Wednesday, August 5, 2020


ARE YOU A Markle's Book Explorer?
If not, WHY NOT!?

This is year 4 for Markle's Book Explorers.
You'll be joining LOTS of teachers and LOTS of librarians in 35 states who are already enjoying MONTHLY FREEBIES:

Every month, August through May, members receive a personal email from me along with FREE, ready-to-go STEAM activities.
There are also opportunities to win autographed books and other goodies.

Plus, MBE members are welcome to send me questions from students. I ALWAYS ANSWER!

So, if you're not already a  
Markle's Book Explorer, DON'T MISS OUT ANY LONGER
Sign up now!

Use my Blog's comment feature to leave your name, School Name and Address, and email address.

Or email and share that info. 
Then you'll be READY FOR FUN!? 
And MORE!!!

You'll LOVE IT!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Scholastic, 2020

Sharks are so cool I've written 6 books about them. 
Dive in with me to share some sharky-FUN!

Boyds Mills Press, 2008

You decide. Then peek at the tiny print to see the correct answer.

A Cookie-Cutter Shark is one of the biggest kinds of sharks. T Or F?

F It's just 18 inches long. It's so small other bigger fish don't see it until too late. It bites and spins around. Its sharp teeth slice out a cookie-shaped bite from its prey. 

A Whale Shark is the biggest kind of shark which lets it catch and eat big whales. T Or F?

F This biggest kind of shark only eats tiny fish and plankton, tiny animals drifting near the ocean's surface. It has a 4 foot wide mouth and about 3,000 teeth but its throat is as small around as a softball. 

No matter its size, a shark's body is covvered with little tooth-like scales. T Or F?

T Called denticles, these grow out of the shark's skin. Like teeth, each has a hard enamel coat and soft center pulp. They are a protective covering and help the shark slip easily through the water. 

What Do You Think Happened!?
Lerner, 2020

Read this opening story from The Great Shark Rescue. Then write your own ending....


With its huge mouth open, a whale shark swims slowly near the surface close to Mafia Island off the coast of Tanzania. The 16-foot long giant is feeding on lots of tiny, shrimplike krill and a few little fish. 

All at once, a big net blocks its way. The whale shark dives and turns, trying to swim under or around the net. But the giant fishing net is everywhere. 

The young whale shark is caught! TRAPPED! 

  • Will your story have a happy ending with the whale shark escaping on its own?

  • Will your story have someone arrive to free the whale shark giving it a happy ending?

  • Or will something else happen?

The Great White Shark is featured in WHAT IF YOU COULD SNIFF LIKE A SHARK? 

Here's an example of how it would help you to have a great smell-sniffer, like a Great White Shark.

But can you think of at least 3 examples of when you would happier not to have a good sense of smell!?

And here are my other 3 books about sharks. Have fun exploring these too!
 Lerner, 2004
Atheneum, 1996

 Walker, 2007

WHO KNOWS what cool book 
I'll think of to write next about sharks!?

Saturday, July 11, 2020


I've only ever written one book that's just about trees--OUTSIDE AND INSIDE TREES.  

However, as I looked back through the books I've written, I discovered something very interesting. Trees--sometimes whole forests--are an important part of many of my books.   

Check it out!

In THE CASE OF THE VANISHING HONEYBEES (Millbrook/Lerner) almond trees are possibly one reason entire colonies of honeybees are vanishing--and thought to probably be dead.

California's almond blossom season is the single biggest pollination event in the world.  

Over one million beehives full of worker bees are needed for about a months. So beekeepers truck in lots of hives, each full of its colony of honeybees. 

Having lots of bees on hand is the only way orchard owners can make sure nearly every blossom on their almond trees is visited by a bee.

That's what has to happen. The blossom produces a little sweet nectar. 

A bee pushes into the blossom to collect that nectar and in the process picks up a little pollen, the male reproductive cells. A little pollen from another tree is also dropped off. That fertilizes the flower's ovules, the female reproductive parts. 

What's good for the trees is hard on the bees. Beekeepers transport their hives from all over the U.S. to California but they arrive early, ahead of the trees blooming. So they have to feed their bees a sugary syrup to keep them going. It's not a healthy diet. And because of it the worker bees are weaker than normal. And the bees have just come from pollinating other crops.

Being overworked could be one reason honeybees are dying causing honeybee colonies to collapse. 
Do you think honeybees should be trucked to different places to pollinate crops? Why? Or why not?

Read the CASE OF THE VANISHING HONEYBEES to find out at least two other things that could be effecting honeybees.

A tree plays a dramatic role in my book LITTLE LOST BAT (Charlesbridge).

In this story, the mother bat leaves her baby in the bat colony's cave nursery and goes hunting for insects to eat. On night, she passes a tall oak tree. 

