Kicking off New Release Week Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators

“When Sylvan Dell asked me if I’d be interested in creating the Animal Helpers’ series, I jumped at the opportunity,” said author Jennifer Curtis, who received the 2012 State of Maryland International Reading Association Council Literacy Award. “These books not only help young readers and their parents learn more about the incredible ways that experts help wild animals, they provide a means of fundraising for each participating clinic. Rescuing and rehabilitating individual animals is incredibly expensive and each participant will use the books to help raise funds for their centers.”

The first book, Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators, features the work of four wildlife rehabilitators, including Kathy Woods of the Phoenix Wildlife Center in Maryland. This well-known rehabilitator was the impetus of Curtis’ Baby Owl’s Rescue. Victoria Campbell of Wild Things Sanctuary in New York; Kim Johnson of the Drift Inn Wildlife Sanctuary in Texas; and Miriam Moyer and Mary Birney of White Flicker Wild Bird Rehabilitation in Pennsylvania are also featured . U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s Randy Loftus also contributed extraordinary photographs of rescues.

 wild animals get sick they can’t go to the doctor; often wildlife rehabilitators are called to rescue injured, sick or orphaned animals. The rehabilitators nurse the animals back to health in hopes that they will be released into the wild once they have recovered. Kim Johnson, who specializes in mammals and raptors said, “I am very excited for the opportunity to share the rewards of assisting and protecting our wildlife.  I hope the book inspires some to follow our examples and continue the hard but rewarding work of a rehabilitator.”

Jennifer Keats Curtis is passionate about nature. Often referred to the green author, you will find Jennifer among students and teachers sharing her love for animals. In addition to the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s Rescue, and Turtles In My Sandbox for Sylvan Dell, some of her other recent titles include Seahorses, Osprey Adventure and Saving Squeak: The Otter Tale. Learn more and request a school visit by checking out her website at and following her on Facebook at Green Author Jennifer Keats Curtis.

Be the first to read Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators, enter to win a FREE eBook here from Sylvan Dell! Comment with your name and email address we will pick 5 lucky winners!

* Winners in the past 6 months are not eligible for contests.

And Here They Are…

After many long weeks of waiting the Sylvan Dell fall releases are finally here! If you haven’t checked out our new releases online here is an overview. We are having an online launch party all next week, watch the blog for author posts, teaching activities and GIVEAWAYS!!

Desert Baths– All animals bathe to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Humans mi
ght use soap and water, but what do animals, especially those living in dry climates, do to keep clean? Darcy Pattison and Kathleen Rietz team up again to explore the desert to find out how snakes, spiders, and birds bathe. This surprising book teaches children about hygiene and how some exciting desert creatures manage to stay clean without the help of soap and water.


The Most DangerousDangerous animals from all over the world gather for the Most Dangerous Animal of All Contest. Snakes, spiders, sharks…who will the winner be? Deadly poison, huge teeth, razor -sharp horns, and fearsome feet are just a few of the ways that animals kill. Predators mean to kill. Prey simply defend themselves. And yet, the unexpected most deadly animal doesn’t mean to harm at all!


Solar System ForecastFreezing temperatures, scorching heat, and a storm bigger than planet Earth is just some of the wild weather you will encounter on your trip through our solar system! Get your fun facts along with your forecast for each major planet, as well as the weather on dwarf planet Pluto. Any child with an interest in space is sure to love Solar System Forecast, and parents will love the educational “For Creative Minds” section in the back of the book. Get ready for some out of this world fun with Solar System Forecast!


The Tree That Bear ClimbedEveryone knows about the house that Jack built, but this is The Tree That Bear Climbed. What makes this tree so fascinating to bear? Starting with the roots that anchor the tree, this chain of events story in cumulative verse explores many different things that help a tree stand tall. It also lends itself to further discussion with fun repetition and detailed picture clues, stimulating a child’s curiosity. Why does the bear climb the tree and what happens when he arrives at his goal?


A Warm Winter Tail Do you ever wonder how animals stay warm in the winter? Well, they wonder how humans do too! In a twist of perspective, wild creatures question if humans use the same winter adaptation strategies that they do. Do they cuddle together in a tree or fly south to Mexico? Take a look through an animal’s eyes and discover the interesting ways animals cope with the cold in this rhythmic story.

A Fun Classroom Activity for Common Core Standards

By Darcy Pattison

How do you get kids interested in a book about vultures and desert tortoises at a summer program where they are interested mostly in having some fun? And how do you do it while fulfilling the Common Core State Standards?

