Tag Archives: historical events

Girls Think of Everything; Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Written by: Catherine Thimmesh

Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet

For ages: 9-13 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Inventions, Historical Figures, Feminism, Global Community.

Summary: This book is designed for elementary students, to learn more in-depth about women inventors.  Covering inventions like Scotchguard, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, and the Illusion Transmitter, the book is illustrated with colorful collaged artwork to accompany the stories.  Each story is around two and a half pages long, with a full-page picture and a few other small pictures interspersed.  There are also small facts written in bold, hot pink cursive about the inventions themselves such as what the packaging facilities of the Snugli looked liked, or how many lives have been saved by Kevlar bulletproof vests.

This book’s design really meshes educational with creative!  The stories are more detailed for older readers, but still short enough to be readable in a few minutes during a short car ride, waiting for an appointment, or before bed.  The stories are exciting rather than just dry and academic.  In the back of the book is the address for the US Patent Office, as well as sources and more information about the inventors featured.  This is a great YA book to inspire both future inventors and artists alike!

Reflection Questions:

  • Which of these inventions have you used before?
  • Did you know the origin story of how the invention came to be?
  • Do you think being an inventor sounds like a fun job?
  • What do you think might be challenging about trying to design something that’s never been seen before?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about something you use on a regular basis.  Do you know who invented it?  Learn more about them.  Are there any books written about them?  If not, write one of your own!
  • What is something that would make your or someone else’s life easier, but it hasn’t been invented yet?  Draw up some plans and make a prototype.  Will your product work, or is it back to the drawing board?
  • Get in touch with an engineer or inventor in your area.  Skype them or have them visit your classroom!  Learn about what it takes to design products and all of the steps to have them be released into the market/into use.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

A1zITsthAQL._UX250_Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. Her newest book, Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled, explores the scientific sleuthing that paleoartists continually perform to make sure they’re accurately representing dinosaurs in their paintings and illustrations. Madam President, a New York Times notable book, was recently updated to reflect recent advances for women in politics, including Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency. Catherine’s previous books, Girls Think of Everything and The Sky’s the Limit, have been translated into Korean and Chinese. Girls Think of Everything won the 2001 IRA Children’s Book Award, was a Children’s Book of the Month Best Nonfiction Book 2000, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and a Smithsonian Notable Book 2000 (amongst other honors). The Sky’s the Limit won the Minnesota Book Award in 2002, was a Smithsonian Notable Book 2002, and an Outstanding Science and Social Studies Trade Book for Children 2002. The author lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with her husband and two children.

melissa-sweet-flounderMelissa Sweet has illustrated over 100 books as well as many toys, puzzles, games for eeBoo. Her work has been in magazines, on greeting cards and as drawings on her living room walls.  She has written four books: Carmine: A Little More Red, a New York Times Best Illustrated book; Tupelo Rides the Rails; Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, a Sibert Award winner (for informational books) and a NCTE Orbis Pictus winner (for nonfiction).  Her most recent book, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, was a New York Times Best Seller and garnered an NCTE Orbis Pictus award.  Melissa has illustrated three books by author Jen Bryant: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos WilliamsThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, both garnered Caldecott Honors. A Splash of Red: The Art of Horace Pippin, was a Sibert Award and Orbis Pictus Award winner.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,  we decided to post several books that will assist in learning more about Dr. King!

My Uncle Martin’s Big Heart by Angela Farris Watkins

9780810989757_s3This book is great for preschoolers and up!  Written from the perspective of Dr. King’s niece, this is a unique viewpoint of this influential public figure.







Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport


This book is written for elementary aged students, and uses Dr. King’s own words.  Rappaport also intertwines history about Dr. King’s activism to help engage and educate future activists!






Free At Last: The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Angela Bull

9780756656157_mresThis book is written for middle school students, or younger students with a more developed reading level.  The book details the emphasis on activism, non-violent protest, and the Civil Rights movement.







Dr. King was a force, a beacon, and a figurehead of the Civil Rights movement.  He gave everything he had for others, and believed in activism.  Dr. King is an inspiration to activists, communities of color, and anyone that believes change can be created on a large scale by joining together!

