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

 

The Quantum Classroom

public_domain_astronomy_23

Quick! What’s behind you right now? Did you peek over to see desks, the wallpaper, students, books, or toys? Were those objects there even before you looked at them? Are they there now, even though you’re reading this instead of seeing them? As strange as it sounds, some scientists believe that nothing exists definitely until someone measures it, such as you did with your eyes and ears. These scientists work in a field of science called Quantum Mechanics.

In the early 1900s, smarty-pants scientists like Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg studied, experimented and argued over the question of what light was made of. Light was very mysterious to scientists at the time, because in some experiments it acted like a wave, similar to the invisible radio and magnetic waves all around us. In other experiments though, light acted like a particle, a solid object like a Pop Tart, a textbook, a penny, a skyscraper… Anything that’s in one place and that weighs something is a particle. It didn’t seem to make sense for something to be an invisible wave and a solid particle at the same time, but in test after test, light was both! You might think it was time for these scientists to turn in their labcoats and get new jobs… this was too hard to figure out! Instead of giving up though, the scientists continued experimenting and studying the subject until they found a solution: light is a wave until it gets observed, then it becomes a solid particle!

This was huge news for scientists. If light acts like this, then other solid objects may not be so solid after all too. The scientists studying Quantum Mechanics presented this thought-provoking possibility: that that the world is actually a wave of possibilities until we observe it, then it becomes the solid place we can feel, touch, taste and smell. It’s a bit like hiding trash under your bed: if you can’t see it, it’s not there!

Outstanding Science for Two Sylvan Dell Books

We are happy to announce that this year two Sylvan Dell books were selected by science teachers for the 2013 Outstanding Science Trade Books. Each year the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council collaborate to choose top science reads for children in K-12.

Get to know Desert Baths and Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story 

Desert Baths

by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

All animals bathe to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Humans might 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.

Darcy Pattison (www.darcypattison.com) is published in eight languages. Recent titles include two nature books for Sylvan Dell, Prairie Storms and Desert Baths (August, 2012). Other recent titles include WisdomThe Midway Albatross and11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph.  She also authored the ebook,How to Write a Children’s Book and the teacher resource book, Paper LightningPrewriting Activities to Spark Creativity and Help Students Write Effectively (Prufrock Press). Darcy is the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award, Individual Artist Award for her work in children’s literature.  As a writing teacher, Darcy is in demand nationwide to teach her Novel Revision Retreat.  She is currently the Co-Chair of the Children’s Program for the Arkansas Literary Festival.. For more information about Darcy, view her school visit info, or visit www.prairiestorms.com.

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition to illustrating Desert BathsThe Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Sylvan Dell, Kathleen’s other books includeConce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community. For more information about Kathleen, visit her website: http://www.kathleenrietz.com/.

Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story

By Terry Catasus Jennings and illustrated by Laurie O’Keefe

The forest animals are surprised when a volcano suddenly explodes, covering the land in gritty, warm ash and rocks that make it unlivable for many plants and animals. Gopher survives in his underground burrow with food to eat. How does Gopher help bring life back to the mountain? Scientists spent years observing life returning to the mountain following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. This fictionalized story is based on their surprising observations of how life returns to an area that has been totally changed or destroyed.
Terry Catasús Jennings (pronounced cat ah soos) has been heavily involved in the arts for the past 20 years, serving as a Cultural Arts Chair in her children’s schools. She is a contributor to the National Science Resource Center’s (NSRC) Science and Technology for Children and Science and Technology Concepts for Middle Grades series. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Long Island News Day and Ranger Rick and she wrote a family humor column for her local newspaper, The Reston Connection, for four years. Gopher to the Rescue: A Volcano Recovery Storyis her first picture book. Terry is a member of SCBWI. She and her husband live in Northern Virginia. Visit Terry’s blog at http://www.kcswildfacts.com/Terry-Catasus-Jennings.html/.
Laurie O’Keefe’s undergraduate degree in zoology and her graduate degree in human anatomy have helped with her scientific illustrations in the medical and scientific fields. Her client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in scientific illustrations from text books and magazines to zoos and museums.Gopher to the Rescue! A Volcano Recovery Story is her first picture book. Laurie lives and works from her home studio, located on Orcas Island, WA. To see more of Laurie’s artwork visit www.laurieokeefe.com.
For fun quizzes and activities visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com

Halloween Fun!

