Just after the holidays came the sad news that Steve Jenkins, masterful illustrator and artist of many books for children, had died. As the New York Times pointed out, Steve brought science to life with many, many gorgeous books that posed and answered questions about the natural world. What a huge loss for his family and the world of children’s literature.
Replacing Steve as the illustrator of The Upside-Down Book of Sloths was no easy task. After reviewing several portfolios, and kindly taking the time to check with me, Norton Young Readers reached out to Isabella Grott, an artist based in Florence, Italy. She took on the job, and the book is on track for publication in Fall 2023. (A sloth book, of course, takes its own slow time…) I love the expressive quality and humor of her work–and stay tuned for announcement of a follow-up book…shhhhhh….
THIRD GRADERS RULE! STEM teacher Sierra Satterstrom has been beta-testing the curriculum for Out of the Blue through this school year—and sending me many ideas for improvements and refinements! I adore seeing the students’ sketches, mini-books, and ideas as they dive into activities for understanding Earth history, predator-prey relationships, and the amazing adaptations that allowed animals to move from ocean to land. Can’t wait to visit the classroom when I’m in San Diego this spring!
Some happy holiday news! After a loooooon sea voyage and many weeks aboard ship in New York Harbor…the second printing of OUT OF THE BLUE is now in the warehouse and heading for bookstores and libraries. Meanwhile you can order signed copies at The King’s English Bookshop or at Games People Play. (Also available at Amazon.) For signed bookplates, please email me through this website.
Super excited and honored to see OUT OF THE BLUE included in the 2021 Science and Nature Booklist, School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Production Blog by librarian, author, and book expert Betsy Bird. So many terrific books on this list! I own and treasure many of them and look forward to expanding my library with more. How about you? Is it time to give NONFICTION books to a little one near you? (Okay, I will admit to being particularly enamored of this budding reader…)
What a blast to be part of the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Los Angeles Area Conference this month! My teacher friend, Jason Jones, and I presented Creating Curriculum Around Nonfiction Books: New Tools for Engaging Differentiated Learners at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Also got to meet one of my paleo/science communicator heroes, Gabe Santos @paleoparadox + visit the Alf Museum and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. And hugged me a giant ground sloth at La Brea Tarpits!
Looking for a holiday gift for a teacher? Want to help a hard-working STEM educator make science class fun? How about an OUT OF THE BLUE gift package : a signed book, bookmarks and/or stickers, hard copy of the full curriculum* AND an online Q&A with the author. Email me if you’re interested!
*Beta-tested with real live kids!
Events & Recordings
Silver Unicorn Bookstore: Science & Nature Story Time!
Kick off the 2024 Season at this wonderful Boston area Indie bookstore with authors Cedar Pruitt, Aaron Lewis Krol and me! More details here.
Saturday, January 27 from 11 am-Noon 12 Spruce St, Acton, MA
Bank Square Books: Weekend Book Signing!
Come by Mystic’s wonderful Indie bookstore to say hi, browse the shelves, and pick up signed copies of SLOTHS and OUT OF THE BLUE! More details here.
Saturday, Feb. 17th from 1-3 pm 53 West Main Street, Mystic, CT
Parnassus Books: Saturday Storytime!
Stop by Nashville’s fabulous Parnassus Books for storytime—we’ll be sharing SLOTHS and a few other books by some of my favorite authors. More details here.
Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 10:30 am 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Suite 14
Webinar with TIES (Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science)
This online event for teachers, families, and students will feature OUT OF THE BLUE: HOW ANIMALS EVOLVED FROM PREHISTORIC SEAS. We’ll explore how to use picture books to celebrate and teach the history of life on Planet Earth!
Corte Madera Library – NATIONAL FOSSIL DAY BOOK PARTY:
Celebrate sloths of today and long ago with a book talk and activities featuring The Upside-Down Book of Sloths. Be prepared for fossils!
Wednesday, October 11 at 2:30 pm 707 Meadowsweet Drive, Corte Madera, California
La Brea Tar Pits – SLOTH SOIREE Celebrate INTERNATIONAL SLOTH DAY at the amazing La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Friday, October 20 from 6 to 9 pm
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California
The Field Museum of Chicago – INTERNATIONAL SLOTH DAY CELEBRATION Join this family program at the fabulous FIELD MUSEUM of NATURAL HISTORY. Special video guest appearance by zookeeper from the Lincoln Park Zoo (and hopefully a sloth too, if one is awake!).
Sunday, October 22 at 11 am
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois
2023 TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL If you’re at the TBF, come say howdy and celebrate THE UPSIDE-DOWN BOOK OF SLOTHS at my sessions with kids and their grownups!
November 11-12, Austin, Texas
Recorded Events & Resources
Bell Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota Journey to Deep Time with Author Elizabeth Shreeve
Children’s book author Elizabeth Shreeve joins the Bell’s Director of Public Engagement and Science Learning Holly Menninger to discuss her new book, Out of the Blue, and explore the museum’s exhibits. Video Recording
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology: Exploring Evolution: An SVP Educator Workshop
Calling all science teachers!This workshop focused on classroom-ready resources and activities to complement evolution and biodiversity curricula. Elizabeth Shreeve’s presentation “Introducing Evolution” engages grade school kids in great transitions in the history of life. Video Recording