Want to get involved and learn more?  Here is some information about The King Center!

Major Taylor Champion Cyclist

Written by: Lesa Cline-Ransome

Illustrated by: James E. Ransome

For ages: 6-10 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Historic Figure, Historical Events, Sports Figures, Civil Rights, Racism, Trailblazer. 

Summary: Set in Victorian times, this book covers the life of Marshall Taylor, later known as Major Taylor.  When Marshall was 8, he was hired by a rich white family to be a companion for their only son.  Marshall lived a great life, getting education and material goods that were not often received when a person of color so soon after the Civil War.  The year is not exact, but the opening scenes of the book is somewhere around late 1880’s, early 1890’s.  Marshall goes one day, at age 13, to a bike shop to get something fixed so he can finish his paper route.  Upon leaving, he does some tricks and gets noticed by the two shop owners.  They offer him a job cleaning the shop and doing tricks for customers, and even throw in a new bike to sweeten the deal!  Marshall agrees, and wears a military style jacket when doing tricks, earning him the nickname Major Taylor.  The shop owners ask if he wants to be in a bicycle race one day, even though he protests he ends up racing and wins!  Continuing to work at the shop, Marshall befriends the famous cyclists that come in.  Louis “Birdie” Munger is a patron of the shop, and asks Marshall to move to Worcester, Massachusetts with him and train to be a professional cyclist.  Marshall agrees, and began to train.  When he’s 18, he’s officially a professional cyclist.  Marshal begins to tour, and begins to see the racism and segregation that was so common around the United States.  However, Marshall was the only African-American member of the League of American Wheelmen and competed wherever he wanted.  Because of this though, Marshall had troubles with other cyclists who were racist and wanted him out of the competition.  During races, they would gang up on him and try to force him to lose.  Because of this, Marshall became skilled at weaving in and out among racers and it only made him a better rider.  The press called him The Black Whirlwind and he was famous!  He became the World Champion in 1899.  A few years later, Marshall became good friends with Edmond Jacquelin the 1900 World Champion and they decided to race against each other.  Marshall loses the first race, but a rematch is scheduled.  Major Taylor wins!!

This book covers in-depth the life and career of Marshall Taylor, one of the world’s greatest cyclists and a trailblazer of integrating the sport of cycling.  Given opportunities not afforded the majority of the African-American community, he was able to show the world that athletic talent is talent, regardless of race.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your favorite sport?
  • How do you think Major Taylor felt when he was the subject of attacks just because of his race?
  • How can you stand up for someone that you see being bullied?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about your favorite sport.  Learn about when it became integrated, and who the trailblazers were that made desegregation happen.  What were some hardships encountered, and how did this historical figure react to the challenges faced?
  • Try a new sport that has always interested you.  Snowshoeing, kayaking, football, whatever you can think of!  What are some things you need in order to play the sport, and is it accessible for everyone?  If no, brainstorm different ways to make the sport able to be played and enjoyed by everyone!
  • Contact a professional cyclist and see if they will visit your classroom.  Ask questions about what they do to train, what a race is like, and if they have a lot of bikes!  How is being a professional cyclist the same and different as other professional athletes?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

lesa_nolaLesa Cline-Ransome grew up in Malden, MA, a suburb just outside of Boston, the daughter of two nurses and the youngest of three. She considers consider herself very lucky to have grown up with a mother who loved to read. Each week Lesa’s Mom would take Lesa with her to our local library so that she could stock up on books. As Lesa grew older she would venture off into the children’s section and gather up her own collection to check out. Through her mother Lesa realized that reading could become a wonderful escape and writing even more so. When her mother gave Lesa a diary as a gift, she first filled the pages with the “very important” details of her life—adventures with her friends, secret crushes and the many ways in which her family drove her crazy. Then Lesa began creating her own stories! Lesa became interested in children’s books the year she married. Her husband, James was working on illustrating his first book which allowed both of them to look at picture books in a new way. When they’d browse books in bookstores, he studied the illustrations, she read the stories. Lesa eventually completed a graduate degree in elementary education and through coursework became truly immersed in children’s literature.

