Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats
The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 30, 2012
—Imagine Nature’s Habitats as a Patchwork Quilt—
A New “Heirloom” Book Gracefully Teaches Science
By Mary Miché
Illustrated by Consie Powell
ISBN: 978-1-58469-170-9 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-58469-169-3 (hardback)
Ages 4 to 12, fully illustrated, 32 pages
It takes a special talent—and a particular ability to remember how young children think—to convey scientific concepts about the natural world to a young audience. Biodiversity? Adaptation? I’d rather play! But a new picture book, Nature’s Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats, does it so gracefully that teachers and parents will find teaching science a pleasure.
Using the theme of patchwork quilts—an original all-American, down-home art style—author Mary Miché and illustrator Consie Powell convey the beauty and diversity found in habitats all over the world. Using quilt-like illustrations and brief, simple text, they talk about the keys to understanding nature.
“Children have an innate curiosity about the natural world, but its underlying scientific principles can be difficult for kids to understand, said David Mizejewski, Naturalist for the National Wildlife Federation. “Nature’s Patchwork Quilt does an excellent job introducing ideas such as adaptation and biodiversity in an easy-to-understand, age-appropriate way. It’s a must-have for any parent or educator.”
Dr. Tim Merriman, Executive Director of the National Association for Interpretation, said that “some of the biggest, most important ideas about how nature works fit gracefully and colorfully between these two covers.” He described the book as “an accurate and enjoyable interpretation for children of complex natural processes. Nature’s Patchwork Quilt shows respect for diverse ecosystems and how they work together as habitats.”
Nathan Gray, founder and co-director of Earth Train, recognized the brilliant choice of style and tone that Miché and Powell took in connecting with children on an emotional level. “Our first goal as nature educators is to create opportunities for children to be at home with nature and, ultimately, to fall in love with her. How better to celebrate that feeling of ‘at-homeness’ than through the art of the quilt. Combined with Mary Miché’s simple yet engaging prose, this is more than just another picture book. It´s an heirloom, at once comforting and inspirational.”
Miché, of Lakeport, California, is a long-time environmental educator, receiving her Master’s degree in environmental education in 1982 from California State University at Hayward. She is also an accomplished musician and author of Weaving Music into Young Minds (Cengage
Learning, 2002) as well as several albums of music for children such as Earthy Tunes, Nature
Nuts, Animal Crackers, and Peace It Together, with sales of over 100,000 albums. The original inspiration for the book came during the drive home after giving a concert at Yosemite National Park. “I started thinking about how to teach young children about the concepts of niche and habitat. I designed this book to teach children a variety of skills on many levels all in a compact format. For teachers, classroom time is at such a premium that there is not enough time to teach science, reading, concern for the environment, and love of nature in separate time slots. This book accomplishes many goals all at once.”
Although illustrator Consie Powell grew up in sunny San Diego, California, where she snooped in tidepools and searched for lizards and desert tortoises in canyons, she discovered a love for the far north woods, where she now lives in Ely, Minnesota, with her husband and their Newfoundland dogs. A graduate of Carleton College in fine art, and having also pursued a Master’s degree in elementary education, she found that illustrating children’s books was “a perfect marriage of art and education. I love to muck around in nature’s lovely untidy places, and I try to convey my fascination with the natural world through my art and writing.”
For more information, visit: www.dawnpub.com
Contact: Sandy Philpott
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