Showing posts with label earth day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label earth day. Show all posts

Sublime Planet - A Review

Title: Sublime Planet
Authors: Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
Photos: Ann Howley 
ISBN: 978-1482054705
Reviewed by Karen Cioffi

Gearing up for Earth Day, Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball are releasing a brand new collection of poems titled Sublime Planet. The collection features relevant poems by Carolyn and Magdalena that demonstrate the interconnections of the world around us, including life, family, and love, along with the growing concern for the earth’s preservation.

This is a beautifully written collection that allows the reader to pause and take note of the world around her.

One of my favorite poems in the collection is “The Giraffe:”

A tongue generous
as my head he reaches
for me, barriers no match
for his long neck, sniffs
my hair, kisses my face.
He unaware
he is endangered.
I unaware he might
be dangerous.

This poem is a powerful, yet simple tribute to a majestic creature that is now an endangered species. Can you imagine a planet without the giraffe?

Another poem in the collection that struck me is “Tipping Point” by Magdalena Ball: “[. . .] you eat and eat through four billion years of evolution now held loosely by one thread. [. . .] The future waits impatiently your decision.”

Again, powerful, and revealing.

Sublime Planet offers moving insight into the world around us and into a world that is in need of attention, and it certainly honors Earth Day. I highly recommend it.

For those who aren’t aware of what Earth Day is, Senator Gaylord Nelson created this special day in the spring of 1970. The purpose behind it was to make everyone aware of all the toxins being spewed into the air and dumped in nearby streams or other waterways by manufacturing companies.

At that time, there were no regulatory or legal safety nets to protect our planet, our environment. Senator Nelson took a stand and his cause quickly caught on.
The earth is our planet, our home, our responsibility, and we’re not doing such a good job protecting it.

Sublime Planet will be released before Earth Day (April 22nd). Keep a look out for it and get a copy as soon as it’s available.

The poems "Giraffe" and “Tipping Point” are from Sublime Planet, a book of poetry in the Celebration Series coauthored by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball. It will be released before Earth Day.  In the meantime learn more about Carolyn's poetry books (including that Celebration Series!) at And, learn more about Magdalena’s poetry and fiction at


Earth Day 2012

We've been celebrating earth day for quite a while now. The motto has always been reduce, reuse, and recycle. All very good advice. In honor of earth day 2012, I kept thinking to myself, how could I reduce using trees in my book marketing endeavors, and the idea came to me. Instead of passing out paper bookmarks (which I still do, but my bookmarks are multi-factorial in that they serve as my business card as well as a bookmark) for giveaways on my blog or anywhere else I am a member, why not use yarn bookmarks (my bookworm bookmarks are perfect for this).

I know I'm not recycling the yarn but they are reusable and do reduce the paper floating out around there.

So, in honor of earth day, I decided to do a drawing between now and 22nd, the actual date of earth day, both on this blog and my blog. The drawings will be an Earthworm (Woodsy) bookworm bookmark.

How to be entered in the drawings: (possibly between 17 and 20 bookworms to be given away)

1. Leave a comment on this blog from the 12th through the 22nd to be entered in the drawing. There are 11 scheduled blog postings between the 12th and 22nd, so that will be 11 drawings from comments on this blog. Each day's comments one winner will be randomly picked.
2. Leave a comment on my blog on any of the scheduled postings between the 122th and 22nd and you will be placed in the drawing. There are six scheduled posting plus a possible 2 or 3 unscheduled postings during that time frame. This means you need to stop by my blog every day to see if a new posting is up and leave a comment.
3. Leave you email addy in the comment in the format of eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com so if you are the winner you can be contacted so I can send out your bookworm.

Winners will be announced in the comment section after the winner has been contacted.

Simple to be entered, and remember if you don't win that day's drawing, there is always the next day or the day after that through the 22nd. If you are interested in the bookworms for gifts or if you don't win one, they are available on both my personal author website and my JGDS series website under the gifts tab. They are only $1.50 each plus shipping (anywhere in the United States). See you all in the postings - E :)

School and Library Author Visits

When planning a library or school author visit it is essential to have activities that are fun, memorable and involve child participation. I like to include a movement activity and a craft project they can take with them.
Here’s one version of a one hour visit I use.

