Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Author Melissa Stewart

Dear Teacher Friends,

Will you do me a favor? Please share today's blog post with your colleagues. I think every educator needs to read Melissa Stewart's thoughts on nonfiction books and libraries. She's passionate, inspiring, and a brilliant writer. 

Thank you!

-John

P.S. I wrote the words in orange, and Melissa wrote the words in black. Thank you, Melissa! 


Beneath the Sun takes readers to four different North American habitats (a field, a desert, a wetland, and a beach) and describes how animal inhabitants survive on the hottest days of the year. I’m so excited to see this book join its two companions Under the Snow and When Rain Falls.



Constance R. Bergum and I have created three books together, but never met. In fact, we’ve never even spoken. 

For each book, I prepare a packet of reference material and send it to my editor. She gives the information to the art director who forwards it to Constance.  

The same thing happens with the sketches. I receive electronic files from my editor and send any comments I have about scientific accuracy back to her. She discusses my suggestions with the art director, and the art director communicates with Constance. I do hope I get to meet Constance one of these days. 


A Place for Birds and A Place for Turtles are part of a six-book series of picture books that describes specific ways people, including children, are working together to protect animals and their habitats. 

My mission as a writer is to share the beauty and wonder of the natural world with children of all ages. But that world won’t exist much longer without our help. My hope is that these books will inspire children to live in a way that helps preserve the wildlife and wild places around us. 


The “Kids Only!” section of my website is designed with young explorers in mind. It features fun videos, coloring pages and activity sheets, and an eye-spy game. There’s also an art gallery with drawings kids have sent me and a fan-mail section with letters I’ve received. 


Celebrate Science is... Wow, Mr. Schu, you must have read my mind. I was just about to mention that this year I’m also sharing some of the artwork and letters I’ve received on my blog, Celebrate Science, each Friday.

On Mondays, I usually post ideas for teaching science with children’s literature. Many of the ideas and books I recommend are also available on my pinterest pages

On Wednesdays, I write posts about the nonfiction writing process. Some of the topics I’ve tackled this year are nonfiction text types (survey, specialized, concept, biography/autobiography), structures (description, sequence, compare & contrast, question & answer, cause & effect, problem & solution), and styles (expository, narrative, persuasive); point of view and voice in nonfiction writing; and nonfiction booktalking. 


It is important for library and classroom book collections to include high-quality nonfiction on a broad range of topics—social studies, science, math, the Arts. 

Many teachers and librarians naturally gravitate toward the Arts and humanities. And if they aren’t careful, their book collections may not be as topically diverse as they should be. 

As educators build their libraries, I’d encourage them to make a deliberate effort to offer budding scientists, mathematicians, and engineers the books their curious analytical minds crave. These students are more interested in information than in stories. They have a strong desire to learn about the world and its possibilities and their place in it. As a result, they appreciate fact-filled expository nonfiction with elements like patterning, analogies, metaphors, and calculations. Does your collection have enough of these books?



School libraries are the heart of a school. Period.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what I’m working on now. I’m very excited to be finalizing the text for a book that will be illustrated by the uber-talented Steve Jenkins. Can an Aardvark Bark? will be published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster in 2017.

















Borrow Melissa Stewart's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, Mr. Schu!! I love Melissa's books, especially Feathers, and No Monkeys, No Chocolate. The Aardvark book sounds wonderful--looking forward to that, since I'm a huge fan of Steve Jenkins too!

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  2. Nice interview! Thanks to you both,
    Lee

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