Book Launch: They Just Know

TheyJustKnowRobin Yardi is releasing her first picture book this week, They Just Know: Animal Instincts. The combination of the whimsical and real life come together perfectly with Laurie Allen Klein’s art as readers learn how some animals don’t need mom and dad to show them the way, they just know!

Before we get to the inside scoop on hidden gems in the art meet Robin and find out how this story came to be…

RobinYardiWhat was your incentive to write this particular book?

When my daughter was young we loved to talk about animals that didn’t need their mothers. I remember playing mommy and baby butterfly with her (a game of her invention) and trying to explain, “Well actually, butterflies never meet their mothers.” You should have seen her face! “Who teaches them to fly?” she asked. “Who makes them breakfast?” After years and years of watching butterflies in our garden this still amazes her, so I thought a book about the wonderful things animals can do all on their own would appeal to other kids too.

What animals in They Just Know have you seen before?

We get monarchs coming through our garden twice a year on their migration north and south. They lay their eggs and travel on, leaving behind little larvae that devour our milkweed. Then the milkweed grows back just in time to host a new crop of caterpillars. And every winter thousands of monarchs take shelter in a coastal grove of eucalyptus nearby.

I’ve had the pleasure of petting horn sharks at our local Sea Center. They are quite docile and have soft, pebbly skin.

I’ve loved finding ladybugs since I was a little girl. Once I had hundreds of ladybugs take up residence in the cracks of my windows and spend the entire winter living with me. I made quite a lot of wishes that winter and really don’t have many left. Now when I find ladybugs I give them to my children to wish on.

I’ve never seen a spring peeper, or pinkletink as some people call them, but I do love and worry about the world’s amphibians. I’ve had pet frogs and toads and once ended up with about two hundred tadpoles!

I’ve swum among Green Sea Turtles in the waters of Hawai’i. These turtles are protected and you cannot touch them, but you can look deep, deep into their eyes. I’ve rarely seen anything so beautiful, curious and gentle.

As a kid in California I caught two species of kingsnake, both strikingly and stripingly beautiful!

To read the full interview with Robin, click here, but first play find and seek throughout the book with Laurie Allen Klein’s art!

Hide and Seek in They Just Know

LaurieAllenKlein(hint, Laurie answers these questions on Nonfiction Nook, but see if you can find them yourself)

  • Find the t-shirt with all the animals from the book pictured on it.
  • Which way is the current headed for the baby swimming turtles?
  • What kind of “helmet” might a ladybug wear for flying?
  • If a shark needed a nightlight what kind of fish serves that purpose?
  • First flights are celebrated with a ritual, why is a cut t-shirt so special?
  • What is the equation on the frog’s blackboard showing?TJK-spread-13
  • What game are the king snakes playing?
  • What other Arbordale book is pictured within the pages here?

Comment here and enter to win your own copy of They Just Know!

Balloons are Just One of the Gifts From Trees

BalloonTrees_128

Balloon Trees, the new title from Sylvan Dell, written by Danna Smith and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, reveals that the rubber that makes up balloons, balls, tires, shoes and many more things actually comes from trees! What other surprising things do you think trees give us?

The house you live in may be made from wood from trees; that’s obvious, but did you know that that house is filled with gifts from trees also? Do you like that your parents are less grumpy in the morning when they have their coffee? You can thank the coffee arabica tree for that, a 20 foot evergreen that grows in warm climates of the world. A cup of hot cocoa has made a long journey from cocoa trees along the equator to reach your kitchen. Maple syrup, cinnamon, fruits, nuts, and many more delicious items also come from trees.

Ever wonder how jelly candies get so goopy and great? Check the ingredients and you’ll find “gum arabic” in the list. Gum arabic is hardened sap from an acacia tree, and it’s used in foods like desserts to lend its goopy texture to them. It is also a key ingredient in glues, paints, and many other products that manufacturers want to make ‘slimy,’ ‘goopy,’ or ‘jelly.’

“Cellulose” is part of the ‘skin’ of trees, and when manufactured it can become “Rayon” clothing to make our own skin warmer. Cellulose is even an ingredient in foods and beauty products, lending its texture to them to make them ‘thicker’ or ‘heavier.’ When fat is removed from some “diet” or “fat-free” products, cellulose is often added to try and make the food ‘feel’ the same in a person’s mouth as before.

