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<<August 2015>>
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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: earth, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 29
1. #722 – (NatGeoKids) Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth by Steve Tomecek & Fred Harper

Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, & Even DIRT!

Written by Steve Tomecek
Illustrated by Fred Harper
National Geographic Society      6/09/2015
128 pages      Age 8—12

“Geologist Steve Tomecek, aka The Dirtmeister, and his sidekick Digger unearth all kinds of amazing information in this comprehensive book about geology. Clear explanations of geologic processes will teach future geoscientists the fascinating topics while fun facts and simple experiments reinforce the concepts. So grab your shovel and get ready to play IN THE DIRT.” [back cover]

Divided into ten relatively short, but in-depth, color-coded chapters, (such as “The Dynamics of Soil,” “How it (Earth) All Began,” and “Digging Old Dead Things”), Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth will teach kids a lot about geology and how it helps answer many questions. While very educational—teachers will love it—the kid-friendly book is equally entertaining. Kids are at the center of Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth. In fact, each chapter begins with a question put forth by a middle-grade-aged kid:

“Is that you down there, Dirtmeister?
I thought I recognized your dirtmobile.
My name is Richie and I have a quick
question . . . How did the Grand Canyon
get to be, you know, so grand?”
(Richie, in chapter 6, “What Goes Up Must Come Down”)

Other kids ask questions about such things as volcanoes, earthquakes, the shape of the continents, if can rocks make other rocks, and if dinosaurs are really extinct. The questions are interesting and the answers fascinating and fun. The Dirtmeister adds “cool” facts he calls “Dirtmeister’s Nuggets,” short biographies of important people, and simple experiments that let kids see geology at work. The illustrations are cartoonish and the images of Dirtmeister and his sidekick Digger are quite expressive. The art, especially the first spread of each chapter and its graphic novel layout, help draw in the reader and make the book feel personal, as if Dirtmeister is talking directly to the you. The remaining of the book is filled with photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and text that answers each question and then digs a bit deeper.

introI thoroughly enjoyed reading Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth from cover-to-cover. Being a National Geographic Kids publication I should have realized, even before turning to page 1, that I was in for a humorous, engaging, and educational read with incredible illustrations by Fred Harper. Geology, heck science of any kind, was never this easy to understand or could grab me from start to finish. I was amazed at geology’s reach. Topics included not just how to find Earth’s age, but how she came into existence.

The variety of subjects, tied into the Earth’s soil and its importance to humans, makes Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth ideal as an adjunct middle grade science text. I think elementary teachers could also find ways to utilize this book in their science classrooms. The entire book is kid-friendly and larger words are defined (in context). Home-schoolers should not miss a page of Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Earth. The author has correlated each chapter with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)* and STEM** Science Standards, both for grades 3 to 8. These follow the final chapter. There is also an extensive Index.

From volcanoes spewing hot lava and earthquakes splitting open Mother Earth, plus experiments such as designing rocks, building sediments, and simulating the Big Chill, Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth is probably the dirtiest middle grade book ever written—parents and teachers will approve. Oh, yeah, so will kids!

*NGSS was developed by the National Research Council and are based on the Framework for K—12 Science Education.  Website:  http://nextgenscience.org/

**STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. Teachers can find relevant information on STEM at the National Education Association (NEA), PBS, and at Teach.com.

DIRTMEISTER’S NITTY GRITTY PLANET EARTH:  ALL ABOUT ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS, EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANOES, & EVEN DIRT! Text copyright (C) 2015 by Steve Tomecek. Illustrations copyright (C) 2015 by Fred Harper. Photographs copyrights vary and are listed in the book. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.

You can buy Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksNational Geography.

Learn more about Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth HERE.
Information for Teachers and Librarians HERE and HERE.
National Geographic + Common Core is HERE.
More for Kids from National Geographic Kids HERE

Meet the author, Steve Tomecek, at his website:  http://www.dirtmeister.com/
Meet the illustrator, Fred Harper, at his website:  http://www.fredharper.com/
Find more books at the National Geographic Kids website:  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

Dirt (Jump Into Science®)
Moon (Jump Into Science®)
Sun (Jump Into Science®)
Rocks and Minerals (Jump Into Science®)
Stars (Jump Into Science®)
Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids Everything)

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth: All About Rocks, Minerals, Fossils, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Even DIRT! by Steve Tomecek & Fred Harper, and received from National Geographic Society, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Big Bang, Digger, dirt, Dirtmeister’s Nitty Gritty Planet Earth, earth, Fred Harper, geology, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Society, Steve Tomecek, The Big Chill, The Dirtmeister

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2. What makes Earth ‘just right’ for life?

Within a year, we have been able to see our solar system as never before. In November 2014, the Philae Probe of the Rosetta spacecraft landed on the halter-shaped Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In April 2015, the Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around the largest of the asteroids, Ceres (590 miles in diameter), orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. And in July, the New Horizons mission made the first flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto, making it the most distant solar-system object to be visited. Other spacecraft continue to investigate other planets.

The post What makes Earth ‘just right’ for life? appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. A Love the Earth Booklist: Preserve,Restore, Reuse {Giveaway}

Welcome to the next installment of my Book-Jumper Summer Reading Series! This is my way of inspiring parents who are looking for creative ways to keep their kids reading this summer. All of our protagonists are girls or women and most of our showcased authors are women as well. I will be offering up a combination of themed weeks, great novels, booklist giveaways, and blog post recaps so be sure and stop by to discover more wonderful ways have A Book-jumper Summer while Exploring Our World and Beyond!

