Many people are rediscovering the benefits of the natural environment and integrating “greener” practices and products into their modern lives. From green design to natural health to green living to green books, adults are learning how to transform their world to take better care of themselves and the planet, and they are sharing this with their children in many ways, especially with books.
Jim is self taught in writing, art and the natural sciences. He has written and illustrated 86 books on nature subjects and has illustrated 46 other books written by various authors. He has been awarded the Christopher Medal, Orbis Pictus Honor, ALA Gordon Award, and Outstanding Science book awards from National Science Teachers Associations.
TCBR: Your picture book,Man Gave Names To All The Animals, by Bob Dylan, was released last year—and may I just add, it’s beautiful. In your note to the readers, you said: “From the first time I heard it, the lyrics created pictures in my mind of a land of primeval beauty, where the sky and earth were new, where plants first grew, and the animals knew no fear. I thought this vision would make a dream of a book, and I asked for Bob Dylan’s permission to make this dream come true. Happily, he said yes.” Can you tell us more about the process of receiving permission to illustrate a musician’s song? And, most importantly, exactly how you felt when the famous Bob Dylan said yes?
Spring brings warmer weather, fragrant and bright colored flowers, adorable baby farm animals, and taller children. Spring also brings more books—books that encompass all of those topics and more, for our taller children with blossoming minds. It’s time to select a book that matches the tone of the season, grab a blanket and find a nice spot outside for a spring story time session.
From bunnies to eggs to butterflies to chicks and even a spring shower, these books that have been selected all harness some kind of special spring power and celebrate Easter in its secular form.
I am a nut. I admit it. My family will back me on this, too. What am I a nut about, you ask? I am obsessed with Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth. I can’t stop reading his books. I can’t stop watching Peter Jackson’s rendition of The Lord of the Ringsand Arthur Rankin Jr.’s rendition of The Hobbit. I named my son after the actor, Elijah Wood. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read these books and opted to forego much needed sleep to read or watch the movies. Like I said, I’m a nut.
In the first few days after Japan’s 9.0 earthquake, there was continuous news on the devastation caused by the tsunami. My wife came home on the following Monday visibly upset. Her company has a distributor in Japan whose descriptions of the experience were scary. What wasn’t discussed was the radiation threat from damaged nuclear power plants. As the nuclear crisis grew, my wife became more upset.
Author Avril Webster created the Off We Go! series to help her son with an intellectual disability practice and visualize typical everyday and once-in-awhile outings to alleviate anxiety about what’s going to happen during these activities. Brightly illustrated in an uncluttered cartoon style, and featuring simple text vetted by a speech language pathologist, these stories tell and show kids what to expect.
Avril Webster: Books have had a big impact on our lives, right from the get go. I remember when [my son], Stephen, was a small baby and we had endless days and nights in hospital, I read to him. Book after book, I think hearing my voice soothed him and it helped us create that special intimate time, despite being in a hospital environment. And reading those books helped me cope too – helped to pass the time, distracted me and helped me feel like a ‘normal’ Mom. Stephen still loves many of those books!