Be a Rockhound Today

With all the seriousness in the world today, sometimes it’s fun to be silly and escape. So, imagine all the fun you can have with a pet rock. If you are in need of a geology lesson with some craftiness and a bit of creative writing, you have come to the right place.

Collecting and identifying rocks can be lots of fun for kids. In Julie the Rockhound, a young girl finds a shiny rock and her dad teaches her how to find crystals, how they are formed, and the different qualities of quartz. After the story, the “For Creative Minds” section gives readers a guide to becoming a rockhound.

If you want to create a rockhounding experience in your classroom, library or home, but can’t get outside to dig in the dirt, here is a guide to creating an indoor experience.

Create a dig site.

Fill a plastic container or a sandbox with a shallow layer of play sand or dirt. Bury a variety of rocks in the sand for kids to find. You can buy rocks from a craft store or dig some from your own yard. Place a few kid-friendly shovels and digging tools in the container to help kids unbury the rocks.

**Make sure to have at least one rock per child.

Learn about rocks.

Use the guide in the “For Creative Minds” pages to identify if the rock is sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic. You can also discuss the hardness of the rock using Moh’s Hardness Scale.

Make it your pet.

In 1975, Gary Dahl, an advertising copywriter, came up with the idea of a Pet Rock. He designed a box and owner’s manual. The whimsical idea was just what people needed at the time, and he soon began selling pet rocks to stores, and the fad spread for a short time.

Get crafty with your pet rock and set out paints and markers to make colorful rocks with a little personality!

Once kids have found their perfect pet rock, ask them to get creative and write about it. Download the Me and My Pet Rock worksheet. Here kids can name their rock, write a description, and short snippets about life with their rock!

We hope you enjoy these fun projects for Pet Rock Day. Learn more and get your copy of Julie the Rockhound at!

Book Launch Day!!!


Congratulations to all of our spring authors and illustrators it is book launch day!

This season we have pairs of fun. For budding young scientists, we have Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story and Moonlight Crab Count. Animal lovers will enjoy reading about the rescue of Honey Girl: The Hawaiian Monk Seal and learning about the adorable ways of owlets in Otis the Owl. Finally, our topography forms in many different ways, giant rocks have a connection to culture in Vivian and the Legend of the Hoodoos. Then, lava flows shaped the Hawaiian Islands, but learn how a town was saved in the 1880’s in A True Princess of Hawai‘i.

Get to know the books and their creators:


Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.

Read our interview with Anna Forrester & Susan Detwiler


Hawaiian locals and visitors always enjoy spotting endangered Hawaiian monk seals, but Honey Girl is an extra special case. She has raised seven pups, and scientists call her “Super Mom.” After Honey Girl is injured by a fishhook, she gets very sick. Scientists and veterinarians work to save Honey Girl so she can be released back to the ocean. This true story will have readers captivated to learn more about this endangered species.

Read our interview with Jeanne Walker Harvey & Shennen Bersani


Even kids can get involved in science! Ecologist Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis collaborate to bring us the story of these adventurous citizen scientists. Leena and her mom volunteer each summer to count the horseshoe crabs that visit their beach. With their dog Bobie at their sides, the duo spends a night on the shore surveying horseshoe crabs who have come to mate and lay eggs. Readers will learn valuable facts about these ancient animals and how they can get involved in the effort to conserve horseshoe crabs.

Read our interview with Jennifer Keats Curtis, & learn more about Dr. Neeti Bathala & Veronica V. Jones


In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl’s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.

Read our interview with Mary Holland


Nani has always dreamed of being a princess. When a real Hawaiian princess comes to her hometown of Hilo, Nani dresses in her best clothes. But as she watches Princess Luka, who has come to save the town from a volcanic lava flow, Nani learns that there is more to being a princess than fine clothes. This incredible story of kindness and generosity is based on the historical events of the 1880-1881 eruption of Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai‘i and the real-life Princess Luka.

Read our interview with Beth Greenway & learn more about Tammy Yee


Long ago, the Old Ones were bad. They drank all the water, ate all the pine nuts, and left nothing for the other creatures. Sinawav the coyote punished them by turning them into rocky hoodoos. Now when children misbehave, their Paiute elders remind them that they too could be turned into stone columns! Vivian has heard the stories, but this year as she and her grandmother climb the mesa to pick pine nuts, Vivian has something more important on her mind: basketball tryouts. When Vivian is disrespectful to the trees and the land, her grandmother must remind Vivian of the legend of the hoodoos and how nature has made it possible for her people to live.

Read our interview with Terry Catasús Jennings & learn more about  Phyllis Saroff

Check out for more information and teaching activity guides for each book!