Bookjumper Summer Reading

This week we’ve been celebrating the planet we live on, Earth. On Earth Day I created a very fun booklist which honors amazing people preserving and restoring areas on our planet as well as others reusing items to accomplish great feats.

earth day book list

Every library should have these inspiring stories from Wangari Mathai who planted an entire forest saving her country, to William Kamkwamba who created a windmill to end a drought in his town, to Isatou Ceesay who started with just one plastic bag. On this list you’ll also find entertaining chapter books with a environmentalist theme to them as well. Each person can contribute something.

One of the more amazing things about this booklist is that we’re giving it away. Have a look below and get inspired.

A Love the Earth Booklist

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prevot, Illustrated by Aurelia Fronty

earth day booklist

Wangari Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts to lead women in a nonviolent struggle to bring peace and democracy to Africa through its reforestation. Her organization planted over thirty million trees in thirty years. This beautiful picture book tells the story of an amazing woman and an inspiring idea.
A book for young readers. It involves new kids, bullies, alligators, eco-warriors, pancakes, and pint-sized owls. A hilarious Floridian adventure!

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

One plastic bag

Plastic bags are cheap and easy to use. But what happens when a bag breaks or is no longer needed? In Njau, Gambia, people simply dropped the bags and went on their way. One plastic bag became two. Then ten. Then a hundred.

The bags accumulated in ugly heaps alongside roads. Water pooled in them, bringing mosquitoes and disease. Some bags were burned, leaving behind a terrible smell. Some were buried, but they strangled gardens. They killed livestock that tried to eat them. Something had to change.

Isatou Ceesay was that change. She found a way to recycle the bags and transform her community. This inspirational true story shows how one person’s actions really can make a difference in our world.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Boy who harnessed the wind

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill. Made out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William’s windmill brought electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land.

Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy’s brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William’s story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family.

SeedFolks by Paul Fleishman

earth day booklist

A vacant lot looks like no place for a garden. Until one day, a young girl clears a small space and digs into the hard-packed soil to plant her precious bean seeds. Suddenly, the soil holds promise.

Heroes of the Environment by Harriet Rohmer

This inspiring book presents the true stories of 12 people from across North America who have done great things for the environment. Heroes include a teenage girl who figured out how to remove an industrial pollutant from the Ohio River, a Mexican superstar wrestler who works to protect turtles and whales, and a teenage boy from Rhode Island who helped his community and his state develop effective e-waste recycling programs. Plenty of photographs and illustrations bring each compelling story vividly to life.

earth day booklist

John Muir: My Life with Nature by Joseph Comell

earth day booklist

Written mostly in the words of Muir, it brims with his spirit and adventures. The text was selected and retold by naturalist Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature with Children, who is well known for his inspiring nature games. The result is a book with an aliveness, a presence of goodness, adventure, enthusiasm, and sensitive love of each animal and plant that will give young adults an experience of a true champion of nature. It is a book that expands your sense of hope, adventure, and awareness. Adults will be just as fond of this book as young readers. Cornell includes numerous explore more activities that help the reader to understand and appreciate the many wonderful qualities of Muir.

Wild Wings by Gill Lewis

Earth day booklist

This “vividly imagined and well-written novel” (Booklist, starred review) tells a gripping story about a boy from Scotland and a girl from West Africa who join together to save a migrating Osprey—and end up saving each other.

When Callum spots crazy Iona McNair on his family’s sprawling property, she’s catching a fish with her bare hands. She won’t share the fish, but does share something else: a secret. She’s discovered a rare endangered bird, an Osprey, and it’s clear to both her and Callum that if anyone finds out about the bird, it, and its species, is likely doomed. Poachers, egg thieves, and wild weather are just some of the threats, so Iona and Callum vow to keep track of the bird and check her migratory progress using the code a preservationist tagged on her ankle, no matter what.
But when one of them can no longer keep the promise, it’s up to the other to do it for them both. No matter what. Set against the dramatic landscapes of Scotland and West Africa, this is a story of unlikely friendships, the wonders of the wild—and the everyday leaps of faith that set our souls to flight.

Earth Booklist Giveaway


ONE winner will receive one copy of each of the books above. Giveaway begins July 1,2015

  • Prizing & samples  courtesy of Authors of the above books
  • Giveaway open to US addresses only
  • ONE lucky winner will win one copy of each of the above books.
  • Residents of USA only please.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • One entry per household.
  • Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
  • Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on July 13th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post A Love the Earth Booklist: Preserve,Restore, Reuse {Giveaway} appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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4. Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Roundup

Earth Day, April 22nd is right around the corner, and we at Lee & Low are some pretty big fans of this blue planet we live on. So, whether you choose to plant a tree or pledge to better uphold the 3 R’s -reduce, reuse, recycle- we are celebrating and promoting awareness the best way we know how- with books!

Here are 5 environmentally friendly collections to bring nature READING FOR 1 yellowindoors & encourage “thinking green”:

Save the Planet: Environmental Action Earth Day Collection: Be inspired to be an advocate for planet Earth through the true stories of threatened ecosystems, environmental recovery efforts and restorations plans, and heroic actions. Like the individuals and communities explored in these stories, children everywhere will realize the difference they can make in protecting our planet and preserving its natural resources.

Earth Day Poetry Collection: Through rhythm and verse, float down the cool river, reach as high as the tallest tree, and search for all of the vibrant colors of the rainbow in the natural world. This collection of poetry books are inspired by the joy and wonder of being outdoors and brings the sight and sounds of nature and all of its wildlife to life.