james-e-ransome-1261135The Children’s Book Council named James E. Ransome as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. Currently a member of the Society of Illustrators, Ransome has received both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the IBBY Honor Award for his book, The Creation. He has also received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration forUncle Jed’s Barbershop which was selected as an ALA Notable Book and is currently being shown as a feature on Reading Rainbow. How Many Stars in the Sky? and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt were also Reading Rainbow selections. PBS’s Storytime featured his book, The Old Dog. Ransome has exhibited works in group and solo shows throughout the country and received The Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance award for his book, The Wagon. In 1999 Let My People Go received the NAACP Image Award for Illustration and Satchel Paige was reviewed in Bank Street College of Education’s “The Best Children’s Books of the Year.” In 2001, James received the Rip Van Winkle Award from the School Library Media Specialists of Southeast New York for the body of his work.  How Animals Saved the People received the SEBA (Southeastern Book Association) Best Book of the Year Award in 2002 and the Vermont Center for the Book choseVisiting Day as one of the top ten diversity books of 2002.  In 2004 James was recognized by the local art association when he received the Dutchess County Executive Arts Award for an Individual Artist.  He has completed several commissioned murals for the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Hemphill Branch Library in Greensboro, NC. He created a historical painting commissioned by a jury for the Paterson, NJ Library and a poster for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Brown vs the Board of Education.  His traveling Exhibit, Visual Stories has been touring the United States since 2003.  His work is part of both private and public children’s book art collections.

Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army

Written by: Art Coulson

Illustrated by: Nick Hardcastle

For ages: 6-10 years

Language: English 

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Boarding Schools, Historical Events, Historical Figures, Sports, Courage, Bravery. 

Summary: This book opens at a boarding school in Lawrence Kansas, where a young boy meets his hero football team.  This boy has two names- his Sauk name is Wa-tho-huk which means Bright Path, and his English boarding school name is Jim Thorpe.  He wants more than anything to play on this football team, but right now he’s skinny and only 12.  Jim did’t like the Haskell boarding school he went to, and often ran away.  Finally when he was 16, his father sent him to the Carlisle Industrial School where he hoped Jim would learn a job trade and settle down.

The board schools that native children were forced to attend wanted to assimilate them into Euro-American culture, often burning their traditional clothes and forcing them to speak English.  Their hair was cut short and they would be beaten for breaking the rules.

While at Carlisle, Jim had a job at a nearby farm to earn extra money.  He was walking back to school from the farm one day when he saw the track team practicing high jump and asked to join trying to make it over the bar.  The team laughed at him, but Jim made it over!  He didn’t think anything of it, and continued on his way.  Later that day, Jim was called to the office and told he just broke the school record for high jump, and was handed a uniform.  He was on the team now! He practiced and practiced, and begged the coach to put him on the varsity football team.  Jim played for two seasons before leaving school to play baseball and help take care of his siblings.  The coach convinced Jim to come back so he could help him train for the 1912 Olympics, where he became the first Native American to win several events and gold medals, until someone stole his shoes (presumably to keep him from continuing to win).  He found a pair of mismatched ones in the trash and won another gold medal!  The Carlisle team continued to travel and play football games, and went into West Point for the game against the Army undefeated.  The Carlisle team played some new plays, and managed to beat the Army team 27-6!

This book contains a huge amount of information, not just about that exciting football game!  It chronicles most of Jim Thorpe’s life, and there is extra biographical information  in the back, along with other players’ information that were also on the team at the time of the football game against the Army, including what tribes they were from, which we consider incredibly important!  Reading level required for a child to read by themselves is elementary, there are lots of pages and a lot of information on each page.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which famous football players have you heard of?
  • Why do you think some children were forced to go to boarding schools?
  • How do you think they felt when they weren’t allowed to retain any of their home culture at school?
  • Would you like to ever be a famous athlete, or go to the Olympics?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about the Carlisle team as a whole.  Who else went on to become a famous athlete like Jim?  Find any books that you can, or some videos that go into more detail about boarding school football teams around that time.
  • Design your own football team!  Draw uniforms, a mascot, and a logo.  Where does your team play?  What makes your football team members special?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

art4webArt Coulson is a Navy brat, born in Honolulu, where he lived for his first 7 months. Art and his family moved often, sometimes more than once a year. Art attended 14 different schools on three continents before he graduated high school.

