jackson Candlewick Press, 2016, nonfiction Suitable for ages: 5+ Themes/topics: animals, nature, Australia Opening: Beyond the snaking bend in the creek, where the water lazes in a still green pool, a scraggly gum tree perches on the … More Platypus