Seasonal Poems Earth Day Collection: Travel through winter, spring, summer, & fall through a series of bilingual seasonal poems by renowned poet and educator, Francisco Alarcón.  Learn about family, community, and caring for each other and the natural environment we live in.

Adventures Around the World Collection: Explore Africa while traversing Botswana’s lush grasslands and Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest, celebrate the deep-seeded respect for wildlife in India, Mongolia and on an island off the coast of Iceland, and journey to Australia to explore animals found nowhere else on Earth.

Vanishing Cultures Collection: The 7-book series introduces readers to the Yanomama of the Amazon Basin, Aborigines of Australia, Sami of the European Arctic, Inuit of the North American Arctic, Tibetans and Sherpas from the Himalaya, Mongolians of Asia, and Tuareg of the Sahara.

Lesson Plans & Ideas:

What fun is Earth Day if you don’t get your hands a little dirty? Bring some of the outdoors into your classroom-or vice versa- by engaging students in various hands-on and project-based Earth Day lessons and activities:

Earth Day Curriculum Resources, Grades K-5 from The National Earth Day BooksEducation Council. Features lesson plans, units, useful websites, games & activities, printables, and video.

Environmental Education Activities & Resources from The National Education Council. Features lesson plans, activities, projects, games, and professional development ideas.

Celebrate Earth Day! from ReadWriteThink. Features a classroom activity, 6 lesson plans for grades K-2, 6-8, and 7-9 & other Earth Day resources for kids.

Nature Works Everywhere from the Nature Conservancy. Features lessons, video, and tools to help students learn about and understand nature in various environments and ecosystems across the globe.

Check out the research-based read aloud and paired text lessons for The Mangrove Tree created by the staff at the award-winning, non-profit ReadWorks.org

Explore the educator activities for The Mangrove Tree and Buffalo Song, titles featured in RIF’s Multicultural Book Collections. To find other free activities that inspire young readers as well as learn more about Reading Is Fundamental, visit RIF.org

Activities, Projects, & Video:

Greening STEM Educator Toolkits from National Environmental Education Week. Features toolkits for activities based on water, climate, energy, and engineering a sustainable world through project-based service learning.

NOVA Earth System Science Collection from PBS LearningMedia. Standards-based video collection that explores important Earth processes and “ the intricate web of forces that sustain life on Earth.”

22 Interactive Lessons to Bring Earth Day to Life from Mind/Shift. Features informational videos, images, and other forms of multi-media highlighting research on biodegradation, climate change, waste, energy sources, and sustainable practices.

I Want to Be Recycled from Keep America Beautiful. Find out how different kinds of materials are recycled, transforming trash into new things. Students can play a super sorter game and start a recycling movement in their community.

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife Migration & Seasonal Change from Learner.org. Track various migratory species with classrooms across the world.

The Global Water Sampling Project from the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE). Students from all over the world collaborate to compare the water quality of various fresh water sources.

Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Learn how to begin a waste reduction program in your school or community with helpful guides and resource tool kits.

Wildlife Watch from the National Wildlife Federation. Learn about and monitor the wildlife where you live, helping track the health and behavior of wildlife and plant species across the nation.

What’s Your DOT (Do One Thing)? from the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE). Pledge your DOT (Do One Thing) to take action and inspire others to make a difference.

Plant a Poem, Plant a Flower from the blog Sturdy for Common Things. Since April celebrates both National Poetry Month & Earth Day, why not plant a little poetry in nature?

And finally… some Earth Day treats!

Earth Day Cookies from Tammilee Tips
Earth Day Cookies from Tammilee Tips at tammileetips.com


Earth Day Cookies

Earth Day Dirt Cup

Earth Day Cupcakes






Veronica has a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.

1 Comments on Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Roundup, last added: 4/20/2015
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5. Are the mysterious cycles of sunspots dangerous for us?

Galileo and some of his contemporaries left careful records of their telescopic observations of sunspots – dark patches on the surface of the sun, the largest of which can be larger than the whole earth. Then in 1844 a German apothecary reported the unexpected discovery that the number of sunspots seen on the sun waxes and wanes with a period of about 11 years.

Initially nobody considered sunspots as anything more than an odd curiosity. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, scientists started gathering more and more data that sunspots affect us in strange ways that seemed to defy all known laws of physics. In 1859 Richard Carrington, while watching a sunspot, accidentally saw a powerful explosion above it, which was followed a few hours later by a geomagnetic storm – a sudden change in the earth’s magnetic field. Such explosions – known as solar flares – occur more often around the peak of the sunspot cycle when there are many sunspots. One of the benign effects of a large flare is the beautiful aurora seen around the earth’s poles. However, flares can have other disastrous consequences. A large flare in 1989 caused a major electrical blackout in Quebec affecting six million people.

Interestingly, Carrington’s flare of 1859, the first flare observed by any human being, has remained the most powerful flare so far observed by anybody. It is estimated that this flare was three times as powerful as the 1989 flare that caused the Quebec blackout. The world was technologically a much less developed place in 1859. If a flare of the same strength as Carrington’s 1859 flare unleashes its full fury on the earth today, it will simply cause havoc – disrupting electrical networks, radio transmission, high-altitude air flights and satellites, various communication channels – with damages running into many billions of dollars.