Art’s first children’s book, The Creator’s Game, a story about a young lacrosse player, was published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2013. His most recent book, Unstoppable, a story about the great American Indian athlete Jim Thorpe, was published by Capstone in August 2018.

Before writing children’s books, Art was a writer and editor at magazines and newspapers all over the United States. After his journalism career, Art served as the first executive director of the Wilma Mankiller Foundation in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Now, Art lives in Minneapolis with his family, but still plays traditional Cherokee stickball, an original version of lacrosse, when he is visiting friends and relatives in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma several times a year.

Nick-hardcastle-Portrait-300x211Nick Hardcastle is the illustrator. Since studying illustration and graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1981, he has worked continuously as an artist and illustrator. Clients are diverse and they span many fields including Advertising, Design, Publishing, Exhibition Displays and Editorial.

The medium he primarily uses is pen and ink and watercolour. This enables him to deliver a high level of detail and realism to any commission. Nick is adaptable to all your illustration requirements-whether it’s for a portrait, brochure, book, historical scene, or as part of an editorial.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace

Written by: Tanya Lee Stone

Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman

For ages: 6-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Historical Figures, Women in Science, Feminism, Bravery, Courage, Individuality.

Summary: Ada was a young girl who lived in the English countryside.  She had a wild imagination and a mother who thought a wild imagination was dangerous.  Ada’s father was the famous poet, Lord Byron.  Ada’s mother was fed up with Lord Byron’s wild behavior, and moved home to her parents house when Ada was 5 weeks old.  Ada never saw her father again, because he fled England owning large sums of money.  Ada’s mother wanted Ada to have a brain like a mathematician, not a wild imagination.  She had tutors that taught her every subject, and she loved music in addition to math, drawing, and singing.  When Ada was 12, she became obsessed with inventing a flying horse with bird wings, and asked her mother for bird-drawing books.  Ada’s mother made her study math for longer hours everyday instead;  she also wanted Ada to get married to a suitable man.  Ada was presented to the king and queen when she was 18, but was not interested in solely becoming a housewife.  Ada became fascinated with the scientists Charles Babbage, and his inventions.  She began to visit with him, and became enchanted with his number calculation machines he was building.  Ada realized that math and imagination could work together, unlike what he mother tried so desperately to teach her.  Ada and Charles became good friends, and often wrote letters and visited each other, walking about math and philosophy together.  Charles was busy trying to build a calculation device that could solve any problem, called the Analytical Engine.  He was trying to base it off a loom that used punchcards to design what the woven design would be.  He didn’t know how the loom worked, but Ada did.  Ada was also able to help translate scientific papers written in French, and Charles encouraged Ada to write her own papers.  She was thrilled at the idea, women in her time did not become scientists and write papers!  Although she was often ill, she worked very hard and wrote many letters to Charles.  When she finished the paper, it turned out to be very long and a huge success!  Ada had a brain that could imagine mathematical processing that had not been discovered yet.  Charles was never able to build his machine, but if he did the entire world of computer programming history could be different from what it is today.  A huge contribution would have been Ada’s work, with her wild imagination!

In the back, there is also more historical information about Ada’s life.  An important scientific contributor that is relatively unknown by most, this is a great book!

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Ada felt when her mother tried to stifle her imagination?
  • How do you think she felt when Charles encouraged her to pursue her passions?
  • What do you think Ada would think about computers today?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about basic computer coding.  There are tons of websites that teach coding skills to kids, and introductory courses with robots.  Ada would be proud!
  • Lots of other famous names are mentioned in the story.  Pick one out and learn more about them!  Charles Darwin, Lord Byron, who are you interested in learning about?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

