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1. Around the World in Nine Photos

It’s in the grip of North American winter that I often dream of escape to warmer climates. Thanks to the WordPress.com Reader and the street photography tag, I can satisfy my travel yen whenever it strikes. Here are just some of the amazing photos and photographers I stumbled upon during a recent armchair trip.

My first stop was Alexis Pazoumian’s fantastic SERIES: India at The Sundial Review. I loved the bold colors in this portrait and the man’s thoughtful expression.

Photo by Alexis Pazoumian

Photo by Alexis Pazoumian

Speaking of expressions, the lead dog in Holly’s photo from Maslin Nude Beach, in Adelaide, Australia, almost looks as though it’s smiling. See more of Holly’s work at REDTERRAIN.

Photo by Holly

Photo by Holly

In a slightly different form of care-free, we have the muddy hands of Elina Eriksson‘s son in Zambia. I love how his small hands frame his face. The gentle focus on his face and the light in the background evoke warm summer afternoons at play.

Photo by Elina Eriksson

Photo by Elina Eriksson

Heading to Istanbul, check out Jeremy Witteveen‘s fun shot of this clarinetist. Whenever I see musicians, I can’t help but wonder about the song they’re playing.

Photo by Jeremy Witteveen

Photo by Jeremy Witteveen

Pitoyo Susanto‘s lovely portrait of the flower seller, in Pasar Beringharjo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, captivated me. Aren’t her eyes and her gentle smile things of beauty?

Photo by Pitoyo Susanto

Photo by Pitoyo Susanto

Arresting in a slightly different fashion is Rob MosesSki Hill Selfie, taken in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The juxtaposition of the bold colors and patterns in the foreground against the white snow in the background caught my eye.

Photo by Rob Moses

Photo by Rob Moses

Further under the category of fun juxtaposition, is Liu Tao’s photo of the elderly man in Hafei, China, whose fan reminds me of a punk rock mohawk.

Photo by Liu Tao

Photo by Liu Tao

From Hafei, we go to Havana, Cuba, and Edith Levy‘s beautifully ethereal Edificio Elena. I found the soft pastels and gentle shadows particularly pleasing. They lend a distinctly feminine quality to the building.

Photo by Edith Levy

Photo by Edith Levy

And finally, under the category of beautiful, is Aneek Mustafa Anwar‘s portrait, taken in Shakhari Bazar, Old Dhaka, Bangladesh. The boy’s shy smile is a wonderful representation of the word on his shirt.

Photo by Aneek Mustafa Anwar

Photo by Aneek Mustafa Anwar

Where do you find photographic inspiration? Take a moment to share your favorite photography blogs in the comments.

Filed under: Community

10 Comments on Around the World in Nine Photos, last added: 1/13/2015
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2. One Central Hub for All Your Content

Last week, we announced a few updates to the WordPress.com interface, including faster stats and enhanced site management on both desktop and mobile devices.

Our push to make all WordPress.com sites faster and easier to access and manage continues. This week, we’re thrilled to unveil a few brand-new features that allow bloggers, publishers, and business owners to run their sites and manage their content from one central hub, no matter what device they’re using.

From new blog post and page management tools to Jetpack site integrations, we hope you enjoy the latest additions as much as we do!

Centralized post management

You can now access all your posts from one convenient location, whether you write one personal blog or publish on multiple sites. Quickly sort through published, scheduled, drafted, or even trashed posts for one or all of your sites at once!


A visual preview of each blog post lets you scan your content to edit, view, publish, or trash from a single list. Another new functionality we’re excited to introduce today: while “Blog Posts” is selected, you can hop to another blog’s post list using the site selector in the sidebar.

Easy access to pages

For many site administrators, managing pages is just as — if not more — important than post management, so we’ve extended to pages the same functionality that lets you review all your posts from one place.

You can look up any of your pages, and then publish, un-publish, or trash them, all directly from your WordPress.com dashboard. Editing pages is also just one click away, regardless of the number of sites you run.

One WordPress dashboard for all your sites

Screenshot of the All My Sites button

We also have great news for those of you who have both self-hosted WordPress sites and WordPress.com sites. The new WordPress dashboard gives you access to all your Jetpack-connected sites as well as to sites hosted here on WordPress.com, and allows you to manage your posts, pages, and plugins from the same central hub.