It’s a scary time of year and kids are gearing up for costumes, trick or treating and scary movies. Here is a fun fall activities.

Carving Jack-o-Lanterns is a fun Halloween activity, but where do those pumpkins come from?

Who knew pumpkins are a fruit! Pumpkins need acres of room, rich soil and lots of sun so their vines can stretch out across the field. They don’t like the cold and should be planted late in spring. When we carve the pumpkin and remove all those seeds, they can be saved for planting next year, or eaten! Don’t worry you can’t grow a pumpkin in your belly, but here is a tasty way to enjoy the seeds.

Ranch Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Pinch of Salt

1 Tablespoon Ranch Dressing Mix

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

Heat oven to 275° F. Toss butter, salt, dressing mix and pumpkin seeds in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

-For more fun facts about growing plants read The Tree That Bear Climbed, Sylvan Dell’s November free eBook of the Month.  http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=TreeBear.

Meet Animal Helper: Kim Johnson

As we continue to feature wildlife rehabilitators this month on the Sylvan Dell blog, this week we meet Kim Johnson from The Drift Inn Wildlife Sanctuary. She shares with us the trials and tribulations of rescuing wild animals.

Texan Kim Johnson often works with her veterinarian husband and a tiny volunteer group at her Drift Inn Wildlife Sanctuary in Driftwood to care for a wide variety of mammals, including raccoons, squirrels, deer, fox, skunks, even bobcats. “Every year is different and I never know exactly what to expect” says Kim, one of a small handful of licensed rehabilitators in her state, “During Hurricane Ike, 200 squirrels were delivered to my front door.”

Despite her hectic schedule caring for wild animals, many of them babies, for 14-18 hours a day, seven days a week, Kim never seems to lose her sense of humor. “If it’s native and it lives in Texas, it’s been in my house, and maybe even if it’s not native,” she quips.

In many of the pictures that Kim submitted for possible use in Animal Helpers, she is wearing a big smile and very heavy welder’s gloves. The grin is, of course, because Kim loves her job. The gloves are because she is smart and seasoned. After 33 years as a rehabilitator, Kim is keenly aware that those gloves are mandatory equipment for handling fuzzy babies that have big paws, sharp teeth, and claws.  

Name: Kim Johnson

Name of organization/clinic: The Drift Inn Wildlife Sanctuary

State: Texas

Specialty/special areas of experience: Mammals, raptors

Years as rehabilitator/volunteer: 33 years

Busiest time of year: May-July

Number of hours you work per week during your busy season: 18+ hours a day 7 days a week

Number of volunteers in clinic: 4

Why did you become a rehabilitator/volunteer: For the love of nature and animals

Most rewarding aspect of rehabilitation: Release days and seeing an animal we thought would not pull through survive and be released!

As a rehabilitator, what is the most common question you are asked? If I touched it, will the mother come back?

Having cared for wildlife for so long, Kim cheerfully tells wonderful stories about the creatures that have come through her clinic, such as: A 7-week-old bobcat came to us on Christmas Day.  He was cute as a button, cute in the “I have claws and teeth and know how to use them” kind of way. For some reason, people still think that all little wild animals drink cow’s milk. (Unless they arecows, they do not do well on cow’s milk.) After getting his weight up, this bobcat soon started to fit right in with the rest of the crew.  He ate mice in nanoseconds, soon was jumping up on everything and getting more mischievous by the day!  Seven weeks later, it was time to move him to a larger facility.  This bobcat had grown four times the size he was when we got him. He was ready to mingle with his own kind.  We transferred him to a much larger facility outside of San Antonio where there are 12 other bobcats. He will be released onto a 1,000 plus acre refuge.  We will miss him; but, as with all of our animals, we feel blessed to have them and to be able to give them the care they need for the time we do. 