916WD-xjo1L._UX250_Tanya Lee Stone is best known for telling little-known or unknown stories of women and people of color. She writes MG/YA narrative nonfiction such as Girl Rising, Almost Astronauts and Courage Has No Color, and nonfiction picture books such as Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? and The House that Jane Built. Her work has been recognized by the NAACP Image Award, Robert F. Sibert Medal, Golden Kite Award, Bank Street Flora Straus Steiglitz Award, Jane Addams Honor, YALSA Nonfiction Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, NPR Best Books, and NCTE Orbis Pictus Honors. She is also the author of the YA verse novel, A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, which was a Top Ten Banned Book. Stone studied English at Oberlin College, later earned a Masters Degree, and was an editor of children’s nonfiction for many years before becoming a writer. She teaches writing at Champlain College. Forthcoming books include A Story of War, A Story of Peace, Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? and Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented.

marjorie-priceman-1536996Marjorie Priceman, illustrator of many acclaimed picture books, has won Caldecott Honors for her illustrations in Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss and Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the Frist Hot-Air Balloon Ride, which she also wrote. She lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Written & Illustrated by: Jennifer Thermes

For ages: 5-7 years 

Language: English

Topics Covered: Historical Figures, Trailblazers, Environment, 

Summary: Emma lived and worked on a farm.  She had 11 children, and lots of work to do.  Sometimes though, she got a chance to sneak away for a break.  After her children were all grown up, she set out to hike the Appalachian trail in the spring of 1955.  Emma had read about the AT in a magazine, and that no woman had ever hiked the entire trail. Stretching all the way from Georgia to Maine, Emma set out to make history.  She camped along the trail, and even chased away a bear by yelling at it!  Along the trail, she met many kind people and earned the nickname Grandma.  She walked and walked, and enjoyed the views the entire time!  Emma’s shoes fell apart once, but she didn’t like wearing clunky mens hiking boots so she taped up her canvas sneakers and kept walking.  Reporters began waiting for her at each rest stop, fascinated why an older woman would want to hike the entire AT.  Emma didn’t realize a hurricane was going to occur, and she was deep in the woods when the bad weather began.  She fell and twisted her knee, but was able to find shelter with a bunch of teenage boys and they helped her cross the stream the next morning.  Lots of people offered to help her, but she was glad to be alone again with just the stars for company.  As she reached the end, winter was coming.  Struggling, and with a sprained ankle, Emma climbed the last mountain!  She did it!

There are more in-depth notes about the AT and Grandma Gatewood in the back of the book, and maps sprinkled throughout the story as well.  An inspiring tale about a little-known figure defeating a monumental task!

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever heard of the AT?
  • What do you like to do when you’re outside?
  • Have you ever got on a hike before?
  • What do you think Grandma Gatewood felt like when she was finally done hiking the AT?
  • What is something you’ve done before that made you feel proud to have completed?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about the getting-ready process to leave and hike the AT.  What do hikers have to do to prepare, and what are the different routes they can take?  How long does it normally take?  Learn about the youngest thru-hiker, Ellie, and her parents!  They can be found online, she’s known as the Dirtbag Baby 🙂
  • Go on a nature walk at a place near you.  What are some things you bring with you for a short time, and what would you need to bring with you for a longer journey?
  • See if there are any videos about the AT, or an online chronicle of the long hike.  Reach out to finishers of the AT and ask some questions about their experiences!

About the Author & Illustrator:

Headshot_Dec.2016Jennifer Thermes is a children’s book author, illustrator, and map illustrator.
She graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Communication Design. Her books have received a Kirkus starred review, been included in several Bank Street College lists, and been recognized in 3×3 Magazine’s Children’s Illustration Annual.

A Horn Book Magazine review described Jennifer’s black & white art as “warm pencil drawings reminiscent of Lois Lenski.” She has created maps for books including Thornghost, The Emperor’s Ostrich, and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.

School Library Journal had this to say about her most recent book, GRANDMA
GATEWOOD HIKES THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL: “Beautiful illustrations and an emphasis on the value of nature, determination, and grit make this a great nonfiction selection.” CHARLES DARWIN’S AROUND-THE-WORLD ADVENTURE was a 2017 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 and a Notable Social Studies Book for Young People.

Up next are illustrations for middle grade novel FREYA & ZOOSE (Crown, January ’19); and MANHATTAN: MAPPING THE STORY OF AN ISLAND (Abrams, Fall ’19).

Jennifer lives with her family and an assortment of cats, dogs, and uninvited mice in an 18th century farmhouse in Connecticut.

