Category Archives: author events

Salamander Sky is coming!

It seems virtually impossible. As I sit here during the bomb cyclone winter storm (how have I never heard this expression before?), awaiting -45 degree wind chills expected this weekend, salamanders seem far, far away.

And yet. The snow will melt. The earth will soften under cool spring rain, and the delightful spotted salamanders will make their slow and steady journey to pools and ponds by our house.

Luckily, this salamander crossing season is different. It coincides with the publication of my new picture book, Salamander Sky, releasing to the world on March 2, 2018 with Green Writer’s Press. The fabulous illustrator is Meg Sodano, and I can’t wait for readers to see her incredible paintings of April, salamanders, and the night sky.

Salamander Sky is the story of 10 year old April, who waits impatiently for the night that her mom will take her out to help the salamanders cross the dirt road by her house.  She wants to help these vulnerable creatures, who only come out on a few nights, and lumber along our roads. Come along with them, and learn how you can help salamanders in  your area survive this crossing, and feel good in the process.

Salamander Sky is available for pre-order at your local bookstore (best choice!) or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

We are hosting a book launch and salamander crossing party at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier, Vermont on March 10th from 3-5:30, and we will have presentations from naturalist Sean Beckett and Elizabeth Morse from the Center for EcoStudies about salamander migration, vernal pools, and citizen science (AND Salamander cookies!) as well as copies of the new book for sale.

Other upcoming events include:

  • Bridgeside Books Reading: March 17th, 10:30am, Waterbury
  • Kellogg Hubbard Library, March 24th, 10:30am, Montpelier
  • Educator event, Bear Pond Books, TBD

Are you a librarian, book seller, parent, or teacher? Here is some information about what Salamander Sky has to offer:

  • targets many of the Next Generation Science Standards for elementary school students, including life cycles, wetland habitats, diversity, adaptations and human impact
  • communicates a strong conservation message
  • geared toward preschool through elementary school aged students
  • models first hand exploration and investigation in nature
  • addresses human impact on the environment and encourages active participation in solutions
  • provides a resource for science teachers, environmental educators and parents to introduce inquiry to students
  • inspires engagement and curiosity
  • focuses on a vulnerable and often unnoticed species of amphibians that inhabits much of the Eastern United States
  • embraces diversity and promotes women in science

Please be in touch if you would like to schedule a reading, a workshop about citizen science, or a writing workshop with your organization, class, or group!

Back to high winds, freezing temperatures, and the bomb cyclone. I’m waiting for the salamander sky (feels like years away!).

Author School Visit: Proctor Elementary (The Order of the Trees)

IMG_1276Oh, do I love visiting schools.

One of my favorite times of day as a teacher was the lively and interactive read aloud time. Some of the best conversations, moments, and connections happened during this time. Books sing. Issues arise. Students gasp, shudder, laugh, and beg you not. to. stop. reading!

Luckily, I had the chance to go visit the 5th grade class at Proctor Elementary School last week. They had been reading The Order of the Trees (Green Writers Press, 2015) and were excited to have me visit and read to them, to talk about books, and writing.

IMG_1278First, I showed them my journal. It’s the place I draw, make lists, ramble, write poems, whatever. But sometimes, a little gem gets dropped in the journal, and it becomes the seed of an idea. The Order of the Trees started this way. My new picture book, out this fall with Green Writers Press, called Salamander Sky, started that way too. They leaned in to look at the pages.

We talked about what they were reading, and about how ideas are important. I told them that the world often tells them NO! That is not a good idea. But if they believe in it– to keep trying. Honor your ideas. They are true and important and matter.

Next, I got to read a juicy scene to them from the book, filled with some classroom drama. I love playing the nasty Mrs. Doneaway, the teacher whose heels click, click, click on the classroom floor as she walks up to you, ready to call you out in front of the whole class.

IMG_1282The class had tremendous ideas about what I should write next. A sequel to The Order of the Trees, where Cedar is all grown up, and the story is about what happens to her daughter. Or, a novel that finally tells the story of how a baby appeared under a giant Cedar tree in the Northern Vermont forest. They were brilliant and I left with my head full of ideas

It’s hard to tell who had more fun.


Presentations at AMLE (Austin, here we come!)

chnocq9xeaazpqyGetting ready to leave for the Association of Middle Level Educators conference in Austin, Texas. I’m excited to be presenting my research, The Doing Revolution, on Wednesday, October 12th at 9:45 at the Austin Convention Center. Please come join me if you can!

I’m also helping out on two presentations with the University of Vermont’s Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education. These are personal and immediately applicable table sessions about shifting roles in personalized learning; and a concurrent session about how to launch makerspaces and genius hours. I am thrilled to be part of this work in transforming education and sharing the progress happening in Vermont.

My publisher, Corwin Press, will also have a table at AMLE. I’m hoping they’ll bring copies of Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Can Stop the Exodus, so we can concentrate the ways to help keep great teachers in the classroom.

So far, I’ve heard the bat bridge is something not to miss in Austin.  What else?