There are two natural cycles – the day-night cycle and the cycle of seasons – around which many human activities are organized. As our society becomes technologically more advanced, the 11-year cycle of sunspots is emerging as the third most important cycle affecting our lives, although we have been aware of its existence for less than two centuries. We have more solar disturbances when this cycle is at its peak. For about a century after its discovery, the 11-year sunspot cycle was a complete mystery to scientists. Nobody had any clue as to why the sun has spots and why spots have this cycle of 11 years.

A first breakthrough came in 1908 when Hale found that sunspots are regions of strong magnetic field – about 5000 times stronger than the magnetic field around the earth’s magnetic poles. Incidentally, this was the first discovery of a magnetic field in an astronomical object and was eventually to revolutionize astronomy, with subsequent discoveries that nearly all astronomical objects have magnetic fields.  Hale’s discovery also made it clear that the 11-year sunspot cycle is the sun’s magnetic cycle.

Sunspot 1-20-11, by Jason Major. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

Matter inside the sun exists in the plasma state – often called the fourth state of matter – in which electrons break out of atoms. Major developments in plasma physics within the last few decades at last enabled us to systematically address the questions of why sunspots exist and what causes their 11-year cycle. In 1955 Eugene Parker theoretically proposed a plasma process known as the dynamo process capable of generating magnetic fields within astronomical objects. Parker also came up with the first theoretical model of the 11-year cycle. It is only within the last 10 years or so that it has been possible to build sufficiently realistic and detailed theoretical dynamo models of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

Until about half a century ago, scientists believed that our solar system basically consisted of empty space around the sun through which planets were moving. The sun is surrounded by a million-degree hot corona – much hotter than the sun’s surface with a temperature of ‘only’ about 6000 K. Eugene Parker, in another of his seminal papers in 1958, showed that this corona will drive a wind of hot plasma from the sun – the solar wind – to blow through the entire solar system.  Since the earth is immersed in this solar wind – and not surrounded by empty space as suspected earlier – the sun can affect the earth in complicated ways. Magnetic fields created by the dynamo process inside the sun can float up above the sun’s surface, producing beautiful magnetic arcades. By applying the basic principles of plasma physics, scientists have figured out that violent explosions can occur within these arcades, hurling huge chunks of plasma from the sun that can be carried to the earth by the solar wind.

The 11-year sunspot cycle is only approximately cyclic. Some cycles are stronger and some are weaker. Some are slightly longer than 11 years and some are shorter.  During the seventeenth century, several sunspot cycles went missing and sunspots were not seen for about 70 years. There is evidence that Europe went through an unusually cold spell during this epoch. Was this a coincidence or did the missing sunspots have something to do with the cold climate? There is increasing evidence that sunspots affect the earth’s climate, though we do not yet understand how this happens.

Can we predict the strength of a sunspot cycle before its onset? The sunspot minimum around 2006–2009 was the first sunspot minimum when sufficiently sophisticated theoretical dynamo models of the sunspot cycle existed and whether these models could predict the upcoming cycle correctly became a challenge for these young theoretical models. We are now at the peak of the present sunspot cycle and its strength agrees remarkably with what my students and I predicted in 2007 from our dynamo model. This is the first such successful prediction from a theoretical model in the history of our subject. But is it merely a lucky accident that our prediction has been successful this time? If our methodology is used to predict more sunspot cycles in the future, will this success be repeated?

Headline image credit: A spectacular coronal mass ejection, by Steve Jurvetson. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

The post Are the mysterious cycles of sunspots dangerous for us? appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Major Announcement

Trestle Press announced today its newest ongoing series, Mark Miller’s One. The series will feature a variety of authors telling true-life stories of faith and inspiration. We expect this groundbreaking series to be emotionally charged as it is sure to cross the boundaries of many beliefs. One will be an spiritual anthology of real stories about how faith works on this one planet we all share.

 “It is a privilege to take the lead on a totally new concept for Trestle,” series frontrunner Mark Miller said. “I want to thank Trestle for giving me this opportunity. As One develops, I don’t want to be beating anybody over the head. We’re not trying to change beliefs. I only hope we can open some eyes. Maybe we’ll help people realize that no matter what we believe, we are all part of this one Earth.”

Mark Miller is the author of The Empyrical Tales, available in paperback from Comfort Publishing 0 Comments on Major Announcement as of 1/1/1900
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7. Debut of Mark Miller's One

The premiere story of my new series releases today. You can read Meant To Be for ONLY 99 Cents!

Meant To Be (Mark Miller's One)

Mark Miller's One, exclusively from Trestle Press, is an exciting e-book series that will feature a variety of authors sharing their personal experiences with their faith. The series will focus on many different beliefs. The authors want to share true stories of inspiration and emotion. Hopefully, the stories will be eye-opening and remind us that we all have to share this One World.

In Meant To Be, the debut installment, I lay the groundwork for the series and share a personal story. I tell the unbelievable tale of how I met someone special and very important to me.

For ONLY 99 Cents, read a touching story and put some inspiration on your Kindle!

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8. Take a Moment to Silently Reflect

I have, in my writing career, come to be associated with some truly amazing people. The list is too long to name them all and I wouldn't want to forget anybody. Let me say these are not only talented people in the world of books (authors, publishers, promoters), but also some terrifically kind and generous folks. These are people that work hard and always have a positive word.

There is one person I would like to single out and call my friend, although we have never met face to face. Giovanni Gelati is a blogger, book reviewer, author, publisher, promoter and graphic artist. He is affirming, generous and supportive, but also aggressive in helping his friends/authors with their promotions.

You may find his reviews of my work to be a little bias based on what I said above, but I am humbled by his kind words of my two most recent releases.