Ruth Asawa: A Sculpting Life

Written by: Joan Schoettler

Illustrated by: Traci Van Wagoner

For ages: 6-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Historical Figures, Women Artists, Historical Events, Public Art. 

Summary: Aiko and Ruth Asawa are the same person.  Aiko speaks Japanese at home, and at her Japanese school on Saturdays after she is done at American public-school during the week.  She goes by Ruth at public-school.  She is a gifted artist, and works on her parents farm.  Ruth’s life changes one day when her father is forced to leave the family farm for a Japanese Internment camp, after Japan attacks Pearl Harbor.  Soon, the rest of the family has to follow.  For six months, they live in a horse stall of an old racetrack.  Despite these dark times, Ruth is able to take art classes from artists also in the camp.  After six months, her family is moved to Arkansas to another camp.  They live with lots of other people and always have to wait in line for things like food and showers.    Ruth still takes art classes, and paints whenever she has time.  She uses tiny scraps that she finds, like cloth, bits of metal, or rocks.  After a whole year, she is released on a scholarship to become an art teacher!  Ruth moves to North Carolina to study.  After, she moves to Milwaukee but leaves without a diploma after she realizes it will be hard to get a job since she’s Japanese.  Instead, she travels to Mexico with her sister and learns how to loop wire from a man.  Ruth is hooked, and begins to experiment and build sculptures “in the air” as she puts it.

Ruth gets married, and has six kids.  She continues to loop metal wire and build sculptures, showing them in museums.  She also begins to experiment with different mediums and metals.  Ruth founds two art schools- the Alvarado School Arts Workshop and the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts!  She even builds a public fountain in Ghiradelli Square!  Eventually, she designs many fountains and becomes known as the Fountain Lady in San Francisco.  As her final public art installation, she creates a garden to honor Japanese internment victims.

This book is comprehensive and focuses on Ruth’s achievements, while not shying away from the shameful American history of internment during WWII.  Ruth Asawa is truly legendary, and this is a great book honoring her artistic legacy as well as her public service.

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever heard of Ruth or Aiko Asawa before?
  • What is something you find meaningful about her life story?
  • Do you think people talk about Japanese internment very much?
  • Have you ever tried to make art with wire or metal before?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Experiment with different artistic mediums.  Is it easy?  What do you think of the giant creations Ruth made?  What is your favorite art supply to work with?
  • Learn more about Japanese internment camps, and why they happened.  If you’re able to find videos with interviews, or more information, watch them as a classroom and have a discussion about it afterwards.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

schoettlerJoanJoan Schoettler grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where memories of trips to the ocean, picnics in parks, walks through San Francisco, museum visits, and gatherings of family and friends continue to draw me back to my beginnings. Hikes in the Sierra, late dinners on warm summer nights, gardening, as well as, grandchildren, reading, and travel fill my days, weaving ideas and inspiration for my writing.

A number of years ago she asked a celebrated children’s writer where her stories came from. The author challenged her to find them within. Joan took pen to paper, and, like magic, stories flowed. Well, perhaps, not quite so easily. After extensive reading, studying craft, writing, innumerable rewrites, considerable editing, and countless submissions, a long-awaited box of books arrived on my front porch.

Teaching children’s literature and storytelling at California State University, Fresno nurtures Joan’s passion for children’s literature and my love of teaching. She has invited students of all ages into my world of children’s literature, immersing them in the nuances of writing and the art of storytelling.

Van Wagoner, TraciTraci Van Wagoner received a Bachelors degree in Illustration & Advertising Design from Utah State University and a BFA in Toy Design from Fashion Institute of Technology….. *snore* That’s the technical side of my background which says that she’s spent a lot of time in school drawing, painting, playing with type, page layout, concepts, characters, and developing ideas.

Depending on the time of the day, the real Traci is an illustrator, artist, writer, reader, designer, dog walker, pool player, gardener, and a Night Elf druid known as Vaingor. Creative pursuits have included: playing the piano, playing pool (sometimes you have to be creative to win in APA), a short stint as an advertising copywriter, portrait painting, photography and sculpture.