The National Science Teachers Association recommends Focus Readers series, Engineering Challenges, stating, "This series is a must–have for teachers in elementary classrooms, more specifically the upper grades, and will be a useful source in STEM lessons, small group reading, or just a classroom library. These books will be loved by all students, and will become a STEM teaching tool for many teachers!"
I would like to thank the Jackson County Times for its flattering article about my writing career. I especially want to thank Shelia Mader for taking time out of her busy Sunday afternoon to interview me. The article can be viewed here.
The National Science Teachers Association recommends Capstone's series, Our World: Next Hundred Years, stating, "Every middle school to early high school science teacher needs to have access to this set of books."
I authored two titles in this series. (Full Reviews can be accessed by clicking the titles.)
The other titles in the series are:
Steve Canipe, Director, NSTA Science, Mathematics & Instructional Design Technology wrote:
The series is well written and illustrated and uses a graphic novel format to draw in both the non–interested reader as well as the lower reading level reader. For these reasons alone, the series would be worthwhile resources for a teacher to have. But beyond this, the science is good and the ideas are valuable for all students, regardless of reading level. Definitely a win–win–win for the teacher, the science, and the student!! Every middle school to early high school teacher of science needs to have access to this set of books. In the classroom is great but in the school library also works. A definite thumbs up for this series as a whole but also each book individually. (9/28/2016)
The Disaster Science series from Cherry Lake Publishing was named a Top 10 Series Nonfiction by Booklist. I authored The Science of a Bridge Collapse as part of this series. The series is written for 3rd through 6th grade readers. Daniel Kraus wrote, "Though admittedly a tad grim, this series remains irrefutably fascinating as it applies scientific principles and methods to a host of post-disaster scenarios ranging from plane crashes and bridge collapses to oil spills and pandemic outbreaks—a sort of large-scale CSI."
The books included in the Disaster Science Series are:
-The Science of a Shipwreck by Lisa Amstutz
-The Science of a Volcanic Eruption by Samantha Bell
-The Science of a Bridge Collapse by Nikole Brooks Bethea
-The Science of a Pandemic by Robin Koontz
-The Science of a Hurricane by Mary Reina
-The Science of an Earthquake by Lois Sepahban
-The Science of a Plane Crash by Carol S. Surges
-The Science of an Oil Spill by Andrea Wang
The other series in this Top 10 list can be found in the Booklist link: http://www.booklistonline.com/Top-10-Series-Nonfiction-2015-Daniel-Kraus/pid=7298024.
J.B. Petty reviewed the Science of a Bridge Collapse in the October 1, 2014 Booklist. The following is an excerpt from the review:
Using color photographs of five collapsed or destroyed bridges and text descriptions of other collapses, Bethea engages the reader’s imagination and curiosity about how engineers design bridges, the scientific principles behind the construction, how engineers and builders determine the causes of a collapse, and how they make repairs. Many books feature the Brooklyn Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, but this unique focus offers a fresh view on a familiar architectural topic.
The complete review can be read on the Cherry Lake Publishing's website:
I'd like to thank Sherry Londe for taking the time to interview me and featuring G is for Grits: A Southern Alphabet in The Beachcomber (Destin, FL). To see her article, please click here.
The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour, started in Australia, to showcase authors and illustrators and their current work. I was tagged by Alison Davis Lyne, the wonderful illustrator of G is for Grits: A Southern Alphabet.
After I post answers to the Q & A, I will pass the blog on to Carrie Clickard, Nancy Raines Day, and Catherine L. Osornio who will pick up the tour on July 4.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
My current book is G is for Grits: A Southern Alphabet. It released September 2012.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book? As a
lifelong Southerner, I had been thinking about writing something
southern, possibly something along the lines of an article for Southern Living or Southern Lady magazines. While reviewing some ABC books for a writing course I was taking, the idea just hit me: Why isn't there an ABC book about the South?
