Tag Archives: Salamander Sky

November Updates (books, movies, chocolate and more)

I sit here in the November rain (for about 1,000 days now), with the wood stove fire popping and glowing. I am so thankful for my health, family, friends and school community. What a blur the fall has been — the pandemic, teaching with daily changes, stressors, and situations, the election (which feels like years ago now). I saw something that blew my mind. A simple number, and the calendar. In 3 months, it will be March again. Can you believe that? Oh, how the world has changed. So much has happened. So much loss and turmoil, but also, hopefully, growth and change.

For right now, for the holiday season, I wish these things for you:

Musings from Instagram @katyfarber.

What is your list of things keeping you going on the day to day? Mine includes:

Sheer perfection.
  • Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (Seriously. These are no joke. Have 1-3 and feel very decadent. Rewarded for making it through the day. But now they are ALL GONE).
  • Good TV. We recently did a Harry Potter movie marathon and it was so joyful, like seeing old friends, rediscovering lines and scenes I had since forgotten (and yes, I still cried you know where and you know why). We’ve also watched We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (incredible, but parents, swearing, if you care!) and Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (we have a serious dancer in the house).
  • Good books. Recent high quality reads include I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (YA), The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker (MG), and All American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney.
A sketchnote inspired by I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • The Calm App. I cannot say enough good things about doing this for 10 minutes a day. Honestly, sometimes I think it is the only thing that can really help me manage my fears and get in the right headspace for parenting and teaching. This is worth every dime to me and is now a daily practice.
  • Nature. Exercise. Even for 20 minutes. Even a walk while calling a parent or friend. Just get moving. I always feel better about everything after I do this, even if only for a few minutes.

What is keeping you going? What shows are you watching, books have you read? Who are YOUR favorite Harry Potter characters? I would love to hear about it.

Published by Green Writers Press.

And if you are holiday book shopping, I would be honored to have you check out my books! You can look at the links on this page to learn more about each one. You’ll find Salamander Sky (illustrated by Meg Sodano) for your nature loving, curious younger kids, and The Order of the Trees, an environmental, magical novel for upper elementary students. And for the teachers in your lives, I’ve got several options there, too, including our newest, Personalized Learning for the Middle Grades. If you are interested, please ask for them at your local, independent bookstore!

Wishing you and yours well. Stay safe and healthy.

Big Night: The Salamander Sky is here!

All day I could not wait for the sun to go down. The rain was pouring and pouring in sheets. The ice on the pond was melting. The mud was growing soft. The world felt like it was waking up from a very long nap. We ate an early dinner, and headed out before the sun went down in our rain jackets, mud boots, and ball caps. I found some eastern newts already making their way across the dirt road in front of our house, in fact, since it was commuting time, 3 had already been hit by cars.

The sun finally dipped and was gone, and we were out and patrolling the road in front of our house. Within minutes, a car driving blessedly slow pulled up. Is there where the salamanders cross? They asked. That was the beginning of what was seemed to be a secret salamander society out that night. This slow driving, salamander society held flashlights, wore reflective vests, and smiled a great deal.

Within moments we found our first spotted salamander crossing (see the moment here: First spotted salamander). Just listen to the joy as we quickly move the gorgeous creature across the road. There is nothing like that feeling, as April describes in Salamander Sky, there is a warm glow in our chests. We have done something good.

We spend the next several hours helping spotted salamanders (11!), numerous wood frog, and eastern newts cross safely. We marvel at tiny fingers and toes, long tails, and spherical, glossy eyes. ย Great Horned owls call to each other over our heads.

We meet up with other members of the salamander society and chat for a bit, noting the most active areas for migration on the road. Great Horned owls call to each other over our heads. Wet and tired, but happy, I put the girls to bed and go out one last time just before midnight. I find this spotted salamander moving across our driveway.

The last one of the night, under this Salamander Sky. ย Nature astounds me. Please drive slowly, keep an eye out for these late night travelers, and help them cross safely if you can.