Thursday, January 8, 2015


Today is very special for me.  

My book PENGUINS: GROWING UP WILD was out of print. Today, thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, it's back as an E-book and, IMHO, better than ever. 

My goal is always to make my books as interactive as possible. In fact, if I had my way every child that opens one of my books would feel like they're right there with me. I'm reading it to them and doing what I always do when I share my books with children.

I share little behind the book stories about things I discovered while I was researching and writing the book--things that influenced my storytelling but maybe didn't make it into the book.

I also like to point out things for kids to notice in photos. Or take time out for a little creative thinking, wondering, even a word game or a photo scavenger hunt.

The popup on this page shares:
Check out all that white stuff on the ground around the penguin nest. That's guano (GWAH-no)--penguin poo.

It's everywhere. I was glad it was cold in Antarctica so the guano stayed frozen. Imagine how stinky it would be if the weather warmed up!

Now, I've been able to do that by adding popups on every page of PENGUINS.  The reason I chose this book as the first book to share this way is that it was born in the first place following my two summers in Antarctica with the National Science Foundation's Artists and Writers Program. 

Each time I camped out with 60,000+ Adelie penguins while they hatched and raised their chicks. 

It was the experience of a lifetime to be in one of the last great frontiers on earth. And to spend time alone with wildlife that wasn't afraid of me--probably had no idea what I was other than one weird-looking bird. So I could, quietly, sit for hours among them as close as I'd sit to someone on a school bus seat. 
Then watch. 
Be amazed.

The popup on this page asks:
What are 3 ways this penguin chick is like an adult Adelie?
What are 3 ways it's different?

The pages of PENGUINS let me share what I discovered and fine-tuned working with penguin researchers. Now, the KDP E-book version with popups lets me share my personal experiences.

Because I taught school for many years, wrote the HANDS-ON, MINDS-ON column for Instructor Magazine for many more and continue to visit classrooms across the U.S. today, I can't help also adding activities for children. I want young readers to compare and contrast, look for POV, dig deeper into the content. But most of all I want what kids learn to just happen while they are having FUN and enjoying this book.

I hope lots and lots of young readers are able to invite me to join them in reading PENGUINS. I promise every time they double tap a page I'll POPUP  a special bit of info or something fun to think about and do.

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