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New & Noteworthy News!


Here in Florida many animals are on the move--some coming and some going! Not far from where I now live, hundreds of manatees have left the warm springs they migrate to every year for the winter and are journeying "home." Monarch butterflies coming from Mexico are landing on my penta flowers before they continue north, laying eggs on milkweed that will nourish the next generation that will make it all the way to Canada
And soon, loggerhead turtles will be laying eggs on our Florida beaches. The mystery is "how do these animals know where to go?" They don't have a GPS or maps. The wonder of it all is truly amazing!

Some years ago, I wrote "Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration" which is still going strong, especially in the spring and fall. If you'd like to order a paperback or hardcover copy from Amazon.com, just click on the cover. And you can also learn more about animal migration and download activities to use with my book on Carol Malnor's blog this month at www.Carolscommoncore.com.
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Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated picture books that make people think and imagine, and he did most of them in rhyme. Although his first book "And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street" was rejected by 27 different publishers before being accepted by Vangard Press in 1937, today, twenty-four years after he died, schools all over America are reading one or more of his 44 published books, celebrating the amazing Theodor Geisel, who never gave up. What an inspiration to kids, and grownups, like me!

When I submitted my first book, "Marsh Music" back in 1997, about frogs making music in a pond, I was told "Most publishers don't like rhyme. Try writing it in prose and maybe it will get published." Well, it did get published in 2000, in rhyme, which is my passion, and it's how I continue to write most of my informational picture books--20 books later. (Four are in prose, but they even have lots of repetition, which young readers enjoy.)

Writing in rhyme isn't easy, and you have to be careful not to make it forced. Also the meter has to be right. Maybe because I enjoy music so much, I sometimes get a little too sing-songy, and have to watch myself. But, because I used to teach young children and read lots of books aloud as a children's librarian, I know how much they love to join in with rhythm and rhyme. When I come up with an idea, I really like saying what I have to say in this way--it's something that really works for me, and that I'm comfortable with..

Books that rhyme help children hear and learn sounds and sometimes they even figure out what is coming next with predictable text. I'll never sell millions of books, like Dr. Seuss, but I love what I do and hope that my rhymes help young children learn to READ!, And because I love writing about nature and animals, I hope they, like me, feel a sense of wonder about the world we live in!

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Five years ago, Nadine Lipman, retired head of children's services at Waterford Public Library in Connecticut, came up with the idea of celebrating a special day every February called "Take Your Child to the Library Day." With the help of Caitlin Augusta, from the Stratford Public Library and the support of many others, this initiative encourages families everywhere to take their children to their local library. It was launched on Feburary 4, 2012. Over 120 libraries participated, with more than 15,000 attendees-- a tremendous success for a grassroots initiative in its first year.

Currently, more than 723 libraries both nationally and internationally plan special events and programs on the first Saturday in February.

Public libraries are stocked with so many books waiting to be discovered. If you haven't gotten there yet, make it a point to explore all the wonderful things your library has to offer. Get your children their own library cards if they don't already have one, so they can check out a whole stack of different books. Hopefully one of them will be mine.

I'm hoping my new spring release, "Over on the Farm" will soon be on the shelves! In the meantime, you can find most of my other books in the picture book section under "B." However, some have been categorized non-fiction, since I combine fact and fiction. For example, Seashells by the Seashore can be found in the 594 section, Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun in 523 and What's in the Garden in 635. Of course, if you can't find what you're looking for "ask a librarian!"

For more information about this very important event go to:



P.S. Click on the cover of "Over on the Farm" to link directly to Amazon.com

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I have fond memories of winter snow days in upstate New York. Other folks must miss the cold (somewhat) too, since my book Over in the Arctic, Where the Cold Winds Blow always sells best this time of year. Click on the cover to check it out.

When the first really good snowfall came, my students and I couldn’t wait to make angels in the snow! And we filled spray bottles with water and added drops of food coloring to each bottle to paint on the snow!

We also collected freshly fallen snow and made snow cones. Make small snowballs, put them in a bowl and quickly go inside. Place the snowballs on sugar cones and top with fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate. Or you can add some sugar, vanilla and a little milk to a big bowl of snow and make “snow ice-cream.”