Daniel's Lot is my adaptation of the faith-based motion picture about a man tested in his personal and professional life. He turns to his faith and finds an amazing answer. The movie is available on DVD and soon to be on syndicated cable TV.

Meant To Be is the debut story for Mark Miller's One, a spiritual anthology of true stories. The series, which I am honored to headline for Trestle Press, will explore beliefs from around the world and how we all must live on this one planet.

You can read the review for Daniel's Lot at this link:

Gelati's Scoop Reviews Daniel's Lot

You can read the review

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9. Illustration Friday: Yield

To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival."

~Wendell Berry~

Some of you may recognize this piece from a few years back.
It's encore time while I nurse a cold .

acrylic paint and colored pencil (man tending the rice paddy)

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10. Whether to Finish or Not

I was sorting through my TBF (to be finished) files this morning and came across a little ditty that I’d like to share. I have many files like this one; bits of story ideas, entire chapters that sounded good at the time but fell by the wayside when a more exciting project came along, or things that I never finished researching for one reason or another. 

This is only the first page or so of a story’s first draft. There is much more at home that follows this. What I’ve decided to do is ask you if you think I should spend valuable time to finish it. Do you think it could spark enough interest to encourage a reader to turn pages? Can you easily envision possible scenarios for the events hinted at by the writer? Would you be curious enough to turn pages?

I’m taking this step because I have so little invested in this wee sample. I could easily finish it, or, I could ignore it and let it fade into the distance of the past. You tell me how I should treat this prospective story.

As I’ve said, I have little invested in it. I’d much rather have honest opinions than sugar-coated rhetoric that means nothing.


          Ever wonder if other people’s lives were punctuated by oddities like yours? Let me tell you; you’re not alone. Take it from the Queen of Weirdness, everyone’s had their lives polka-dotted by those little quirks that have little or no explanation.

          During my life I’ve experienced so many oddities that flamed across my reality that many times I felt like I was living an episode of the Twilight Zone. I suppose that’s why I knew I just had to write this small, focused catalog of incidents. I wanted to assure others that just because they’d never seen anything like what had suddenly flipped through their lives didn’t mean it wasn’t possible.

          After all, just because someone’s paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone out to get them, and that’s my motto about weirdness. The Creator put a lot of stuff out there in the heavens and on Earth. You or I could be a little slow on the uptake and missed something along the way. And occasionally that something drops by to introduce itself.

          I doubt there’s much in the way of weirdness that I have seen. Take ball lightning, for instance. I was twelve the first time I saw it. Goosebumps coursed down my spine, leaving entire meadows of their offspring on my arms. The thing that caused me the most fright was that it moved when it was observed, took a fancy to certain people in the room, and then gradually faded from sight without emitting a sound.

Now that you’ve had a chance to go through the beginning, what do you think? Please let me know. Is there enough here to create a worthy story or not. Give me your comments with opinions. Don’t be shy.

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11. Whether to Finish or Not

I was sorting through my TBF (to be finished) files this morning and came across a little ditty that I’d like to share. I have many files like this one; bits of story ideas, entire chapters that sounded good at the time but fell by the wayside when a more exciting project came along, or things that I never finished researching for one reason or another. 

This is only the first page or so of a story’s first draft. There is much more at home that follows this. What I’ve decided to do is ask you if you think I should spend valuable time to finish it. Do you think it could spark enough interest to encourage a reader to turn pages? Can you easily envision possible scenarios for the events hinted at by the writer? Would you be curious enough to turn pages?

I’m taking this step because I have so little invested in this wee sample. I could easily finish it, or, I could ignore it and let it fade into the distance of the past. You tell me how I should treat this prospective story.

As I’ve said, I have little invested in it. I’d much rather have honest opinions than sugar-coated rhetoric that means nothing.


          Ever wonder if other people’s lives were punctuated by oddities like yours? Let me tell you; you’re not alone. Take it from the Queen of Weirdness, everyone’s had their lives polka-dotted by those little quirks that have little or no explanation.

          During my life I’ve experienced so many oddities that flamed across my reality that many times I felt like I was living an episode of the Twilight Zone. I suppose that’s why I knew I just had to write this small, focused catalog of incidents. I wanted to assure others that just because they’d never seen anything like what had suddenly flipped through their lives didn’t mean it wasn’t possible.

          After all, just because someone’s paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone out to get them, and that’s my motto about weirdness. The Creator put a lot of stuff out there in the heavens and on Earth. You or I could be a little slow on the uptake and missed something along the way. And occasionally that something drops by to introduce itself.

          I doubt there’s much in the way of weirdness that I have seen. Take ball lightning, for instance. I was twelve the first time I saw it. Goosebumps coursed down my spine, leaving entire meadows of their offspring on my arms. The thing that caused me the most fright was that it moved when it was observed, took a fancy to certain people in the room, and then gradually faded from sight without emitting a sound.

Now that you’ve had a chance to go through the beginning, what do you think? Please let me know. Is there enough here to create a worthy story or not. Give me your comments with opinions. Don’t be shy.

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12. Nothing is Too Hard for God

Jeremiah 32:17 (HCSB) Ah, Lord God! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” If draping the heavens over the earth isn’t too hard for God, why do I continue to think that providing for me, protecting me, and filling me is?