Tell us what you think!

For some, individual-site management in the classic WP Admin dashboard will continue to be the go-to. That said, today’s updates include some entirely new features that are only accessible in the new dashboard. To tap into multi-site posts and pages lists and manage all your WordPress sites under one hood, we encourage you to try out the new interface.

We want to thank all of you who’ve shared constructive feedback with us — it helps us immensely in our effort to make the experience even smoother. Whichever dashboard you fancy, we hope you’ll take the updates for a spin and continue to share your thoughts with us!

Filed under: Dashboard, Features, Jetpack, New Features, WordPress.com

11 Comments on One Central Hub for All Your Content, last added: 12/15/2014
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3. New theme: Harmonic

Today, we have a brand new free theme for you to enjoy!


Harmonic is a unique theme that really lets your content sing. Maybe you’re a band looking to make your home on WordPress.com. Perhaps you’re a photographer looking to showcase your work. You may be a blogger who just wants a theme that looks a bit distinctive. Harmonic has you covered.

With Harmonic you can build your own front-page layout. Choose from a title screen, showing your latest posts, page content, widgets or even a photo showcase using the Portfolio Custom Post Type. If sharing your writing is your aim, Harmonic has you covered with a simple, elegant, two-column blog layout. This theme also adapts to fit any device, making sure readers get a great experience, no matter which device they use when they visit you.

Harmonic is designed by yours truly and I really hope you enjoy using it as much as I did creating it for you. This theme is designed to stand out and I’m excited to see the sites you create.

Learn more about the free Harmonic theme at the Theme Showcase, or preview it by going to Appearance → Themes.

Filed under: Themes

13 Comments on New theme: Harmonic, last added: 10/10/2014
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4. Happy National Polar Bear Day!

Kali_128 PolarPenguins_128

It is National Polar Bear Day! Sylvan Dell is celebrating this incredible animal in two ways this spring season, but before we get to the books here are a few fun polar bear activities that you can do to celebrate the day.

  • Make a cotton ball bear! Learn about the features of a bear and talk about their adaptations while using cut outs and cotton balls to create fluffy bear faces. Paper plates or just a cardboard circle are great for a base and then kids can glue cotton balls for thick fur and buttons for the eyes and nose.



  • Pom pom bears are also a fun craft and simple for young kids. Two large pom poms are glued together with four small ones attached to the bottom pom pom make the bear. Add googly eyes and a black nose to finish the project.

It is great to learn about polar bears while you are crafting, and you can read Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue, or Polar Bears and Penguins to inspire a love for this animal.  Also, check out the web page for these books.  Here you will find the For Creative Minds section and teaching activities for great ways to incorporate fact filled discussions into fun filled craft time.

See more fun crafts from around the internet on our Polar Bear Pinterest Page!

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5. Native American, Lloyd Arneach, talks about his fire for storytelling

With the release of our new book, “First Fire,” which is a retelling of a Cherokee folktale, we decided to sit down with storyteller, Lloyd Arneach, to find out more about the culture and the art of storytelling. Arneach is a longtime Native American storyteller that got his start in a rather interesting and unexpected way. He’s keen on Cherokee culture, having lloyd_arneach_frontgrown up in Cherokee, North Carolina, and learning from his family. Arneach spent about twenty years sharing the culture and history of his people at universities, museums and even Girl Scout meetings. Now he’s been a storyteller now for over twenty years and still has a lot of stories to be told.


Me: Can you tell me a little bit about how you first got involved with storytelling? What inspired you?

Lloyd: Well, I really backed into it! My late wife and I were living in Atlanta, and we had a babysitter who was in a Girl Scout troop. And she couldn’t find a book on Indians in the entire county library system. And she said, “wait a minute! I babysit for an Indian, maybe he can help me.” So she called me up and asked if I could help her and I said sure. She told me the requirements, and they were fairly simple and I said, “sure! But I’m going to have to come straight from work, I won’t have time to go home and change. Is that going to be a problem?” She said no, so the next Girl Scout meeting I came straight from work. I went in and sat down and the young girls looked at me and I could hear one of them say, “I don’t know where the Indian is but he’s going to be here pretty soon.” I was working as a computer programmer at that time and I was wearing a three-piece suit, so you don’t see many Indians in three-piece suits. I got up to talk and you could hear their jaws hitting the ground. She started calling other scout leaders who had the same problem in that county, they couldn’t find books on the Indians. I became a resource material as a result. Boy scouts started calling, and then schools started calling, and museums started calling. I was sharing primarily Cherokee culture and history at that time.