Do you know the story of Wilson A. Bentley, a Vermont farmer who had a passion for studying snowflakes? Check out the Caldecott Medal Book Snowflake Bentley. You can study snowflakes too: Freeze a piece of black construction paper so you have it ready for the next snow fall. Have a magnifying glass handy. Go outside and let some snowflakes fall on the frozen paper. Before the snowflakes melt, examine them. Are there any two alike?

I miss not being able to find animal tracks in the snow here in Florida. But we do find animal tracks in the sand along our beaches, especially those of birds, and we build "snowmen" out of sand. But somehow a cup of hot chocolate after being outside doesn't quite taste the same.

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Sometimes we lose ourselves amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the meaningful traditions that we older folks remember get lost in the shuffle.
But these traditions need to be shared with today's kids as you relax and have fun TOGETHER.

Whip up holiday cheer by baking and decorating cookies. Share the results with friends and neighbors. Or surprise an elderly neighbor or your child's teacher with your cookie creations.

When our daughter was growing up, we would buy a real tree bundled with roots and all. After Christmas we'd put it in the ground where we had dug a hole before the ground hardened. It was great fun to watch each tree grow. By the time our daughter was a teenager, we had 10 pine trees growing along our driveway.

Frank Lowenstein at The Nature Conservancy says that there are tangible benefits to "encouraging a connection to trees and nature." Research shows that kids who spend time outdoors grow up healthier, happier and smarter than kids who don't.

I have fond memories of reading to my young daughter at Christmas as we snuggled in bed and "climbed" into a book. She would slowly turn the pages, point to words and touch the pictures, enjoying the story that the illustrations brought to life. (The "feel" of the book and size and shape can't be standardized into an electronic format.)

Why not start an annual tradition of reading together on Christmas Eve?.
Get out your favorite holiday stories and take turns passing the book around so everyone can read a page. And, foster a love of reading by giving books as gifts. Remember "a book is a present you can open again and again."

Of course, this time of year music is everywhere -- so gather together as a family and SING!! Spread the joy of holiday songs to others by caroling in the neighborhood or at a local nursing home or hospital.

Give your child "the gift of time"--making memories together that your kids, years later, will remember more than any Barbie or Star Wars game. And the lessons you teach them about giving back will last a lifetime.

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We know the first Thanksgiving feast dates back to 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for their first harvest celebration. Today a traditional Thanksgiving meal might include roast turnkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, creamed onions, glazed carrots and pumpkin pie. (The last four are mentioned in "What's in the Garden?")

Ask the children in your family if they know where this food comes from. When they know this, and may even have grown some of it themselves, food becomes more interesting to them. In my book (click on the cover to link to Amazon.com) readers guess a surprise fruit or vegetable after hearing and/or reading the rhyme.

In the past few years I've visited school yards where students are growing vegetable gardens, along with healthy eating habits. At harvest time, the vegetables are used in school cafeterias for them to enjoy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has guidelines toward healthier school lunches requiring more servings of fruits and vegetables. What better way for kids to try fresh veggies than right from what they have grown themselves? Of course it's not always possible, but the knowledge of what is good for them certainly is!

Obesity affects one in three American children. So why not start a garden and/or cook more nutritious foods with your kids. Download ten tasty kid-friendly recipes from my book at http://dawnpub.com/activities/GARDN_Recipes.pdf.

In addition to being a great bonding and learning experience, it's GOOD FOR YOU!


P.S. Be sure to go to www.carolscommoncore.com/ for lots of great ideas on how to use "What's in the Garden?" and also "Molly's Organic Farm." both published by Dawn Publications.
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Keep Keeping On!

Lots of good news to share as another school year has already begun.

One of the highlights was attending the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. last month where my book Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea, received a Mathical Award. You may have seen some photos on Facebook. What a great thrill!

And in 2015 two more of my informational picture books were published.