1.      Simplified prediction activity to introduce Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by looking at the cover to predict the story
2.      Read Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep

3.      Consonant Blend Jumping (see below)
4.      Shelby Puppet introduces Trouble on Earth Day by bringing out fascinating facts about squirrels (ex: they can jump 12 feet) and predicting the story by looking at the cover and other objects I made from the story (see below) TIP: Puppets are expensive. You can transform a thrift store stuffed animal into a puppet by opening the bottom, removing some stuffing and sewing a sock inside.

5.      Read Trouble on Earth Day
6.      They color a picture of a bird on a nest and glue sticks and pink yarn to the picture.
Consonant Blend Jumping

In my book, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby sleep I feature the consonant blends sh, ch, br, th, and br. I laminated four of each of these blends and taped them to the floor in a line. At the end of each line I placed a basket with a word that uses the blend attached to the front. The children jump on each blend and shout out its sound and throw a beanbag into the basket as they read the word. I change the movement for different age groups. (jump backwards, hop)

Prediction Fun

By adding just a few simple questions and activities to your story time, you can help children begin to learn about important reading skills.  Here’s how to introduce  Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfman.
  • Put a heart in a paper bag for each student and tape it closed.
  • In a teacher’s bag put a piece of fur, a feather, a pin cushion, a jar of slime, sequins, pinecone scales, plastic wing with black dots.
Tell the children they are going to be detectives and solve a mystery.  They have to look for clues and guess what’s in their bag.  On the chalkboard write the word "prediction." Pointing to the teacher bag say, "First, let’s guess what’s in my bag." Guide students as they make a prediction about what might be in the paper bag. Ask what clues they are using to make their prediction. For instance, suggest that size, lack of movement, smell, or weight might limit their guess.  Once you have gathered student responses, write them on the board.  Open the bag, and take out the fur. Let them revise their predictions as needed, emphasizing that you have more information to use now. Ask how fur is used, and do they have any fur at home?  Take each item out of the bag and ask what it might represent.  State that this process is the same when you read a book. Your predictions change based on the information you gather as you read.  Show the cover, title, and some illustrations of Janet Halfman’s picture book.  Ask students what the items might have to do with the story you are going to read.  Make final revisions to the predictions emphasizing that the prediction changed based on the information you gathered. 

Read, Fur and Feathers.  Watch their eyes light up as they discover each item is used in the book to cover the animals that lost their coats in a windstorm.  When you finish the book, ask the children to guess what’s in their own bag.  Let them open the bag to find the candy heart, which coincides with the surprise ending of the story. 

Some Other Activities for Library and School Author Visits:

Recycle cardboard and gift wrap to make a bookmark

1.      Cut a cardboard rectangle 2 ½” by 7”.
2.      Wrap it up like a gift.
3.      Cut a 1” by 4” piece of construction paper.
4.      Put each child’s name on the paper.
5.      Glue it to the center of the bookmark.

Sight Word Tree

1.      Draw a large tree on a poster board.
2.      Make several nests large enough to write on.
3.      Write a sight word on the back of each nest and hang them on the tree.
4.      Children take turns picking a nest off the tree and read the sight word.

Sound Effects

Assign each child a sound effect during a reading. (wind, rain, bells, barking, crashing noises, crying, doors closing, etc) Have a practice session by pointing to each child to say their sound. Just mix it up and have fun. The children love this game. When reading your picture book, point to the appropriate child to sync sound effects to the story.

Sight Word Musical Chairs

Arrange chairs in a circle facing out. Put a dolch sight word on each chair. Children walk around the chairs until the music stops. They pick up the sight word and sit. The take turns reading their sight word around the circle.

Stay tuned for my ebook on this subject which will be overflowing with creative ideas for author visits. It will also include advertising techniques such as a poster to place in the school and sending out press releases to local newspapers prior to the visit. I learned the hard way thinking the library staff would advertise the event properly. Don’t forget photo release forms which allow you to use photos of the children in future advertising projects.

Author Bio: Kathy Stemke

Award winning author, Kathy Stemke, has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years. 
As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes.
Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  Visit her book blog at
Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog.

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