4 Comments on Nothing is Too Hard for God, last added: 6/18/2012
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13. Precious In God's Sight

"Under his watchful eye, a tiny sprout grows to a lovely, fragrant flower, the drab cocoon brings forth the beautiful butterfly, and the Babe in the manger becomes the Prince of Peace! These miracles bring wonderment and awe to our hearts, warming our souls like rays of sun on a spring morning, reminding us of an eternal truth--that all things are precious in his sight."  (from 

4 Comments on Precious In God's Sight, last added: 7/7/2012
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Satire for the Nu.nl news site, about the criticized new Maps application in Apple's iOS 6.

More: sevensheaven.nl

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15. Ice time

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By Jamie Woodward

On 23 September 1840 the wonderfully eccentric Oxford geologist William Buckland (1784–1856) and the Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz (1809–1873) left Glasgow by stagecoach on a tour of the Scottish Highlands. The old postcard below provides a charming hint of what their horse-drawn jaunt through a tranquil Scottish landscape might have been like in the autumn of 1840. It shows the narrow highway snaking through a rock-strewn Hell’s Glen not far from Loch Fyne. This was the first glacial fieldtrip in Britain. These geological giants were searching for signs of glacial action in the mountains of Scotland and they were not disappointed.


Image from edinphoto.org.uk. Used with permission.

This tour was an especially important milestone in the history of geology because, for the first time, the work of ancient glaciers was reported in a country where glaciers were absent. Agassiz wasted no time in communicating these findings to the geological establishment. The following is an extract from his famous letter that was published in The Scotsman on 7 October 1840 and in The Manchester Guardian a week later:

“… at the foot of Ben Nevis, and in the principal valleys, I discovered the most distinct morains and polished rocky surfaces, just as in the valleys of the Swiss Alps, in the region of existing glaciers ; so that the existence of glaciers in Scotland at earlier periods can no longer be doubted.”

These discoveries initiated new debates about climate change and the extent to which the actions of glaciers had been important in shaping the British landscape. These arguments continued for the rest of the century. In 1840 Buckland and Agassiz had no means of establishing the age of the glaciation because the scientific dating of landscapes and geological deposits only became possible in the next century. They could only state that glaciers had existed at “earlier periods”.

At the end of the previous century, in his Theory of the Earth (1795), Scotsman James Hutton became the first British geologist to suggest that the glaciers of the Alps had once been much more extensive. He set out his ideas on the power of glaciers and proposed that the great granite blocks strewn across the foothills of the Jura had been dumped there by glaciers. This was several decades before Agassiz put forward his own grand glacial theory. Hutton did not speculate about the possibility of glaciers having once been present in the mountains of his homeland.

Following the widespread use of radiocarbon dating in the decades after the Second World War, it was established that the last Scottish glaciers disappeared about 11,000 years ago at the close of the last glacial period. Many of the cirques of upland Britain are now occupied by lakes and peat bogs which began to form soon after the ice disappeared. By radiocarbon dating the oldest organic deposits in these basins, it was possible to establish a minimum age for the last phase of glaciation. A good deal of this work was carried out by Brian Sissons at the University of Edinburgh who published The Evolution of Scotland’s Scenery in 1967.

Geologists now have an array of scientific dating methods to construct timescales for the growth and decay of glaciers. The most recent work in some of the high cirques of the Cairngorms led by Martin Kirkbride of Dundee University has argued that small glaciers may have been present in the Highlands of Scotland during the Little Ice Age – perhaps even as recently as the 18th century. These findings are hot off the press — published in January 2014. Kirkbride’s team employed a relatively new geological dating technique that makes use of the build-up of cosmogenic isotopes in boulders and bedrock exposed at the Earth’s surface.

Photograph from Tarmachan Mountaineering

Photograph from Tarmachan Mountaineering. Used with permission.

So in 2014 we have a new interpretation of parts of the glacial landscape and a debate about the climate of the Scottish mountains during The Little Ice Age. This latest chapter in the study of Scottish glaciation puts glacial ice in some of the highest mountains about 11,000 years later than previously thought. The Scottish uplands receive very heavy snowfalls – the superb photograph of the Cairngorms shows this very clearly – and many snow patches survive until late summer. But could small glaciers have formed in these mountains as recently as The Little Ice Age? Some climate models with cooler summers suggest that they could.

This latest work is controversial and, like the findings of Agassiz and Buckland in 1840, it will be contested in the academic literature. Whatever the outcome of this new glacial debate, it is undoubtedly a delightful notion that only a century or so before Buckland and Agassiz made their famous tour, and when a young James Hutton, the father of modern geology, was beginning to form his ideas about the history of the Earth, a few tiny glaciers may well have been present in his own backyard.

Jamie Woodward is Professor Physical Geography at The University of Manchester. He has published extensively on landscape change and ice age environments. He is especially interested in the mountain landscapes of the Mediterranean and published The Physical Geography of the Mediterranean for OUP in 2009. He is the author of The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction. He tweets @Jamie_Woodward_ providing a colourful digital companion to The Ice Age VSI.

Jamie Woodward will be appearing at the Oxford Literary Festival on Saturday 29 March 2014 at 1:15 p.m. in the Blackwell’s Marquee to provide a very short introduction to The Ice Age. The event is free to attend.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS, and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

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Image credits: (1) With permission from edinphoto.org.uk (2) With permission from Tarmachan Mountaineering

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16. Book Review: Earthquake!


Written by Susan J. Berger
Illustrated by Eugene Ruble
Published by Guardian Angel Publishing
Ages 6 to 9
Release: April 2009

This nonfiction book will fascinate children young and old. It offers something to every reader. Susan Berger’s facts and descriptions are informative and easy to understand. Eugene Ruble’s illustrations are clever and humorous.