Over on a Mountain, Somewhere in the World, the seventh of my "Over" habitat books published by Dawn Publications and illustrated by Jill Dubin, was released in March. Kids discover twenty animals, ten mountain ranges and seven continents all in one story!
Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race, published by Arbordale Publishing, illustrated by Cathy Morrison, was just released. This retelling of the classic tale has a math twist that teachers (and kids) are sure to enjoy. There are lots of teaching activities that align with STEM and Common Core to go along with this book. See:


Just like Tess Tortoise, I keep keeping on. Over on the Farm. again illustrated by Cathy Morrison, is now on its way to the printer and will be released in early 2016.
I am so pleased with the way it turned out! Will keep you posted when it becomes available. For now, click on to the cover of Tortoise and Hare's Amazing Race, to get a copy (paperback, or hardcove or e-book) on Amazon.com.
Hope you like it!

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The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) and the Children's Book Council recently recognized outstanding math-related fiction and nonfiction for young readers with a "Mathical" award. This award inspires children of all ages to cultivate a love of math in the world around them. The selection panel--mathematicians, teachers, librarians, and early childhood experts--evaluated books of all kinds from picture books and novels to narrative nonfiction. And guess what?

Over in a River, Flowing Out to the Sea, published by Dawn Publications is a winner in the Pre-K category.

Steve Light "Have You Seen My Dragon? (Candlewick Press) won first place
Mac Barnett ""Count the Monkeys" (Disney/Hyperion) won honorable mention along with me.

We will be at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 5 , along with hundreds of other authors from all different genres. See:
www.loc.gov/bookfest . There is something for everyone!

The National Book Festival is a Washington tradition attracting book lovers from all over the country for the past 15 years. Attendance is expected at 75,000.

The Mathical Station will be on the exhibit floor and will highlight a variety of mathematical literary activities throughout the day. I will be at Booth 112 from 11-1-pm. Please spread the word, and wish me luck! What an honor to be part of this incredible celebration of reading (and math).

Click on the cover to link to Amazon.com. The paperback is on sale for only $7.00.

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This week we aren't traveling to just one location--We're climbing mountains all over the world!

This diverse habitat can be found on every continent, so we're going to all of them to learn about mountain animals, and geography too, since on each page there is a map of each continent showing where each animal lives. Read about wombats, yaks, llamas and seventeen other mountain animals in Over on a Mountain, Somewhere in the World.

Jill Dubin's richly textured cut-paper illustrations make rocks look hard and animal fur look soft. This is the fifth in my "Over" series that Jill has illustrated and she never disappoints. The next and final habitat she is working on now is Over on the Grasslands, on an African Plain. to be released in Fall 2016.

So you'll have to wait until next year to go to Africa but I hope you have enjoyed traveling with me these last two months to the Ocean, Tropical Rainforest, Arctic, Australia, Forest, River and now Mountains through my books.

If you go to www.dawnpub.com, there are lots of downloable activities that go with this and all my "Over" books. Maybe you'll even want to create your own travel brochures about each continent. And let's hook up again next yearr and travel to Africa!


Click on the cover to see "Over on a Mountain" at Amazon.com.

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Although Australia is called a continent because it's so big, it is also an island surrounded by vast areas of ocean. And, because of its isolation, most of the animals in Australia live ONLY in Australia.

When you read "Over in Australia, Animals Down Under" kids will want to hop, slurp, and munch as they imitate and count the animals.

From kangaroos to koalas to wombats, these marsupials are a fascinating bunch. They are a special kind of mammal in which the mothers give birth to their young and then carry their babies in a pouch until they are able to survive on their own. And the three marsupials I just mentioned aren't the only ones in my book. How many others do think there are?

But marsupials aren't the only unusual mammals. You have probably heard of a platypus. It's a monotreme, which is an animal that lays eggs. There is another monotreme in this book. Can you guess what it's called?

Like "Over in the Arctic," where we were last week, Jill Dubin's cut-paper illustrations will inspire many an art project. Her richly textured collages depict creatures in scenes that reflect their natural surroundings. There is even a map at the end of the book, so the reader can see approximately where on this amazing continent, the different animals live.

Booklist called my book " A great choice for classroom units on Australia.” But, I hope parents will also enjoy reading this fun book with kids. And once again, don't forget to look for a hidden animal on each page.

Click on the cover to see "Australia" on Amazon.com. Right now the paperback is selling for only $7.00!

P.S. So far we've been to the forest, the river, the ocean, the rainforest, the Arctic, and now Australia. Can you guess which of my "Over" books, we haven't talked about yet? We'll travel there next!
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