Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Writers Wednesday

Today's guest is Robert Scott Thayer. Mr. Thayer is the author of the Readers' Favorite Book Award Winner, Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure which is the second in his manatee series. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

In addition to being a children’s author, I am also a singer/songwriter. I have won several International Songwriting Awards including those from Billboard.  Grammy winner, Jim Cravero, produced my newest children’s tune titled, Kobee’s Song.  It’s fun, upbeat, and has a solid reggae grove.

Ever since I was young, I had a passion for manatees.  As I got older my admiration for these threatened marine mammals kept growing.  So I studied them in greater detail.  I have plans for creating a complete Kobee Manatee series, which is educational, entertaining, and fun for children, parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians.

I have a strong interest in weather, oceans, sea life, and coral reefs, which will be subjects for upcoming titles in the series.  I have a degree from Temple University.  I also worked as a copywriter.   In addition, I am a member of the Author’s Guild, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Save the Manatee Club in Maitland, Florida, and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.).  I currently reside in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  You can learn more about my children’s educational series at:

Ever since I was young, I always had a strong interest in manatees and I always enjoyed learning.  Especially learning about anything living. At 7, my parents bought me a microscope.  And when I saw my first single-cell amoeba, I was fascinated!  I quickly gravitated toward insect and animal books, butterflies and moths, reptiles and mammals.  All along the way, I always had such a keen interest in manatees.  Then as I grew older, I also became very interested in weather and the oceans.

So for me, the natural progression in the series was to have the first title, Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida, teach children all about manatees.  Then the second title, which is my current release, Kobee Manatee: A Wild Weather Adventure, I continue entertaining and teaching children by having my protagonist, a friendly manatee wearing a purple cap and a yellow jersey, introduce different cloud types and weather events, which take place along Kobee Manatee’s adventure from Key West, Florida to Nassau in the Bahamas.

How did you get interested in writing this particular genre? 

I’ve always had a passion for manatees.  And I also enjoy wearing a cap as part of my own outfit. With that said, I wanted to reflect this in my protagonist.  So I created a manatee wearing a purple cap and a yellow jersey.  And while I always enjoyed learning, I decided to incorporate this concept into my manatee by giving him anthropomorphic traits.  Clearly, the logical genre choice for me would be writing children’s picture books.  I wanted my books to be fun, entertaining, and educational so learning would seem incidental.

Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

I’ve always enjoyed Dr. Seuss because they were such fun reads. What can be more fun for a child than reading Green Eggs and Ham? And also the wonderful Curious George series by Margret and Hans Augusto Rey.  As for other favorites, I enjoy any title on science, living things, weather, and the oceans.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

A typical working day for me can vary greatly, except for my mornings.  I’ll research new ideas and create an outline for one of my upcoming Kobee Manatee blogs.  I also may review and edit a blog that’s almost ready to post.  I’ll check with both Google analytics and my distributor’s sales reports to see how my marketing is performing.

As for my writing, I find mornings are best.  It’s quiet and I usually have no interruptions.  I’ll write with my laptop and sit at the same couch spot during each session.  Much like Sheldon Cooper’s favorite sitting spot!  As for my daily writing goal – it’s important for me just to progress with some new words each time.  It doesn’t matter if I’m in the zone and a whole bunch of stuff flies off the keyboard, or if I’m struggling and finding it difficult to get that next word down.  As long as I write something, I’m happy.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

I write children’s educational picture books, where I’ll create a fictitious story and then weave in “Kobee’s Fun Facts,” which mirror the story’s subject.  The hardest part of writing in this genre for me is keeping my word count in the narrative arc manageable for my target audience, children 4 to 8.  However, I’m finding the “Kobee’s Fun Facts” embedded in each story can draw in readers who are older.

What’s the best thing about being an author? 

I get such a great feeling when I learn children love one of my titles.  And especially when I do an author visit at a school. There’s nothing better for me than being in that live environment, where I personally see how much fun the children are having when I read them a Kobee Manatee story and then sing them a Kobee Manatee song!