Read this story to see what is in that tree.
Keep reading to find out what happens next.

And keep on reading to find out happens at the very end of this story.

Trees are a key part of my story FINDING HOME (Charlesbridge).

First, something happens to a forest to start this story. What happens?

Then there is a big search for one kind of tree. Why is that?

Finally, list five steps that tell what happens along the way to finding that special kind of tree.
FINDING HOME is an exciting story. And people lend a helping hand. 
So don't miss finding out what happens.

A tree stars in my book BUTTERFLY TREE (Peachtree Publishing).  This story is based on one of my very own childhood experiences. I grew up in Ohio near Lake Erie. And one autumn, I had the unique chance to see the migrating Monarch butterflies come across the lake and settle into a forest for the night.

Read this story to see where the butterflies spend the night. It will surprise you!

Next, write your own story. Make up a story where a tree plays a key part.

What tree's fruit is a pod the size of a football, hard as wood on the outside and full of beans surrounded by white pulp?  
Did you guess its a cacao tree?  

CHOCOLATE: A Sweet History (Grosset & Dunlap) is a whole book starring the cacao tree. Yes, it's true. Chocolate is made from cocoa powder. And cocoa powder is made from the seeds of the cacao tree.

Ready to dig for treasure? Then read this book to find facts you can treasure an share with your friends and family.

  • How did the ancient Mayans make chocolate spicy?
  • What king was the first to sweeten chocolate?
  • Why did Antarctic explorers take chocolate with them to the South Pole?
  • Why does chocolate sometimes turn gray?

Friday, June 12, 2020


Okay, it's summer! So here are ten things to enjoy while it's hot, sunny and being outdoors is fun....

1.  Make something out of mud. Even better do it after it's rained. What is that mud like? How is different from dry dirt? Is there one way it's still the same? 

And then read Mud by Mary Lyn Ray with illustrations by Lauren Stringer.

2. Play flashlight tag in the dark. 

3. Go on a shadow hunt to find the following shadows. But take an adult along because grown-ups need to have fun too:
a. Find a shadow with a bright hole in it.
b. Find the biggest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.
c. Find the littlest shadow you can. Figure out what made it.  

And then Read Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine and illustrations by Fred Koehler.

4. Fly a kite. But make one first. Here are sites with easy how-to instructions.

And read The Emperor's Kit by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Ed Young

5. Make a FOOT painting. Sure, you've probably done fingerprinting. But have you ever painted with your feet? It will really let you STEP UP as an artist. Try mixing your own paints first. Here's some how-to sites to help you. 


And read What If You Had Animal Feet?! by ME Sandra Markle with illustrations by Howard McWilliam.

6. Look at the world through a magnifying glass. Especially something you never thought to look at closely before. See anything that surprised you?  

7. Put on a puppet show with puppets you make yourself. Here's some sites with ideas to help you do just that.

8. Learn one constellation you didn't know in the night sky. Find out what story people used to tell about it. Then make up a new story yourself.

Mmy favorite constellation is ORION. And here's a couple of sites with star stories, including ones about Orion.

And read Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton

Hope you have fun with these activities. And to share an adventure that happened one summer, Read my newest discovery fun book WHAT IF YOU COULD SNIFF LIKE A SHARK? (Scholastic) Of course, any time you read one of my books it's like I'm right there sharing it with you.


Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Could you flap your arms non-stop for 7 days? 

Think about that as you join me while I read The Long, Long Journey (with permission from Lerner Publishing)

It's the story of the Godwit's amazing migration, flapping non-stop all the way. 

Also, look through my blog post archives to find SHARE THE LONG, LONG JOURNEY for more fun, facts, and some activities too.

Monday, May 11, 2020


Hi! Are you ready to share a new book with me? Here's what I'm sharing next.

Join me as I'm reading. Find out about some really cool wild animal ears. Then imagine what if you had one of those kind of ears for a day. Which kind would you choose?

Now, just for fun, imagine two of those wild animals switched ears. Which two would you choose? How might that switch work out for each animal?

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


This seemed like a good time to share some picture book writing tips. 

Use them yourself. Share them with young writers. I hope everyone watching will gain something that helps you move from idea to creating the text for your own picture book.

So, here goes. Let me walk you through how I worked from idea to text for one of my newest picture books HUSH UP AND HIBERNATE! (WunderMills).

Happily HUSH UP AND HIBERNATE! is selling well and proving very popular with children--and adult who read it aloud to them.

Now, dig in! Put the steps I shared to work and create your own picture book.


ARE YOU A Markle's Book Explorer? If not, WHY NOT!? This is year 4 for Markle's Book Explorers. You'll be joining  LO...