In 1985, I got a call from student at Georgia State University and she said she was in a Folklore class. Her assignment was to record stories from original tellers, and I said she would need to go to the reservation in Cherokee to find a storyteller. She said “no, you’d be fine!” So she came and recorded some stories, and I didn’t think anything about it. Then in ‘88 I got a call from Dr. John Burleson at Georgia State and he said “I teach the Folklore class here at Georgia State and our students have been collecting stories. And the stories we have recorded from you I’m going to be putting in a book with these others I have collected, and I’m calling all storytellers to be invited to a book signing. Would you be willing to come?” I said, well let me know. Well, in November of ‘88, we discovered my wife had a terminal brain tumor. It destroyed her motor capabilities and she couldn’t walk, she had very little control of her hands. But her mental capabilities were still there and her ability to communicate had not diminished. My father-in-law, my son, and I brought her home and someone was with her twenty-four hours a day. I was still working at that time, so I would go to work and my father-in-law and son would be taking care of FirstFire-Spread-10her during the day and I would come home and I would relieve my father-in-law and he’d go fix supper and come back and relieve me while I ate supper. This is how it went until the spring of ’89. Dr. Burleson called me back and said “we’re going to have a book signing in September would you be willing to come?” And I talked to my wife, Charlotte, and she said “go ahead!” you know, I needed to get out of the house. Well, she passed away in the end of August in ’89 and I was doing everything I could to fill my time. So I went to the book signing and as I was taking a break, a lady came up to me and said “I’m Betty Ann Wylie and I’m a member of the Southern Order of Storytellers. We have a storytime festival in January, would you be willing to come and share your stories?” and I said “YES!” so in January of 1990, I started sharing stories. It was never something I intended to do.

So from 1970 to1990, I was just sharing Cherokee culture and history, but in 1990 I started sharing stories and I’ve been doing it ever since. So it was never something I intended to do, I literally backed into it.

It’s something I thoroughly enjoy, I had never really thought about it. I was a very introverted individual. My late wife brought me out of my shell. She taught me that people are interesting, but you have to talk with them to find out these interesting things about them. If you don’t talk, you don’t know. She was a very good people person; she had unbelievable people skills. She taught me to come out and enjoy people, and if she hadn’t done that I would have never agreed to do the first session in front of the girl scouts.


Me: How did you learn the stories? Who taught you?

Lloyd: I had two great uncles who were wonderful storytellers and at our family gatherings, Uncle George would tell a story and Uncle Dave would tell a story. It was like a tennis match! And without realizing it, I was learning the old stories of our people. And then my mother had Tuberculosis for two years and I went to live with my great uncle. My great aunt taught French at the University of Oklahoma, so we went out during the winter to Oklahoma where she teached University. My other aunt, my mom’s sister, was studying languages and lived on the cottage at Aunt Dell and Uncle George’s property. She and Aunt Dell would speak French. Well without realizing it, I was in second grade, I started picking up conversational French. So after the school year ended, we came back to Cherokee for the summer. I was walking through downtown Cherokee, after graduating from the second grade, and this tourist stopped me and said “Hau! You speak-a the English?” and I said “Bonjour! Comment ça va?” He called his wife over, “hey Gertrude! Get over here and listen to this kid speak Indian!” So that’s when I realized how much people really didn’t know about Indians, in second grade. So when I was going out sharing culture, I tried not to dress in the feathers and buck skin, because I realized the young people would think this is what an Indian looks like today. So I wanted to try to avoid that stereotype. Also not many people knew of an Indian who was a computer programmer – they don’t associate those two.


Me: Do you find that stories change over time since they are all learned through word-of-mouth?

Lloyd: The nucleus of the story stays the same, but each person uses different words. Some people might use very flowery descriptions of the “long winding trail to the sharp rock,” somebody else might say “he took the long trail up to the top of the mountain.” But still, the important essence was that he went to the top of the mountain.lloyd_arneach_1_600w


Me: Which do you prefer? Do you prefer more flowery descriptions?