Favorite animal story:  We got a call that an adult raccoon had his head stuck for the entire night and half of the day in a bird feeder in a tree.  As I got there sure enough, he had wedged himself to where he could rest on the edge of the feeder as he contemplated his problems.  I told the lady that I could save the coon but not the feeder.  She suggested that they have a warning for purchasers of said bird feeder that it could also capture raccoons.  I got on a ladder and proceeded to unscrew the feeder and remove it from the tree.  So far so good.  I quickly realized that the coon was not coming out of the feeder without a chisel or saw and some serious drugs (for the coon of course).  I decided to put said coon and feeder in the back of the SUV and take him the eight miles down the road to the house where Dr. Johnson (Ray) could tranquilize him and we could then figure out how to release the raccoon from his feeder.  Halfway home, I have visions of the coon releasing himself from the feeder and kicking my tail in the car all the way home.  Luckily, for both of us he was quite stuck and we made it home.  Ray was almost laughing too hard to sedate the bugger but we got it done and although he never completely passed out, he was docile enough to unscrew the rest of the feeder and chisel the wood from around his neck without so much as a scratch on him!  He looked at us and groggily ran off without so much as a thank you.

What advice would you offer to children considering a career in wildlife rehabilitation?

Become a veterinarian who specializes in wildlife.  There are few out there and more are needed!

Remember Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators is FREE for the month of October at www.sylvandellpublishing.com, or Read it on your iPad, by downloading the free app Fun eReader in iTunes and entering the code: 2WZ637 in the red box on the App Registration page.

Animal Helper: Victoria Campbell

Do you love animals, and want to help wildlife? Meet Victoria Campbell a rehabilitator from Wild Things Sanctuary featured in Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators. Victoria shares her dedication and the rewards of working with natures amazing creatures.

Name: Victoria Campbell

Name of organization/clinic: Wild Things Sanctuary 

State: New York 

Specialty/special areas of experience: Mammals, baby animals 

Years as rehabilitator/volunteer: 6 

Busiest time of year: April-September (especially May-July)                             

Number of hours you work per week during your busy season: up to 140! 

Number of volunteers in clinic: Varies. At the moment, I have 3.

Why did you become a rehabilitator/volunteer: I became a wildlife rehabilitator because I feel a great empathy for the wild animals who do not have owners to look after them and who can get very badly sick and injured and orphaned: they need help too! Also, most patients are in trouble because of human related causes (e.g., cars, pets, construction), and I felt that it was part of my duty as a human to give back to these animals who need help.

Most rewarding aspect of rehabilitation: Having an animal learn to trust me and building an understanding between me and the patient. And it’s pretty fun nurturing the baby animals as well! 

As a rehabilitator, what is the most common question you are asked? How did you get those scratches? What’s the biggest animal/worst bite you’ve ever had? When do you sleep? How do you know all this stuff?

Favorite animal story: Too many to think of! Pretty amazing releasing an animal and seeing it run off smiling…or when a pregnant mama gives birth at Wild Things! 

What advice would you offer to children considering a career in wildlife rehabilitation: Learn as much about animals as you can and see whether there are any places where you can volunteer and learn more about wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitators need to know about animal behavior, veterinary care, animal husbandry, and even skills like cooking and carpentry: there is lots to learn! Also, make sure you have a support system of people who can help you: it is hard work! And reach out to others who are interested and/or who are wildlife rehabilitators as often you learn the most from other rehabilitators and their work. Finally, know that sometimes you need to love the animals enough to make difficult decisions; wildlife rehabilitation is great but it can be very sad too.  

Visit http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/ beginning October 1st Read Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators for FREE all month.

Brrr… How Do You Stay Warm in the Winter?

A Warm Winter Tail

By Carrie A. Pearson

Illustrated by Christina Wald

Finally, to wrap up the Sylvan Dell Launch Week we end With A Warm Winter Tail.

Sparked from walk in the woods Carrie Pearson wrote A Warm Winter Tail, a twist on staying warm in the long cold months of winter.