3) In what genre does your book fall? Nonfiction Picture Book
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Since my book is an ABC concept book, it would be difficult to make a movie about it. However, with all the Southern delights sprinkled throughout the book - such as biscuits, golden fried hushpuppies, upside-down cake, red velvet cake, boiled peanuts, jams, jellies, pecan candies, and grits - I think there would be plenty of Southern recipes for a food show!
For the sake of answering the question - should there ever be a movie rendition of the book, I think Reese Witherspoon (a native Southerner who grew up in Nashville) would be an excellent choice for actress based on her role in Sweet Home Alabama.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? G is for Grits: A Southern Alphabet highlights the unique grace, lifestyle, foods, and overall charm of the South - one letter at a time.
6) Who is publishing your book? Pelican Publishing Company
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? I began writing the book by simply creating a chart. I listed all the letters, A to Z, and then started listing southern items that began with each letter. This took about two weeks. Next, I wrote a rhyme for each letter using as many items from the list that would fit into a 4-line stanza. Creating the rhymes took another two weeks.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Sleeping Bear Press published a set of Discover America State by State Alphabet books about 10 years ago. Titles include M is for Magnolia: A Mississippi Alphabet, P is for Pelican: A Louisiana Alphabet, Y is for Yellow Hammer: An Alabama Alphabet, P is for Peach: A Georgia Alphabet, etc.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? I have four sons, ranging from 10 years old down to 3 years old - Lee, Chase, Rhett, and Brooks. As I wrote in the dedication inscription inside the book, the boys have allowed me to recapture my childhood memories of growing up in the South. I was the oldest of 4 children and we spent a lot of time outside in the summertime in rural North Florida, especially when my mother worked in our garden.
The event that I drew on to come up with the title, G is for Grits, stemmed from a family vacation to Canada when I was in high school. My sister, 6 1/2 years younger than me, asked for grits and eggs at a restaurant in Canada. They politely told her that they didn't have grits, but they served hash browns if she would like that instead. All true Southerners know that hash browns are NOT equal to a warm bowl of grits smothered with butter and or/cheese!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? When I first saw the illustrations that went along with the text, I was immediately impressed with how Alison had worked very diverse items listed in the stanza into a scene for each page. Of course, I had ideas and pictures in my mind as I wrote the text. It was interesting to see how she interpreted each stanza similarly or differently than I pictured in my mind. I often think it was easier for me to write the text than to come up with a scene incorporating all the items I had listed (if I could even draw, that is). As you read the stanzas, see how you would have created the scene if you had been responsible for doing so.
As an example, the B page is shown below. The "B" text is:
B is for boiled peanuts,
biscuits, and black-eyed peas,
chasing butterflies in summertime,
and running from bumblebees!
See how Alison incorporated all these items AND added in a stick of Butter for the Biscuits!
Capstone Press's new Graphic Science and Engineering in Action STEM series is featured on this week's STEM Friday blog. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Max Axiom is the main character in the four books in this series:
- Engineering an Awesome Recycling Center with Max Axiom, Super Scientist
- Engineering a Totally Rad Skateboard with Max Axiom, Super Scientist
- The Amazing Work of Scientists with Max Axiom, Super Scientist
- The Incredible Work of Engineers with Max Axiom, Super Scientist
Max Axiom is a science superhero, acquiring his powers through a freak accident - being struck by a megacharged lightning bolt during a wilderness hike. In my book in this series, Engineering an Awesome Recycling Center with Max Axiom, Super Scientist, Max uses the engineering process to design and build an awesome recycling center. Max solves the City's garbage problem, reducing the pressure on its bulging landfill.
I was honored to be invited to participate in the University of Florida Harn Museum of Art's inaugural Written Inspiration: A Children's Book Signing Event on November 4, 2012. Over 20 Florida authors and illustrators gathered at the fundraising event benefiting the UF Harn Museum. Each author or illustrator provided a hands-on activity which helped children connect to the author's book.
I signed G is for Grits: A Southern Alphabet. Since mine is an ABC book, we made alligators from the letter A.
My four boys attended and really enjoyed viewing the various booths and making the different arts and crafts activities offered by each author.