This book is filled with fun factoids. It has charts and graphs, plus illustrations of the inside of the earth. What is an earthquake? Can scientists predict when an earthquake will occur? What do the terms used to describe earthquakes mean? That and more will be found in this book. This book would be a terrific resource for homeschooled children or the school library.

Experiments are included for children to try that will help them understand what happens in an earthquake. Tsunamis are explained. Some famous past earthquakes and tsunamis are described in detail.

This book offers an earthquake craft for kids to make to help with earthquake preparedness. Children and parents learn to put together a plan and a survival kit. There is extensive information on what to have on hand and how to keep supplies fresh.

Susan Berger takes what could be a frightening subject and uses it to inform and empower children. The book is full of useful tips for preparing for the possibility of an earthquake. She tells the reader what to do during and after a quake. Earthquake is a book that gives the reader tips on ways to help others instead of curling up in fear, ending the book on a positive note. I highly recommend this book for children everywhere.

Reviewed by Shari Lyle-Soffe

5 Comments on Book Review: Earthquake!, last added: 4/5/2009
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17. Writing the Elements

I write the elements, I said. Earth. Air. Fire. Water. I imagine myself gone, within them. The river as a woman. The fire as a man. The earth cracked open, so many mouths through which to speak.

And air?

And air is wind. And air is weather. A character—changeable, present.

7 Comments on Writing the Elements, last added: 5/11/2009
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18. Weighing The World: Christopher Columbus

Edwin Danson is a Chartered Surveyor and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.  His new book, Weighing the World: The Quest To Measure the Earth, he chronicles the stories of the scientists and scholars who cut their way through the jungles, crossed the arctic tundra, and braved the world’s highest mountains to discover the truth about our Earth.  In the excerpt below we learn how Christopher Columbus discovered the Earth was much, much larger than previously believed.

As the sun rose at the dawn of the sixteenth century, it shone upon a world mostly uncharted, warming newly discovered lands as yet unexplored… In the Old World of the West, the paucity of geographic knowledge had not deterred men from making maps and atlases, many of which were wildly inaccurate and frequently farcical, showing beautifully engraved continents that did not exist and vague, vast landscapes populated with monsters and cannibalistic savages.

Serene seaways promised wide passages through what were impassable icy wastes that, the cosmographers insisted, led to the riches and spices of the Indies. No one knew from where precisely the spices came, nor did they particularly care. In fact, the strange berries and nuts were grown in the glades of remote East Indian islands and shipped by sea to the coasts of India, from where Moghul traders carried them to Arabia. Arab traders then hauled the baggage overland by camel train through burning desserts to the coasts of Levant, where Genoese, Italian, French, and English sea traders imported the expensive and shriveled goods into the greedy markets of Europe.

The rich had been satisfied to purchase their spices and exotic goods from the last man in a long chain of traders, that is, until the Ottoman Turks expanded their empire from the east in the fifteenth century, capturing a swath of land stretching from Athens to the Crimea. With Sultan Bayezid II’s horde of warriors and warlords controlling access to the Danube, Europe’s great trade river, and dominating all of eastern Europe, exacting high tolls on goods and traffic, the flow of spices from Asia dwindled. At this juncture, an ancient, much copied map of the world suddenly became very important.

The map was from Geographia of Claudius Ptolemy (fl. 150 A.D.) made at the library of Alexandria during the second century. Much “improved” by Italian cartographers, the map suggested to a young Italian navigator by the name of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) that there might be a sea route to Cathay and its exotic spices. Columbus reasoned that, the earth being round, he could bypass the Turkish obstruction simply by sailing west until he reached the exotic east.

When Columbus first spied the New World from his flagship, Santa Maria he knew exactly where he was because he had a sea chart. He had discovered, he was certain, the eastern outliers of fabled Japan, gateway to the spice lands. Unfortunately, his chart was hopelessly wrong…But Columbus did not know this, and there is no reason why he should have. As far as he was concerned, he had been proved right and had found Japan at the very eastern limits of the spice-rich East.

Paolo Toscanelli, a Florentine cosmographer, is supposed to have provided both inspiration and the chart Columbus took with him on his very first voyage of discovery. It was based, for the most part, on Ptolemy’s ancient map of the world, embellished by the salty tales of coastal traders, fishermen, and an “unknown pilot” who had supposedly seen the fabled lands. Ptolemy’s world was the Greek world and was a perfectly round, spherical world. Toscanelli, Columbus, and the natural philosophers of the day accepted this fact almost without question.

From this certain knowledge of a round world, and equipped with the great map, Columbus calculated that his sailing distance west to Japan would be a mere 2,760 miles (4,440 km). In 1492, as his little fleet sailed further and further westward, with no sight of the promised land, Columbus grew increasingly worried, yet he kept his thoughts to himself, confident in his own abilities and having faith in his Florentine map. The crew was frightened and the men were becoming mutinous when, on 12 October (after 36 days at sea), young Juan Rodriguez Ber Mejo saw land from the prow of the Pinta.

When Columbus toted up his sailing distance, he realized that they had gone about 4,500 sea miles (8,230 km), considerably further than his original 2,760 miles; the only conclusion the navigator could infer was that the earth appeared to be a lot larger than everyone thought. A few years later, on his third voyage to the Indies (1498-1500), Columbus made an even stranger discovery.