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.

Carrie A. Pearson is originally from Hillsdale, Michigan, and now lives in Marquette, Michigan on the sandy shore of Lake Superior. A former early elementary teacher, she is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is the winner of the coveted SCBWI-Michigan Picture Book Mentorship Award. Her nonfiction work has appeared in Michigan History Magazine. Currently she is working on several picture book manuscripts as well as an historical novel for middle grade readers set in an abandoned orphanage. Along with her husband and their three daughters (and their two Labradoodles), she hikes, bikes, runs, and skis in the woods, windsurfs, kayaks, stand-up paddles, and swims in the chilly water and writes about what she experiences around her. The idea for A Warm Winter Tail, her debut picture book, came from an encounter with a whitetail deer on a wintry day. Stop by Carrie’s website www.carriepearsonbooks.com to learn about her school and library visits.

In addition to illustrating A Warm Winter Tail, Habitat Spy, Little Red Bat, andHenry the Impatient Heron for Sylvan Dell, Christina Wald has illustrated for a wide variety of toys, games, books, and magazines. From a book that featured hundreds of animals on each page (Look, Find, and Learn: Animals of the World) to games including the Star Wars role playing game series, every assignment covers something new and exciting. In recent years, she has illustrated tons of different animals for books and other publications. Christina enjoys the research aspect of such projects, saying that each new book is a fascinating new learning experience. She often integrates travel to research for her illustrations. She lives in Ohio with her husband and three cats. Visit Christina’s website.

A Tree Grows for Bear to Climb

The Tree That Bear Climbed

By Marianne Berkes

Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

In any given city on any given day, a bear climbs a tree. Have you ever wondered how that tree became so strong, or why did that bear choose to climb to the top of a tree? Marianne Berkes and Kathleen Rietz show you just why Bear decided to climb this tree! Have Fun with the coloring page at the bottom, click on the image for a full page to color.

Everyone 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?

About the author and illustrator

Award-winning author Marianne Berkes (pronounced Ber-kess with two syllables) is a retired teacher and librarian who turned her love of nature and teaching into writing informational picture books. In addition to The Tree That Bear Climbed and Animalogy for Sylvan Dell, some of Marianne’s other recent and award-winning titles include: Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration; Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef; Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme; Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun, and Marsh Morning. Visit her website at www.MarianneBerkes.com.

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally, from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition, to illustrating Desert Baths, The Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Sylvan Dell, Kathleen’s other books include Conce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community. For more information about Kathleen, visit her website: http://www.kathleenrietz.com/.

Comment on this post to win a FREE The Tree That Bear Climbed eBook.

Have you ever wondered how desert animals stay clean?

DESERT BATHS 

by Darcy Pattison
Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

Watch the vulture bask in the morning sun, the roadrunner kick up a cloud of dust, the javelina wallow, and the bobcat give her cub a licking with a rough tongue in Desert Baths. As the sun travels across the sky, learn how twelve different desert animals face the difficulties of staying clean in a dry and parched land. Explore the desert habitat through its animals and their habits of hygiene. Told in lyrical prose, this story is a celebration of the desert lands of the American Southwest.

After reading Desert Baths, get into the spirit with a great coloring page below by Kathleen Rietz, or visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com to take the quiz to see what you learned about desert animals.

Darcy Pattison is published in eght languages. In addition to Desert Baths and Prairie Storms with Sylvan Dell, other recent titles include Wisdom: The Midway Albatross and 11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph. She also authored the ebook, How to Write a Children’s Book and the teacher resource book, Paper Lightning: Prewriting Activities to Spark Creativity and Help Students Write Effectively. Darcy is the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award, Individual Artist Award for her work in children’s literature. As a writing teacher, Darcy is in demand nationwide to teach her Novel Revision Retreat. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Children’s Program for the Arkansas Literary Festival.

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition to illustrating Desert Baths, The Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Sylvan Dell, Kathleen’s other books include Conce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community.

Write a comment and you could win an eBook of Desert Baths!

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

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 www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com 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.