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my third series release, Kobee Manatee: Shipwreck Sea Friends.  This title is another adventure tale were Kobee and his pals are busy searching for the historic shipwreck, the SS Antonio Lopez, off the coast of Puerto Rico. Children will be able to identify popular reef fish and they’ll also learn our beautiful coral reefs are now being seriously threatened and dying from increasing Ocean Acidification.

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 

Stick with it!  We all have those unwanted days where nothing in the writing department seems to make sense.  You just can’t get one new word on the page.  When that happens to me, I just write anything down anything!  This can definitely help dissolve that stubborn mental jam, and those thoughts can start flowing again. 

The question I’d like to be asked in an interview is

Why is it important to teach young children about manatees and other threatened animals?

It’s very important because not only manatees, but also all sea life, including our precious coral reefs and plankton are now threatened from increasing Ocean Acidification [OA].  OA is a condition caused from carbon dioxide [CO2] in the air dissolving in the ocean.  This creates carbonic acid in seawater.  Carbonic acid can destroy coral reefs.  CO2 levels are the result of human activities, which include the burning of fossil fuels; oil, coal and natural gas.  According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO]
“Coral reefs are the nurseries of the oceans, they are biodiversity hot spots. On some tropical coral reefs, for example, there can be 1,000 species per square meter². Their decline affects tourism, food security, shoreline protection and biodiversity.  Ocean acidity has increased by 30% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

How is Ocean Acidification a Threat to Coral Reefs and Marine Life?

Ocean acidity results in an increase in the amount of energy needed by small ocean organisms in making their carbonate shells. In some areas of the oceans, the increasing seawater acidity will make it impossible for these organisms to live. This will have a drastic effect on ocean ecosystems. As a result, tropical oceans will not be able to sustain coral reefs.  Here is what UNESCO is saying about the increasing threat of CO2 and increasing ocean acidification, “Coral reefs are the nurseries of the oceans, they are biodiversity hot spots. On some tropical coral reefs, for example, there can be 1,000 species per m². Their decline affects tourism, food security, shoreline protection and biodiversity.”

“Ocean acidification may have a strong negative impact on many plankton and zooplankton species that form the base of the marine food chain. Plankton is key to the survival of larger fish, and their decline may trigger a chain reaction through the marine food web. This will affect the multi-billion dollar commercial fisheries and shellfish industries, as well as threatening the food security for millions of the world’s poorest people. Ocean acidification, along with warming surface waters, may reduce the ability of the ocean to absorb CO2, leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere and worsening its impact on the climate.”

Science is just now beginning to explore the devastating impacts of Ocean Acidification [OC].  Clearly, this is a very important message I would like getting out to our younger generation.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Nonfiction Monday

For Nonfiction Monday: "My First Book of Baseball: Mostly Everything Explained About the Game" by Beth Bugler and Mark Bechtel with illustrations by Bill Hinds. 

Parents and children will enjoy this second book in the Rookie Book Series from Sports Illustrated for Kids.  Eye-catching photographs highlight a MLB game from the umpire shouting "Play ball!" through the 7th inning stretch and on to the game-winning grand slam! 

Opening pages highlight the basics of teams, innings, and diamond, layout the structure of the game, and explain terms such as offense, defense, infield, and outfield with the help of vivid illustrations.

Adult readers will appreciate the cartoon dialogue bubbles that appear frequently throughout the photographs offering thoughts or remarks from the various players. 

Children will enjoy the comic-strip style kid who leads the reader through the pages as he follows the game from beginning to end and makes humorous comments on the action.

This book offers an entertaining introduction to America's favorite pastime for budding baseball fans.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Friday, March 25, 2016

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by My Juicy Little Universe

My selection is "In the Wild" by David Elliott with illustrations by Holly Meade.