Lloyd: Not flowery, but I try and visualize the story as I’m telling it and describe what I see. I’m aware the audience may not be aware if I say “there were snake dens,” but if I say “there were Rattlesnake dens,” suddenly they’re realizing “oh my gosh! This wasn’t just a walk past snakes, but they were dangerous snakes!” and it pulls their attention into the story. I’m trying to keep the audience involved in the story. If I say, “Well, there were some Indian medicine right along the trail, that means nothing. If I say “there was kudzu” which we have learned to use for medicine, they say “oh!” and it’s a totally different approach to the story.


Me: Do you have a personal favorite story to tell?

Lloyd: Yes, Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce. A very moving story and for me, I have to have about an hour with the audience. And what I do when I first go into a program, I do a couple of stories and do a very quick read on the audience. And by “read,” I mean that when I tell a story, there may be a point in the story where the audience should react and they may laugh, but instead their response should be an “ohhh yes” and when I get that reaction I realize they don’t understand the story. And so I’ll switch to a different group of stories and they’ll never realize the program has changed in mid-stride. It’s just been garnered over years of sharing with different groups and seeing how they respond. One of the best pieces of advice came from an internationally known storyteller named Carmen Deedy, and she was really my first good mentor when I was coming up. She was very quick, she picked things up very very fast, a very intelligent woman. And we were talking, I was grousing about the programs I had and how I couldn’t get this one guy to pay attention. And she said “Lloyd, if there are a hundred people in the room and one person isn’t paying attention to you, why are you focusing on them? There are ninety-nine people who are hanging on every word, share with them. If the one person comes around, fine, but reward the ninety-nine people for their attention.”

That would save me so much heartache over the years, because it was obvious some people didn’t want to be there. “Storytelling? That’s for kids!” But I’d tell them, if you give me twenty minutes and an open mind, I will change the mind of any adult.

I’m seventy and I only have a few summers left where I can get out and travel on my own without someone attending me or worrying about me. So I’m cutting down a lot of my programs now, because there’s still things I want to do – I’ve still got my bucket list! And that involves traveling.


Me: Is there one thing you’d want younger generations to know about the Cherokee or storytelling?

Lloyd: Stories are meant to be shared. Share them. Everybody has stories. They might not realize it but everybody has stories.


If you’re interested in learning more about Lloyd Arneach, visit his webstie at www.arneach.com

Learn more about our book “First Fire” here: http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=FirstFire

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6. Spring is blooming with Daisylocks!

Daisylocks_128Today spring is blooming in Charleston, South Carolina and we are celebrating with the launch of Daisylocks! Although the daisies haven’t burst through the soil just yet, the camellias, tulips and daffodils are in full bloom indicating spring in on the way. While I know much of the country is too cold for Daisylocks just yet, this flower might find the perfect climate inside a greenhouse where she could be cultivated nicely.

In case you haven’t guessed by now Daisylocks is all about plant life and the second book on the topic by Marianne Berkes with Sylvan Dell. Her first, The Tree that Bear Climbed, takes readers from the soil to the branches of a tree and even entices a bear to come visit as readers learn about the needs of a tree.

Illustrator Cathy Morrison’s art beautifully shows the details of each habitat as Wind and Daisylocks visit many unsuitable locations for her sort of daisy. Cathy also created wonderful coloring pages and daisy activities for you to download here!

Daisylocks coloring pg1LR


Daisylocks coloring pg2LR


Daisylocks coloring pg3LR

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7. Book Launch Week

In case you haven’t heard Sylvan Dell is launching nine new books this week! Each of these books is a labor of love for the authors, illustrators and editors as well as the staff in the office as we prep for the day that the books finally arrive and join the others! We are excited as each season brings new lessons in habitats and exciting creatures for children to learn about. Over the course of the coming weeks we will dive into each book, and feature activities, coloring pages, author interviews and a few fun science facts! But first, just in case you have missed each of our titles here is a collage of covers!

AH_Aquariums_128 BeaversBusy_128 CoolSummer_128 Daisylocks_128 FirstFire_128 Kali_128 PolarPenguins_128 SeaSlime_128 ShapeFamily_128

Want more information about each book visit www.sylvandellpublishing.com. Connect with us via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for giveaways and more exciting news!

