Sunday, June 22, 2008

Did You Know?

Everywhere I go, I learn interesting facts which I often refer to as "factoids"... even though I'm not actually sure that's a word. Recently, I learned this interesting tidbit from second grade teacher Mrs. Carlson:

If you look at a fiddler crab's hole, you will notice little balls of sand next to it. Line the balls of sand up in a straight line, and that will show you how deep the crab's hole is.

Try it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Journey of the Jetsam

We've all heard some version of the story of a message in a bottle that fell into the ocean off the shores of Timbuktu and journeyed a tremendous distance...only to be discovered on the island of Somewhere Else. Although these stories are the stuff of fairytales, in real life, the journey of trash in our oceans is more of a horror story. 

In her book, Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, author Loree Griffin Burns details the research of oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer who studies ocean currents by tracking cargo ship container spills with the help of beachcombers. Scientists use their valuable data to help protect and preserve fragile marine habitats and the creatures that live there. Griffin's book is insightful, fun to read, and inspiring especially for young readers interested in science. If I was still teaching, I would use her book as a springboard for discussing many topics including map skills, ocean currents, marine habitats, the effects of pollution, and how students can help save the environment.

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of Griffin's school visits and was very impressed by how she managed to present her information to children of all ages. The children were interested, attentive, and her talk generated many interesting questions. The children (and I), were left truly inspired! What's the buzz on Griffin's latest project?...Bees!

Enjoy your journeys to the beach this summer...just remember to take your trash with you when you leave!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Any Day Now!

My latest book, Journey Around Nantucket will be out in the next couple weeks! I can't wait to see the book when it arrives. It's always such a thrill to see the final product!
The book features many favorite locations on Nantucket with surprise factoids for locals and visitors. My family and I had so much fun visiting the island while doing research for this book. Stay tuned for book signings later this summer on Nantucket and the Cape. I'd love to meet you and hear about your experiences on this lovely island!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Scratch and Sketch

Though most know me for my Journey Around series, I have also written and illustrated several Scratch and Sketch books for Peter Pauper Press where my twin sister Heather is the Creative Director. These great books are so much fun for kids. The activity series combines text and illustrations which encourages children to create their own images on a number of topics as they scratch and sketch the coated black surfaces to reveal colored patterns and metallic foils beneath. Many of my friends like to take these along while they travel because they keep kids happy and engaged for a very long time...they're magic!