Wildlife and poetry -- what an enticing combination for children. Elliott takes readers on a quest across continents and through a variety of habitats to discover some of our favorite animals. Panda,  zebra, polar bear, sloth, and kangaroo are just a few of animals celebrated in this colorful collection.

Short poems offer thoughtful insights into details, invite readers to observe wildlife with a thoughtful eye or simply enjoy how unique each creature is in form and behavior. The simple-appearing verses are reader friendly, but possess an underlying sophistication in their use of vocabulary and imagery  -- the glisten of sunset in a lion's eye or likening an elephant to a cloud: Powerful, yet delicate/as lace.../When peaceful, silent;/when angry loud. 

Meade's bold use of color and line fill the pages with images that draw the reader's attention to the subject of each verse and make the illustrations every bit as commanding as the words.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Robyn Hood Black

My selection is "The Arrow Finds Its Mark: a book of found poems" edited by Georgia Heard and illustrated by Antoine Guilloppe.     


Heard has collected the works of many of the best known names in children's poetry for this collection of "Found" poems. An introduction explains this form of poetry is created using words and/or phrases that are found in ads, signs, lists, letters, or other random sources such as tweets. The found material is then shaped into a poem.


J. Patrick Lewis delights sports fans with "Nicknames in the NBA" from a basketball encyclopedia.  Joyce Sidman, Marilyn Singer, Bob Raczka, Jane Yolen, Laura Purdie Salas, and Lee Bennett Hopkins are just a few of the talented contributors who share their work. Each poem is accompanied by a note describing where the source material was found.

This entertaining book offers inspiration to young writers as it invites them to find poetry in unlikely places. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Writers Wednesday

Today's guest is retired geologist, Albert Lamarre. He shares his experience in crafting his book Mountains, Minerals, and Me and offers an interesting glimpse into his life of exploration.

Briefly, what's your book about?  
Mountains, Minerals, and Me: Thirteen Years Revealing Earth’s Mysteries is an account of the thrills and adventures of author Albert L. Lamarre, a young exploration geologist who learns not only about the rocks he is exploring but about himself. Enjoy his journey as he vividly recounts his first exposure to the geologic wonders of the western United States, the unforgettable characters he met along the way, and the scenic wonders of beautiful landscapes in which he worked. Follow him over a thirteen-year period as he grows from a wet-behind-the-ears new college graduate to a respected professional geologist who made contributions to the country’s natural resource base. The personal discoveries described here will resonate with many readers. So sit back and enjoy his exploration exploits―from being held captive at gunpoint by a Texas rancher’s daughter, to having his Tucson company-office bombed, to being left in absolute darkness in an underground mine in Idaho, to coming face-to-face with a rattlesnake in northern Washington.
This is a true-life story of the adventures and perils of a young exploration geologist who learns about himself and the geologic wonders of the western United States.
This book will be of interest to anyone who enjoys science (especially geology), travel, adventure, local and regional history and geography of the western United States, and the excitement of meeting new people and seeing new places. The book will also be of interest to students considering exploration geology as a career. The book genre is non-fiction autobiography, containing elements of science, action and adventure, and travel.

What led you to write the book? 
This book started out about six years ago as a project to clean out my garage. As I dug through boxes of old stuff, I came across dusty field notebooks, crinkled photos, and project reports that had not seen the light of day for a long time. Being curious, I then started to read through some of the material and I became really interested. I had forgotten a lot of the details of my exploration career that I was now reading about while sitting on the garage floor.
Consequently I started taking notes, just for myself, because my memory isn’t as good as it used to be. “I don’t want to forget about this,” I said. As time progressed, it occurred to me that my wife and two daughters probably don’t know much about this stage of my life, so maybe I should share it with them by writing it down. And so I started doing so. As time went on, this morphed into a project with a wider audience; maybe my broader family and even some close friends might be interested in my story too. So they became part of my target audience. Then it occurred to me that some of those people I worked with forty years ago would like to recall some of our adventures together by reading my narrative.
But perhaps most importantly, partway into the writing process I wondered if current geology students actually know what an exploration geologist does in the field. Do they know what they might be getting into if they became field geologists? So I did a web search and found that there were no published books that I could find that addressed this subject! Here was a considerable void in geologic education that I thought I could fill. Therefore, young people and geology students became my most important target audience.