One of the tenets of the Common Core State Standards is the use of technology with kids. This summer, I volunteered at the Arkansas Audubon ( summer camp. Camp Director Mary Smith agreed when I asked if we could do some videotaping with kids to create a book trailer for my new book, DESERT BATHS.

First, I studied the Common Core requirements. The Common Core ELA Speaking & Listening anchor standard #5 requires students to “Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding.” An appropriate task for this standard is for students to create a video. In this case, we also emphasized close reading of the text of Desert Baths (CC ELA Reading anchor standards #1, 2, 4) to understand how each desert animals stays clean.

Note: The camp had a wide range of ages, so I didn’t use any specific grade level standards. The Common Core provides Anchor Standards, which are in turn specifically interpreted for each grade level. By following the more general Anchor Standard, I was confident that we would accomplish something appropriate for each student.

After the close reading of the text, students were assigned an animal to act out and practiced a couple times.

Videotaping the Desert Baths Book Trailer

Videotaping with kids can be chaotic. In order to minimize this, I set up four stations.

  1. Camera man. The camera man was responsible for running the camera and taping the Actor. I use a Kodak Z-i8 hand-held camera because it is the only camera in its class with an external microphone jack. The camera was mounted on a tripod and the Camera Man had to make sure it was the right height for the Actor and was positioned for the setting to fill the screen.
  2. Actor. The actor was responsible for standing on the stage, saying his/her lines and acting out how a desert animal takes a bath.
  3. Sound Man. I plugged a lapel microphone into the Kodak Zi8 Camera. If you look closely, you can see the wire on the kids. The Sound Man was responsible for making sure the microphone was placed on the Actor correctly. Also, to conserve the batteries of the microphone, it was turned off except when in actual use. The Sound Man was responsible for making sure the microphone was turned on and off at the right times.
  4. Stage Director. This was a favorite task, because this person got to yell out, “Quiet on the Set.” In addition to starting and stopping the action, the Stage Director was responsible for making sure everything was set up correctly, the Actor was ready and then directing everyone to start.

The stations worked well because students came to the videotaping in groups of four and each student rotated through all the tasks. They knew their job was important and they took it seriously. Watch and see what fun they had.

Back to School

It seems like yesterday we were buzzing about summer reading programs, and now the time has come to go back to school for new teachers, new tests and new challenges.

Before we jump into the everyday grind that back to school brings, Sylvan Dell has one last summer fun reading event. The winner will receive a prize package with one of our educational books and stuffed animal.

For Kids only:

What is your favorite book?

What did you learn this summer through reading?

What is your favorite animal story?


Rules For Parents: The answers have to come from children.

You can submit by putting commenting here
send us a message on Facebook at!/SylvanDell
Or by mail at 612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Suite A2 Charleston, SC 29464

Thank you for participating!

Celebrate World Turtle Day

It’s no secret that Sylvan Dell loves turtles. From Carolina that started it all to those turtles in our sandbox and Tudley we have written and educated young minds about the turtles living in the sea and on land. Today we celebrate World Turtle Day, started 12 years ago by the American Tortoise Rescue to bring awareness to the problems that the world’s turtles are facing.

Turtles are one of the world’s oldest species, and they are disappearing due to several factors.

  • Turtle habitats are shrinking.
  • The pet market has increased demand and taken turtles out of the wild.
  • Turtles are being poached and sold on the food market. In some countries, their eggs, considered a delicacy are plucked out of nests before they have a chance to hatch.
  • Turtle shells are highly sought after to make fashion, and decorative pieces.
  • Sea turtles nests are very vulnerable to predators and human interference, as well as a shrinking population.
  • Fishing nets are a major threat to the sea turtle population in many parts of the world.

These are only a few factors that threaten turtles, and many of these problems are preventable. Today is a day to learn more about our slow and steady creatures, and do what we can to help keep all our turtles around for 200 million more years.


Sylvan Dell Publishing is excited to have touched more than 6,500 children, teachers and parents with almost 20,000 eBooks read during Children’s Book Week.

In celebration of Children’s Book Week Sylvan Dell offered all eBooks free, bringing science and math learning to children in and out of school. The Sylvan Dell site offers readers the leisure of flipping and reading, or auto flip with audio in either English or Spanish. Each book has a For Creative Minds section of custom teaching activities, where parents or teachers are able to guide children through the scientific or mathematical facts in the book.

By the numbers, Sylvan Dell saw an increase in eBooks and reading during Children’s Book Week. The total books read were 19,751, with 18,887 English e-reads and 864 Spanish e-reads. The top five books read included, Gopher to the Rescue, Big Cat Little Kitty, The Penguin Lady, Home in the Cave and My Even Day. Math themed books were also a big trend during Children’s Book Week, with the series My Even Day, One Odd Day and My Half Day leading the pack.