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8. A Little Science for Your Valentine

ValentinesFlowersA gift of red roses symbolizes love; yellow warmth and happiness, white represent innocence and purity. But what if you have daisies, tulips or carnations? They can be any color you choose with just a few supplies you can change the color of your valentine’s flowers.

Cut flowers can live a short time in a vase of water, but white flowers will change colors in a vase filled with a mixture of water and food coloring. This simple experiment is both fun and educational!

So why do the flowers change color? It is a process called transpiration. The flowers need water to stay alive, so just like sucking water through a straw the flowers pull the colored water through their stem to the petals. After the water evaporates they draw in more water and after this process is repeated over a few days the water leaves behind a new hue!

After the flowers begin to change color, pull one out of the water and inspect the tubes that have been taking in the water, they tend to be much darker in color than the petals. If you are very adventurous take open up the stem and investigate all the parts of the plant.

A few hours after putting the flowers in red water we start to see a change. A few days latter the daisy is turning pink with most of the color concentrated around the center. Here is a close up of one daisy as it is turning colors.

For more discussion on plants and their needs Sylvan Dell has two great resources The Tree that Bear Climbed, and Daisylocks, which is due out on February 20th. Enter to win a copy on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Daisylocks by Marianne Berkes


by Marianne Berkes

Giveaway ends February 20, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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9. Taking a dip in the ocean

Throughout the seasons we have explored the ocean, from top to bottom featuring everything from dolphins and fish to extraordinary creatures with glowing talents. This spring we add two new titles featuring sea life, but today we are looking through our current collection dreaming of tropical beaches and swimming with the fishes!

Here is a fun little booklist for your next ocean adventure.

If a Dolphin Were a Fish
by Loan Wlodarski illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Dolphin_128“If a Dolphin Were a Fish” is the clever story of a dolphin who imagines that she is a fish, a turtle, a bird, an octopus, or even a shark or manatee. She (and the readers) learn just how special she really is and how special each of her other sea animal friends are too. The Creative Minds section has teaching trivia, crafts and games related to dolphins and some of her sea-creature friends.

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud
by Donna Rathmell German and Doreen Rathmell, illustrated by Connie McLennan

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud

Octavia Octopus and her sea-animal friends love playing camouflage games to practice how they would hide from a “big, hungry creature.” Octavia, however, just cannot seem to get her colors right when she tries to shoot her purple ink cloud. What happens when the big, hungry shark shows up looking for his dinner? This creative book introduces basic colors along with the camouflage techniques of various sea animals’ a great introduction to marine biology! To top it off, as parents love teaching their children; “practice makes perfect!” The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes fun facts about animal camouflage and protection and about octopuses. The craft uses primary colors (paint or tissue paper) to help children learn about blending colors.

A Day in the Deep
by Kevin Kurtz, illustrated by Erin E. Hunter
DayDeep_128Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

Ocean Seasons
by Ron Hirschi, illustrated by Kristen Carlson
Ocean_128Seasons change in the ocean much as they do on land. Spring brings new plants and baby animals, while summer oceans are aglow with sparkly plankton lights, and autumn winds blow across the open water. In winter the humpback whales migrate to warmer waters, just as some land animals move to warmer climates. In fun, fanciful form, children learn about plants and animals that are joined through the mix of seasons, food webs and habitats beneath the waves. While set in the Pacific, similar changes occur in all the world’s ocean.

In Arctic Waters
by Laura Crawford, illustrated by Ben Hodson
Arctic_128An arctic adaptation of “This is the House that Jack Built” follows polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhals and beluga whales as they chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic waters.” Not only is the rhythmic, cumulative prose good for early readers; it is a pure delight to read aloud. The “For Creative Minds” section helps children learn how these animals live in the cold, icy arctic region.

If you would like to win a copy of our new ocean titles enter the First Reads giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Sea Slime by Ellen J. Prager

Sea Slime

by Ellen J. Prager

Giveaway ends February 20, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Animal Helpers by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Animal Helpers

by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Giveaway ends February 20, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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10. Weather predicting rodent: why February 2nd is significant

groundhogSpring seems so far away, yet it is almost time for Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck, General Beauregard Lee, and many others to emerge from their winter den to predict the weather for the remainder of winter. While there is not much actual science behind the holiday, this rodent’s prediction is highly coveted as the hope for an early end to the icy, snowy weather is anticipated.