What challenges did you face in the writing? 
There were two big challenges – trying to recover the details of things that happened up to forty years ago, and then trying to convey the information in a compelling and readable fashion. Fortunately, out of necessity field geologists must take good field notes and I was lucky enough to have kept all of mine. These were notes taken on a daily basis. And I still had my project reports that I had written at the completion of each exploration project. The Internet helped me fill in some gaps as to geography.

As for composing a readable document, that’s where my wife Janet provided invaluable assistance. She was my chief editor and critic. Without her the book would not have happened.

Please share one of your favorite "in the field" stories.
Oh gosh, I have lots of these, but this is my favorite.
In mid-June 1983, I was arrested in West Texas! Intrigued by the potential for discovering gold in Proterozoic rocks there, Vic Chevillon from Noranda’s Missoula, Montana office and I went exploring in the Van Horn area southeast of El Paso where we experienced the long arm of the law. As we drove along, we saw an outcrop in a field a little way off the highway, so we decided to stop, climb over the fence, and take a look. No harm in that, is there? Well, yes there is! Unlike in other states, all land in Texas is privately owned, and the ranch owner didn’t take kindly to our beating on the rocks on his private property.
Upon returning to our vehicle after a short traverse through the rancher’s barren field, we were met at the fence by the rancher’s daughter and her trusty shotgun; it was pointed right at me from just a few feet away. Clad in a dirty, white T-shirt and raggedy jeans, her body language meant business―she was wound tighter than a spring. “What do you think you’re doing? This is private property,” she said with an intense sneer on her less than attractive face surrounded by long, stringy hair. It was obvious this sturdy, rough-looking blonde was not to be trifled with.
Her older brother was called, the constable was called, the sheriff was called, and then her father arrived. He mumbled something about his land, paying taxes, and “Who do you think you are?” and the Constable informed us in no uncertain terms that we had trespassed on the rancher’s land and violated his privacy. The sheriff arrived in a cloud of dust and told us, “This old boy doesn’t want anybody on his ground. We’ll let the judge decide. You can either follow me or …” Whereupon we were escorted with lights flashing the entire twenty miles to the Hudspeth County courthouse and jail in Sierra Blanca, Texas.
On our escorted drive to town, Vic and I tried to guess how much it would cost to get out of this mess, and we wondered if we would have enough cash in our pockets to pay the fine. This was late on a Friday afternoon, and we didn’t think the office manager of Noranda’s headquarters office in Denver would have time to wire money to us. We certainly were not looking forward to being guests for the weekend at the Hudspeth County jail.
The decider of our fate, Judge Doyle Ziler, was attired in a rumpled, gray, cotton suit that matched the worn paint on the concrete floor of his office. He was a genteel, scholarly enforcer of the law, and justice was expeditiously dispatched. “Guilty!” After duly admonishing us, he fined us ninety-six dollars each, which we were able to cover. Whew! You can bet that went on my expense account! After saying our “Sorrys” and “We’ll never do it again,” we hightailed it out of the state and never conducted exploration in Texas again! Ever since, Texas has not been my favorite state. Someone once said that bad decisions make for good stories, and that was certainly supported here.
Vic and I received a prestigious company award for surviving this unfortunate incident—the coveted “Noranda AWSH** Award”, one of my most precious possessions. It states:
“Everyone knows that 1,000 ATTABOYS qualifies one to be a leader of men, and that one AWSH** Award returns the recipient to square one. It grieves me no little, therefore, to be faced with the need to tender this dubious award. I would not, indeed could not, perform this reprehensible task were not the facts so clear, the deed so onerous, the culpability so apparent. It is with great pain, much distress, and considerable chagrin that I hereby award, not one (1), but two (2) AWSH**S, one to Albert L. Lamarre and another to C. Victor Chevillon for getting CAUGHT (ugh). Shame on you both!     — G. Snow”