Trees also give us many kinds of medicine, such as aspirin, and even the first medicine for fighting malaria, “quinine.” If you’ve read our book, The Most Dangerous, you know how harmful the mosquito-spread disease malaria can be. Without the discovery of quinine from Peruvian trees, malaria would have harmed that many more people, and maybe even changed world history! Soldiers in WWII that fought in the Pacific jungles took quinine everyday, and it helped the building of the Panama Canal, and the Dutch and English to build their historical empires!

Of course, this is only the beginning of the gifts that trees give us. Say “thank you” back, by planting a tree, or at least reading a Sylvan Dell book under the shade of one!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Balloon Trees by Danna Smith

Balloon Trees

by Danna Smith

Giveaway ends May 10, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Meet the Planets Receives a Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family!

Meet the Planets, a spring 2012 release from Sylvan Dell Publishing, has just received a Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family!

Teachers’ Choice Awards have been a part of Learning Magazine since 1994. Since that time, the program has grown to become one of the most recognized and prestigious awards in the educational market. The Teachers’ Choice Awards for the Family is the only awards program that requires panelists to be both teachers and parents. The winners will receive a spotlight in the magazine’s Children’s Book Award section, as well as a seal distinguishing them as a Children’s Books winner.

John McGranaghan has always been fascinated by outer space and he shares that fascination in a humorous and educational way through Meet the Planets and Saturn for My Birthday. John has also written stories and articles for Boys’ Quest Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Columbia Magazine, and local newspapers. He is winner of the 2001 Pockets Fiction Contest. When John isn’t writing, he enjoys sports and spending time with his wife and two boys. John is a school counselor in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Klein has been a freelance artist for nearly 20 years. Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals, to illustrating children’s activity books. In addition to the Furs and Feathers, Klein also illustrated Meet the Planets, Where Should Turtle Be?, Little Skink’s Tail, and If a Dolphin Were a Fish for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Her other books include The Out to Pasture series, authored by Effie Wilder.  This is the second Teachers’ Choice Award this year for Laurie.  She previously won the Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom for Fur and Feathers in October.

Soar into the Solar System to witness the first Favorite Planet Competition, emceed by none other than the former-ninth planet, now known as dwarf planet Pluto. The readers become the judges after the sun can’t pick a favorite and the meteors leave for a shower. Who will the lucky winning planet be? Could it be speedy-messenger Mercury, light-on-his-feet Saturn, or smoking-hot Venus? Readers learn all about each planet as Pluto announces them with short, tongue-in-cheek facts. Children will spend hours searching the art in Meet the Planets for all the references to famous scientists and people of history, space technology, constellations, art, and classic literature.

Sylvan Dell’s “Fur and Feathers” is a 2012 Teacher’s Choice Award for Children’s Books Winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Magazine has selected Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, as a 2012 9th annual Teacher’s Choice Award for Children’s Books winner! 

The Teacher’s Choice Award is determined by a team of teachers from across the United States.  They judge the entries and provide reviews.  Sylvan Dell’s book, Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!  had the privilege of winning the Teacher’s Choice for the Family Award in November of 2011.  This is the only award that requires its judges to be both a teacher and a parent.  Winning titles are chosen based on qualities such as originality, creativity, safety and durability, and high-interest level and motivation for children. 

In Fur and Feathers, a young girl named Sophia dreams that strong winds whisk the fur and feathers right off her animal friends.  She decides to share some clothes with them, but as it turns out, her clothes don’t work so well on animals.  She offers to sew each one the “right” coat, and the animals line up to explain what they need and why.  Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warm and hide in the snow.  Fish needs scales, but with slime.  How will Sophia make a prickly coat for Porcupine?  This book brings animal coverings to life in an imaginative way.

Janet Halfmann is the award-winning author of more than thirty children’s books, both fiction and non-fiction.  Her other recent titles include Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, Good Night, Little Sea Otter, Little Black Ant on Park Street, and Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story.  Janet is a memeber of the Society of Chidlren’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Before becoming a children’s author, she was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books.  For more information, visit her website: http://www.janethalfmann.com

Laurie Allen Klein has been a freelance aritst for nearly 20 years.  Over the last several years, she has worked as the on-staff artist for a marine park, where she does everything from painting life-size sea animal murals, to illustrating children’s activity books.  In addition to Fur and Feathers, Laurie also illustrated Where Should Turtle Be?, the award-winning Little Skink’s Tail, and If a Dolphin Were a Fish for Sylvan Dell.  Her website can be visited at http://www.lauriekleinart.com/.