Where did the idea for this holiday come from? February 2nd has been a significant day in winter for centuries. This date reflects the midpoint of winter, halfway between the solstice and the equinox. From the Pagan holiday (Ibolc) to the Christian holiday (Candlemas), many past celebrations have marked this midwinter point.

The first mention of weather prediction on Candlemas day comes from the Germans. This date was also a day for the farmers to assess their feed supply, and predict if they would have ample supply for the remainder of the season, or skinny cows come spring.

The early German settlers brought their weather predicting traditions to America. Instead of a hedgehog, or a badger the groundhog fit the bill to be woken from his hibernation and predict the duration of the remaining winter. The first reference to Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania was in 1841, the first reporting in the newspaper was in 1886, and the first time Punxsutawney Phil emerged from Gobbler’s Knob was one year later in 1887.

Through 2013 Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow 100 times predicting more winter, and only 17 times has he predicted an early spring. What will the prediction be in 2014? Find out at 7:30 on Sunday morning.

Celebrate with this groundhog coloring page! And learn more in Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattision.



Information for this post gathered from http://www.groundhog.org/, and mental_floss http://mentalfloss.com/article/29889/where-did-groundhog-day-come.

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11. Whale Sharks Move to a New Home

The new book Animal Helpers: Aquariums, due out in March, is great for teaching children about the many creatures that can be found in local aquariums. Aquariums are a wonderful place to learn and gain hands-on experience with all of the different types of marine animals. But have you ever wondered how they get all of those huge whales and sharks in there?

Two whale sharks can be found swimming around in the tanks at the Georgia Aquarium. These large whale sharks were originally from Taiwan. So, just how are these massive creatures transported halfway around the world?

Like most things, they were shipped through UPS. Of course, not many boxes could fit a whale shark and they probably also wouldn’t fit in any UPS trucks, so they had to make a few exceptions. A team of specialists loaded the whale sharks into separate tanks that weighed about 25,000 lbs each. To accommodate the whale sharks on the 30-hour long flight to Atlanta from Taiwan, they raised the temperature inside of the plane to 75 degrees, which is the same temperature as their familiar oceanic environment.

Once the plane landed in Atlanta, they were still far away from the aquarium. The sea giants were greeted with a police escort and slowly made their way through the busy streets of the city. When they finally reached the Georgia Aquarium, the whale sharks and belugas were happy to get out of their tanks and swim freely within their new aquatic habitat.

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12. Why is it so cold?

Images of frozen fountains and bundled up commuters have flashed across the news this week from all over the United States. Meteorologists are talking about a polar vortex bringing many states sub zero temperatures. Naturally as a children’s science book publisher, we need to know why?

Polar Vortex

After some research we found that the polar vortex does not exactly live up to its ominous name. It is not an arctic tornado, a destructive winter storm, or anything that we can see with our eyes. It turns out the polar vortex is just very cold air that is moving in a different direction!

High up in the atmosphere this cold air is a permanent weather pattern that keeps the North Pole frigid. Occasionally this pattern weakens and plunges into the United States causing the jet stream to bring extremely cold air as far as the Southern states. Much of the Midwest and Northeast has been hit hard with sub zero temperatures, but weather patterns are constantly changing and new temperatures are just around the corner!

For more in-depth information visit Weather Underground http://www.wunderground.com/news/polar-vortex-plunge-science-behind-arctic-cold-outbreaks-20140106

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13. Book Launch 2014

A New Year and New Book launch is just around the corner. Spring 2014 is the largest launch in company history with nine new books coming to bookshelves! Meet our new authors, and discover fun facts at sylvandellpublishing.com, but first see the new collection here!

AH_Aquariums_128Animal Helpers Aquariums
by Jennifer Keats Curtis
Where else could you stay dry while visiting aquatic animals from around the world? Only in an aquarium can you visit and learn about all these different local and exotic animals. Aquarium staff care for and teach about these animals, as well as work to conserve and protect threatened and endangered species. Follow this behind-the-scenes photographic journal as it leads you into the wondrous world of aquariums and the animal helpers who work there.