You traveled extensively. Do you have a "favorite" place?
This is a really tough question because I have enjoyed so many different places. I subscribe to this quote from Glen Heggstad who wrote in his book One More Day Everywhere, “When it comes to adventure travel, you can’t take a wrong turn.”
I think my favorite place was along the coast of Norway. My wife and I cruised from Bergen, Norway to North Cape at the very top of Norway, stopping at 16 ports-of-call during the day on the way north and 16 different ports-of-call on the return trip south to Bergen. The glacially created scenery was gorgeous of course, the Northern Lights lived up to their billing, we thoroughly enjoyed a dog-sled ride, and we were thrilled to be able to stand at the northernmost point of continental Europe. And what a thrill it was to cross the Arctic Circle and have it commemorated in an on-board ceremony where the ship’s crew poured ice down my back. This was a “working ship” that we cruised on so we got to visit with native Norwegians who were going from point A to point B along the coast; they were very gracious and sociable and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to learn about them and their culture.
I like this quote too, by Susan Sontag: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

What's the most important life lesson you learned during the thirteen years covered in the book?
There is so much to see and learn about this great country of ours. There is more than ample opportunity for life-long learning, and one should take full advantage of it. I mean this not only in regard to geology, but with respect to differences in geography, local cultures, customs, etc.

Do you have any advice for geology students or amateur geologists?
Don’t be afraid of what you might not know about your field, just go for it! Geology is a grand adventure; enjoy it to the maximum!

What would you like readers to take from MOUNTAINS, MINERALS, AND ME? 
Mentors are incredibly important to a young person’s career. As a student, you should cultivate a mentorship relationship with an experienced professional. As an adult, you should seek out younger people to offer them your guidance and counsel. My career as an exploration geologist would certainly not have been the fantastic personal and professional success that it was were it not for my mentor Geoffrey G. Snow, former president of Noranda Exploration, Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Geoff provided me with my first summer job in minerals exploration and subsequently with a permanent job with Noranda once I graduated from college. Not only was he my boss, but for thirteen years Geoff eagerly served as a trusted mentor to me, teaching me the ropes of the trade and providing trusted advice. He remains a friend today and is my personal hero.

Anything else you'd like readers to know about you and/or your book? 
·      Education:
Master’s Degree in Geology from The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario Bachelor’s Degree in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College
·      Professional Credentials:
Certified Professional Geologist, American Institute of Professional Geologists
Member, Geological Society of America
Member, New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference
Member, Northern California Geological Society

·      Background:
I am from Bath, a small village (population about 500 when I lived there) in northern New Hampshire where most people were farmers or worked in the timber industry. I was one of five boys in the Lamarre family (no sisters).
In 1971, I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Earth Sciences from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. In 1974, I received a Master of Science degree in Geology from what at the time was called the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. I attended UWO partly because my bosses at the time told me they considered the University of Western Ontario to be the best school for exploration geology in North America! I loved it.
Being from a rural setting, I liked the outdoors and was comfortable being by myself. Since I was an introvert at the time, I knew when I entered Dartmouth that I didn’t want to major in any of those “soft” subjects like sociology or philosophy, but I didn’t know what I would study. Geology had not been introduced to me while growing up. To Dartmouth’s endearing credit, the Earth Sciences Department had their best professor teach the introductory geology class and it was offered that fall of my Freshman year. I saw it advertised in the course bulletin so I enrolled in it, and I was hooked!
Curiously enough, there were four of us students from Bath Elementary School who ended up attending Dartmouth and majoring in Geology. This is from an elementary school where there were only eight of us in my eighth-grade graduating class!  One of the others was my twin brother and the other two were in the class behind us.
I got into minerals exploration because I was fortunate to get a summer job as a field exploration geologist where I worked with three more-experienced geologists who eagerly shared their work experiences with me. It turns out they were kindred spirits. And, while performing my duties as the youngest guy on the exploration project, I discovered that doing geology is like being a detective, and that really intrigued me. I moved around to other exploration projects that summer so I got to see some fabulous scenic country; that was not bad either.

