Little Blue Butterfly Receives Protection

The Miami blue butterfly, once thought to be extinct, is now protected by the Endangered Species Act. Only 50 of these butterflies were alive in 2003, and they were isolated in the Florida Keys. Since then, only some populations have survived. Thankfully, now the Miami blue butterfly is officially on the endangered species list, making it illegal to harm them. Let’s hope this butterfly species’ numbers can recover!

Read the full article on these butterflies here:

To learn more about the habits and life cycle of butterflies (with some math skills thrown in!) check out Ten For Me:


Amazing Mimic Octopus

It is well known that octopuses are amazing animals–they are intelligent, can squeeze through tiny spaces, and can change color at will. And apparently, they can also make fun of humans! Check it out:

It seems like the octopus was poking fun at the divers watching it!

To read more about amazing octopus abilities, read Octavia and learn how she defends herself from predators!

For our Beloved Book Lovers

Today, November 7th, is National Bookstore Day.  It is also Book Lover’s Day.  What better time could there be to make a trip to your closest bookstore and buy that book you have been itching to get your hands on.  I know that I have my own growing list that alternates between my purse and back pocket.  Go buy a book today, or buy several…the holiday season is here after all.  You may not think it, but I can assure you, books do in fact fit in Christmas stockings!

Better yet, take a hunt around our website.  To those of you with younger children, we have many fun to read books that you can order today.  As you may know, Sylvan Dell has grown to include more than 75 authors and illustrators in the United States and Canada, and 65 titles – honored as finalists or winners of over 70 book awards. Our Science and Math Through Literature Program integrates reading, science, math, geography, character skills, and language learning through fun, cross-curricular activities. Sylvan Dell also provides more online educator resources than any other publisher in the United States.

And on a random note…here’s some interesting facts about Daylight Savings Time…that wonderful mock holiday of ours that bewilders us all:

  • According to computer scientist, David Prerau, Ben Franklin—of “early to bed and early to rise” fame—was the first person to suggest the concept of daylight savings.
  • Franklin noted that the sun would rise far earlier than he usually did.  He determined that resources would be saved if he and others rose before noon and burned less midnight oil.
  • Germany was the first place to adopt these time changes, thereby saving coal for the war effort during WWI.
  • In the USA, a federal law standardized the yearly start and end of daylight saving time in 1918…during WWII, it was made mandatory, in order to save wartime resources.  It was even enforced year-round during this time…essentially making it the new standard time for a few years.
  • During the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo, the USA again extended daylight saving time through the winter.  This caused a 1% decrease in the country’s electrical load. 

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:

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

A Hidden Silver Lining

Good new too all!  There may be a hidden silver lining to global warming…well, in the Arctic at least.  According to a new study, the persistent change in climate may very well improve the quality of air in the polar region.  This good news is rare seeing as global warming in the Arctic is increasing at a more rapid rate than in other areas of the planet.  Due to warming, air pollutants from industrial regions travel to the Arctic.  In turn, these pollutants only speed up the warming.  It is a vicious cycle! 

 Now, I’m sure you are asking, “Where is the good news?”  Well my friends, global rainfall is also predicted to be a widespread result of global warming.  Lucky for us, rain serves as a natural cleanser.  As said by the scientist leading this recent study, Timothy Garrett, “Precipitation is the atmosphere’s single most efficient way of removing particulate pollution.”  Raindrops take the pollutants with them. Simple as that!  Due to this redeeming natural occurrence, rainfall may already swipe pollution from the air before it even reaches the Arctic.

Read about another vicious cylce in our book, “In Arctic Waters,” by Laura Crawford.  I promise, this cycle is more forgiving and much more exciting!  Through this wonderfully illustrated book,  join in the rhythmic, building fun of Arctic animals as they play and chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic water.”  What happens to interrupt and spoil their fun?  Go and see for yourself!


For even more fun with reading, dive into another one of our titles, “The Glaciers are Melting!” by Donna Love.  In this book, Peter Pika is sure the glaciers are melting and is off to talk to the Mountain Monarch about it.  Joined along the way by friends Tammy Ptarmigan, Sally Squirrel, Mandy Marmot, and Harry Hare, they all wonder what will happen to them if the glaciers melt.  Where will they live, how will they survive?  When Wiley Wolverine tries to trick them, can the Mountain Monarch save them?  More importantly, can the Mountain Monarch stop the glaceirs from melting?

In Support of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day:

Tomorrow, September 13th, is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Day.  Cancer, more common in older people, does reach children as well.  Although no one really understands why young children get cancer, it is important that they always know it is not their fault.  Neuroblastoma, for instance, is one of the most frequent cancers in children today.  This disease attacks the sympathetic nervous system and spreads its harm to 650 children a year in the US.  One of the most devastating facts about this disease is that there is no cure.  Children with Neuroblastoma can undergo the most toxic form of chemotherapy, in search for the possibility of remission.  If remission does occur, however, there is no cure for relapse, a traumatizing and constant threat for children in recovery. 

Check out our book, “Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too!” by Sherry North.  This book provides the perfect opportunity for you as parents to teach your children about cancer awareness as well.  In this inspirational story, although cancer affects a young boy’s dog, children can still learn it is a disease that can find anyone.  It teaches children about cells that may grow the wrong way inside of the body, as well as ways to comfort the sick.  A person may seem completely fine on the outside although they are sick inside.  It is never too early to inform children and make them aware.   

This day, of all days, can be one for you to help.  There are countless non-profit organizations in cities all over the country.  Finding one won’t be difficult. Volunteer opportunities are available all of the time.  Children need the help of others in order to chase after a cure.  For our followers here in Charleston, you can get active in your home city.  Follow this link to meet Chase, a strong young fighter, and explore opportunities to help in the community: Chase After a Cure.  For other followers, check out this more thorough list of organizations all over the country that are available to you!  It doesn’t matter who you are, you can help!

New Possibilities Through Science and Literature

For the first time, scientists are closely studying  the Pacific leaping blenny.  Surely you are asking yourself, “What in the world is that?”  The leaping blenny, my friend, is a land dwelling fish that walks!  This fish lives and moves agily along the rocky coast of Micronesia.  While this fish breathes through its gills and skin, it still requires water to survive.  It has not completely leaped away from its evolutionary track.

Now that fish can walk, check out our book, “Tudley Didn’t Know,” by John Himmelman.  In this crazy adventure, a turtle named Tudley finds out he can fly, leap, and glow among other things.  He keeps discovering talents he never knew he had.  When it comes to it, he learns how to protect himself and open his friends’ eyes to new possibilities.

This book teaches a lesson that is inspiring for children of all ages.  If fish can walk and turtles can fly, then what’s stopping children from reaching  for new possibilities as well?