Sylvan Dell Publishing is on a mission to create picture books that excite children’s imaginations, are artistically spectacular and have educational value. We have a special interest in bringing science and math to children through quality literature. Founded in 2004 Sylvan Dell is growing quickly, working with more than 80 authors and illustrators, including 70 titles and many more in production. The science and math through literature program is an essential component of our mission integrating science, math and geography with reading, character skills and language through fun cross-curricular activities. Sylvan Dell is proud to be the leader in providing online educator resources in addition to award winning titles.

Kick Off Children’s Book Week With FREE eBooks!

Children’s Book Week 2012, sponsored by the Children’s Book Council, runs from May 7th through May 14th.  In honor of this special week, Sylvan Dell will be offering our full eBook site license FREE on our website the entire week.  Use this as a great opportunity to kick off a summer reading program for your students or children! Plus, the free teaching activities and quizzes included with every Sylvan Dell book make it an even better option for kick-starting a great summer!  To participate, simply visit from May 7th through May 13th, and click on the “Children’s Book Week” icon in the upper-right hand corner.

Many Sylvan Dell authors and illustrators are also participating in Children’s Book Week including:

For a complete listing of times and locations for author events, visit

Turtle Teaching Activity

Right click and save these images to your computer, and then print them out.  Color in the top shell (carapace) and the bottom shell (plastron). Cut out the figures. Fold the strip of paper to make a spring. Tape or glue one end of the folded paper to the top of Tudley and one end to the bottom (as shown). Give his shell a tap and watch him hop!

See more great turtle teaching activities here or learn about what Tudley Didn’t Know at his website.

‘Tis the Season For Some Superhero Parents

Undoubtedly you know it is THAT time of year again…especially if you have young kids.  Just yesterday I was at a T.J.MAXX in search of Christmas presents for my family and friends. It’s hard trying to make your money last when you have so many things on your list.  In fact, it’s impossible.  While there, I saw a father walking around with his young son.  He asked him to point out things he liked, things he wanted Santa to bring him.  Walking around, it was obvious that this man was making his own mental checklist…to pass along to Santa of course!  All I could think was: How is he going to remember a list when his kid is pulling everything he sees off the shelf?  It’s moments like these that I am tempted to walk up to a parent like him and say, Kudos to you, sir. Of course, I didn’t do that.  I’m not one to deliberately put myself in awkward situations.  Instead, when I noticed that most of the items his son was pulling from the shelves were books (!!!), I told him about Sylvan Dell Publishing and all of our exemplary elementary learning books.  The array of books on our website does not require a mental checklist, and it does not require picking up after a roudy child as they raid the aisles of T.J.MAXX.  AND for maximum stress relief, we do offer free gift wrapping…straight from Santa’s workshop…

Go to our online store now and choose the best way to further educate or introduce your child to science and math through literature.  At this time in the season, stores have become life-size anthills.  Don’t try to be a superhero and bust through the aisles like it’s nobody’s business…because you can’t.  I can already tell you that the massive checkout lines will be your kryptonite. Avoid the chaos with a few simple clicks, and…wahlah!  You can have some gift wrapped books at your door in no time.

Facebook Contest…Enter to Win!

Don’t pass this up guys! It’s easy and fun, and you could win your own personal elibrary. Starting now through December 31, check out our facebook page and post on our wall.  All you have to do is write your favorite thing about reading or the holidays.  And hey, you could “Like” us while you’re at it!

For example my favorite thing about Christmas is the hot Russian tea at my hometown tree farm, and the smell of my favorite Christmas tree candle. 

If you are in the holiday spirit to share your favorite thing about the holidays, or your favorite thing about reading, do it now while you still have a chance to win! We will be giving out 5 free personal elibraries between now and the end of December.

With one click, these eBooks read aloud to the children and page-flip from the beginning of a story to the end. Put a child in front of this eLibrary, and they will “play” for hours on end reading and listening to wonderful, award-winning picture books. We encourage parents to take this excitement and discuss the “For Creative Minds” section at the end of each ebook with their child. Each book homepage also has 40-60 pages of cross-curricular Teaching Activities plus 3 Interactive Reading Comprehension and Math Quizzes.

And since I’m in such a holiday spirit, I can’t help but share the recipe to the best hot winter drink EVER!

  • 1 cup of instant tea
  • 2 cups of tang
  • 1 tsp of cloves
  • 1 package of Wylers lemonade mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar (or less depending on taste)

Directions: Mix all of this together and keep it in a tightly sealed jar. Use 2 heaping teaspoons for one cup of tea.

And Wha Lah! There you have it…the best winter drink of all time!