My summer job the next year was on a team conducting reconnaissance exploration in the Alaska Range between Fairbanks and Anchorage. Our commute to work each day was via a helicopter that picked us up at base camp and took us to the highest peak around, then picked us up at the end of the day. As you can imagine, the mountain scenery with all its fauna (grizzly bears, caribou) was amazing. Upon returning to school at the end of the summer I told my fellow classmates that my summer job had been a scam. Imagine it, I said, they paid me to ride around in a helicopter all summer admiring the scenery! I was hooked.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Live Your Poem.

My selection is "City I Love" by Lee Bennett Hopkins with illustrations by Marcellus Hall.


"Sing a song of cities./If you do,/Cities will sing back/to you." is Hopkins' invitation to readers to follow a backpack toting hound on a global tour of cities via eighteen short poems that celebrate the urban landscape.  Hopkins finds much to enjoy and admire in each stop, the drama of skyscrapers, the simple fun of cooling off in a fire hydrant, the whoosh of subways, and the bustle of crowds. The localities are not named, but Hall provides visual clues to encourage the audience to do some exploring of their own by finding the localities on the endpaper maps.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Writers Wednesday


On March 8, 2016, Puffin Books reissued T.A. Barron’s classic fantasy adventure, THE ANCIENT ONE. Originally published in 1992, the book follows teenager Kate Gordon as she finds herself caught in a battle over the fate of a pristine forest that’s been discovered on a sacred Native American site rich in mystery and magic. Slipping into the hollow of an ancient redwood tree, Kate finds herself transported back 500 years to an enchanted time – and into a gripping adventure that will affect both past and future.

More than two decades after its original release, THE ANCIENT ONE still resonates with readers as it tackles big issues like environmentalism, courage, corporate greed, and unemployment. The Huffington Post lists THE ANCIENT ONE among the “9 Best Trees in Literature” and a current review on Goodreads said the book “is full of ancient magic and connection to nature, along with plenty of humor. T. A. Barron wrote a masterpiece, truly capturing my heart.”

In his introduction, T.A. Barron sheds light on the book’s genesis 25 years ago and writes, “What few people know is that THE ANCIENT ONE was inspired by a hike in California when I encountered the most magnificent tree I’d ever seen—a redwood of such grandeur that I nearly fell over backward trying to see its highest boughs. I lingered in that grove for the rest of the day. But at sunset, I still wasn’t ready to leave. Though I hadn’t expected to camp out, and hadn’t brought a sleeping bag or food, I decided to stay for the night. Whether or not I slept that night, I don’t remember. But I do remember feeling an extraordinary sense of peace. And I also remember wondering, all through the dark hours, what amazing stories this two-thousand-year-old tree could tell, what rich wisdom it could share.”

Weaving Native American lore within a fantasy setting, THE ANCIENT ONE was also unique in that it was among the few adventure books at the time that featured a girl as its protagonist.

“Today, we take for granted that young girls can be the hero of an adventure story, but when THE ANCIENT ONE was published, that wasn’t often the case,” said Barron. “I’m proud of the positive influence the book has had on a generation of young people, especially girls, and I hope that continues for generations to come.”

T. A. Barron is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Merlin Saga, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and was recently optioned for a major motion picture by Disney. He is the winner of the 2011 de Grummond Medallion for "lifetime contribution to the field of children's and young adult literature." A long-time advocate of the power of youth, Barron writes about fictional young heroes in his novels, but champions inspiring young people in real life. He founded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant impact on their communities and the environment. He lives in Colorado with his family. For more information, please visit

#                      #                      #
 by T.A. Barron
Published on March 8, 2016 by Puffin Books
Ages: 12-up

Friday, March 4, 2016

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Teacher Dance.