He was observing the latitude by sighting the Pole Star with his quadrant when something very odd occurred. He was certain he knew where he was from his previous voyages, but the latitude observations appeared to be all wrong.

I found that there between these two straits [the seas between Trinidad and Venezuela], which I have said face each other in a line from north to south, it is twenty six leagues from the one to the other, and I cannot be wrong in this because the calculation was made with a quadrant. In that on the south, which I named la Boca de la Sierpe, I found that at nightfall I had the pole star at nearly five degrees elevation, and in the other on the north, which I named la Boca del Drago, it was almost at seven.

The difference of nearly 2 degrees of latitude for two locations fewer than 70 miles apart could only be explained if the earth, instead of being a perfectly round sphere, had somehow or other manifested some sort of bump near the equator: it was, according to Columbus, deformed.

We might now suggest that the strange anomaly was probably in part the result of his dubious navigational skills and in part to what we would call “atmospheric aberration.” But, in 1498, neither Columbus nor any philosopher of the day was aware that the atmosphere behaves like a giant lens, bending light rays…

Whatever the cause for Columbus’s disconcerting discovery, his thoughts that the earth could be anything other than perfectly round flew in the face of divine perfection; it flaunted the Aristotelian dogma of the church of Rome and challenged the received wisdom of a thousand years. On that starry night in the Caribbean Sea were sown the first heretical seeds of doubt.

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19. He watches

There are many rocks but old man rock is the wisest of them all.

He watches with a steady gaze through sun and storms.

You may not notice him at first  because he is very stealthy and it might seem he could never know anything .

But he is wise ! Old man rock is son of old man mountain and mother earth so he knows the importance of patience.

While he sits there watching and you think he can only know what his eyes tell him, you are wrong.

The wind brings him smells, he knows of the fire before your news person does and he has survived many of those himself so he knows how hot they can be.

He feels and tastes the rain to see if it is good enough for his brothers and sisters like racoon who he lets live in him and deer, fox and even old trickster coyote.

I myself have seen Coyote go many times and howl in old man rocks ear at night to tell him of a fine meal he has brought to share.

When men lay on him and block the sun his friend Ant chases them off then Mosquito makes sure man remembers his lesson near old man rocks drinking water.

He whistles in the wind and knows the world much deeper than you or I.

He feels the world around him and knows heavy weights on his soul.

He watches.

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20. Old world, new world

Realistic 3D cover illustration about the transition of an old world to a new world.

You're invited to Sevensheaven.nl for more imagery.

1 Comments on Old world, new world, last added: 1/14/2010
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21. Illustration Friday :: Subterranean

What goes underneath our floors? who knows. Ever wonder why socks go missing? Maybe there´s a subterranean gang of criminals at work.

Que pasa por debajo de nuestro piso? quién sabe. Haz pensado porque se pierden las medias? Tal vez hay una pandilla de criminales subterráneos trabajando.

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Filed under: Illustration Friday, ilustracion illustration 14 Comments on Illustration Friday :: Subterranean, last added: 3/15/2010
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22. Friday Procrastination: Link Love

This has been such a fun week with the launch of our new blog design that it is hard to believe Friday is already here.  Nevertheless, with the weekend just around the corner I am ready to do some serious relaxing and hopefully finish the book I’m reading.  Below are some links to get you just a little bit closer to the weekend.  Enjoy!

Every painting in MoMA in two minutes.

The Baby-Sitters Club is back.

When should rent and when should you buy?

In honor of Earth Day, nature photos!

The best and the worst news for planet Earth.

J. K. Rowling on being a single mom.

A life in zippers.

Some cat humor. (No cats were harmed in the making of this cartoon.)

Are college students addicted to social media?

On the books Presidents read.

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23. “The Earth” – by Cece, age 9

The Earth
What is Earth, really?
It is something sweet,
Some parts you can eat
Earth is full of life
Some life is furry,
Some hop, others scurry
None are boring or lame
We should all be treated the same
(Dogs and cats can’t
get all the attention)
I mean, what if me and you
owned a baby kangaroo?
(I’d name mine Darryl)
But now the Earth is in peril
The ice is melting,
More animals dieing
So, down with global warming
And up with recycling

For the Earth is something sweet
And something worth saving.

Tagged: children, Earth, education, environment, green, mompreneur, poetry for kids, recycling, saving the Earth, writing

1 Comments on “The Earth” – by Cece, age 9, last added: 11/8/2010
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24. George W. Bush Memoir Tops College Bestseller List

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, eight out of the top ten titles on college campuses are nonfiction books. Decision Points by George W. Bush topped the list.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson were the only fiction books on the list. Life by Keith Richards and The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1 by Mark Twain joined Bush’s memoir on the list. Humor titles by Jon Stewart and Tucker Max also made the cut.

What titles did you read while you were in college? The magazine surveyed university bookstores across the country for the list. Follow this link for the complete list of participating bookstores.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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25. Jon Stewart & Julie Andrews Win Audiobook Grammy Awards

Last night, Jon Stewart & The Daily Show writers won the Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Award for Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Julie Andrews and her daughter (Emma Walton Hamilton) won the Best Spoken Word Album for Children award for the poetry collection, Julie Andrews’ Collection Of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies.

In the video embedded above, Andrews reads a poem. Andrews also won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In her acceptance speech earlier this month, the actress talked about her work as a children’s author.

When Stewart read at a New York City Barnes & Noble, he explained the book’s premise: “This is the entirety of the human experience. How we got here, what we did while we were here, and obviously, how we’re leaving. We’ll tell you, it’s really quite funny.”


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