My selection is "At the Sea Floor Cafe: odd ocean critter poems" by Leslie Bulion with illustrations by Leslie Evans.

Bulion invites readers to "Dive In" with a verse that begins: "Let's visit a habitat shallow and deep/And boiling hot, where acids seep..." That lively and unexpected opening is only the beginning of a poetic adventure that uses a variety of forms from haiku to free verse. This collection of eighteen poems highlights some of the ocean's most intriguing creatures from the bottlenose dolphin to lesser-known and/or unusual animals such as leopard sea cucumbers, emperor shrimp, violet snail, krill, sea spiders, squid and a host of others. Each poem is paired with information about the subject of the verse and the author concludes her work with a discussion of the many poetry forms along with a glossary and suggestions for additional reading. Evans uses linoleum block prints to skillfully portray the animals and their habitat.

Each poem is imaginative, informative, and skillfully crafted which makes this book a wonderful pairing of science and language -- a delight in its own right and ideal for cross-curriculum lessons.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Writer's Wednesday

Pi Day is 3.14.16 Fun Things to Do to Celebrate Mathematics on March 14, 2016

Pi Day this year falls on March 14! That’s the day people all over the world irrationally and irreverently celebrate this important mathematical constant. It’s the only number with its own holiday.
Most scholars consider Pi to be the most important and fascinating number in all of mathematics.  Technically, the mathematical constant pi is an irrational, or never ending number, created by dividing the circumference of a circle by its diameter. It is a number that begins with 3.14 but then goes on and on never repeating itself for infinity. 
Pi Day (3/14) turns out to be Albert Einstein’s birthday!
Some people make the day special by baking a pie. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an apple pie, a cherry pie or one made with chocolate cream.
Other people, like math and science game wizard Cy Tymony focus on teaching people fun ways to enjoy and learn more about science and mathematics. Cy is the author of the young adult educational book series “Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things”. These books are packed with cool math and science games and projects for kids and teens to play.
This year Cy created – an educational website dedicated to making Pi Day math memorable with free tips on how kids can have lots of fun using discarded items and without special tools. The site contains 5 Free 'Pi' and Math Projects.  
There’s a free download for a whole set of Pi Cards, and directions on how to create a Sneaky Pi Detector, and instructions on how to make a Sneaky Pi Quizzer.
There’s also a Sneaky Fraction Calculator, and a Sneaky Range Finder, and Sneaky Fraction Quizzer.
Cy Tymony is the author of the Sneaky Uses book series.  His book Sneaky Math – a graphic primer with projects is highly regarded.
Sneaky Math – a graphic primer with projects
List $12.99 Paperback: 192 pages Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing ISBN-10: 1449445209  ISBN-13: 978-1449445201 7 x 5 x 0.5 inches
For more information, visit  or

About the Author

Cy Tymony is an amazing inventor.  By reading comic books and studying science as a young boy he amazed his friends with unusual scientific projects, demonstrations and ideas.  He is trained in auto mechanics, electronics, video and audio technology and computer science and has taken courses in martial arts, security and survival techniques.  For decades has focused his enthusiasm, creativity and imagination on educating people of all ages and walks of life.  He is the author of the Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things book series.

Cy Tymony is a real live renaissance man. He has lots of media experience.  He is a wonderful and inspiring guest with a childlike enthusiasm for science and technology.  He has an incredible and contagious energy who delights in sharing the wonders of the human potential. His Sneaky Uses books explore the delight of finding.

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, a science best-seller, has been featured on CNN Headline News, the Los Angeles Times, and in U.S. News & World Report. It is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Crown, Powells, Hastings, and independent book stores and online at Barnes & and at

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