BeaversBusy_128A Beaver’s Busy Year
By Mary Holland
Along a stream a dam pops out of the water. Beavers are busy at work! These aquatic mammals have unique traits that aid them in building the perfect lodge to raise young beavers and keep predators away. Mary Holland’s vibrant photographs document the beavers’ activities through the course of a year. Do these beavers ever take a break? Follow along as they pop through the winter ice to begin the busy year of eating bark, building dams and gathering food just in time for winter to come again.

CoolSummer_128A Cool Summer Tail
By Carrie A. Pearson, illustrated by Christina Wald
When summer heats up, animals find ways to stay cool. In A Cool Summer Tail animals wonder how humans stay cool too. Do they dig under the dirt, grow special summer hair, or only come out at night? This companion to the popular A Warm Winter Tail features many of same animals but this time, with their summer adaptations, offering an important “compare and contrast” opportunity.

By Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Cathy Morrison
Daisylocks needs a home that is just right. She asks Wind to help her find the perfect habitat to spread her roots, and he accepts the challenge. Wind blows Daisylocks to the plain, the mountain and the wetland. She objects to each place one by one—too cold, too hard, too wet. Daisylocks is not ready to give up! They try the humid rainforest and then the warm beach; those are not just right either. Will Wind find the perfect climate and soil for Daisylocks to place her roots and grow into a beautiful flower?

FirstFire_128First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale
By Nancy Kelly Allen, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Why are ravens black? Why do screech owl eyes look red in light? How did we get fire? You’ll find the answers to those questions in this retelling of a Cherokee pourquoi folktale. The earth was cold and dark but the animals could see fire coming from the tree on the island. They tried to fly or swim to the island to bring back the fire heat and light. What happened to some of the animals? Which animal brought it back and how?

Kali_128Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue
By Jennifer Keats Curtis, illustrated by John Gomes
Follow the rescue of orphaned polar bear Kali (pronounced Cully) from the Inupiat village of Kali (Point Lay in English) to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage to his new home at the Buffalo Zoo in New York with Luna, a female polar bear. This photographic journey beautifully captures the remarkable development of the cub, who initially drinks from a baby bottle, sucks his paw for comfort, and sleeps with a “blankie” as he rapidly grows into the largest land carnivore on earth.

PolarPenguins_128Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book
By Katharine Hall
Polar bears and penguins may like cold weather but they live at opposite ends of the Earth. What do these animals have in common and how are they different? You might see them near each other at a zoo but they would never be found in the same habitats in the wild. Compare and contrast these polar animals through stunning photographs.

SeaSlime_128Sea Slime: It’s Eeuwy, Gooey and Under the Sea
By Ellen Prager, illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Snails and sea slugs use Sea Slime. But, did you know that coral and clownfish need slime too? Marine scientist Ellen Prager takes us deep into the sea to introduce us to fascinating and bizarre animals that use slime to capture their food, protect themselves from harm, or even move from place to place in their underwater environment.

ShapeFamily_128The Shape Family Babies
By Kristin Haas illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Mr. and Mrs. Shape are expecting a baby, but they are surprised when three arrive! The first is just like Mother Rhombus, the other just like Father Rectangle, the third baby is a different shape. What should her name be? Go on a geometry naming adventure as all the shape family relatives weigh in. Will Cousin Triangle, Aunt Hexagon or Grandma Rhombus have the right angle?

Pre-order online today and get ready for fun this February with new activities and online events! www.sylvandellpublishing.com.

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14. It’s a Contest: The Fort on Fourth Street!

FortFourth_187Have you ever built a fort in your living room out of toys and blankets, what about in your backyard with wood and nails? In celebration of the release of The Fort on Fourth Street: A Story of the Six Simple Machines, we are encouraging students to get creative and enter to win a prize pack of books and gift certificates.

Each group should carefully read the contest packet and begin to dream up your very own fort! Check out the book homepage http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=FortFourth and the For Creative Minds pages to gather your plan.

Dream-Fort-PacketDream Fort Packet

Submissions are open! Please either email your submission to HeatherWilliams (at) Sylvandellpublishing.com or mail to

Sylvan Dell Publishing

612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.  Suite A2

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

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15. A Trip to the Zoo with Animal Helpers: Meet Austin Zoo Director Patti Clark

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a zoo? In the newly released Animal Helpers: Zoos, author Jennifer Keats Curtis worked with four zoos to learn more about the duties of a zookeeper and what it takes to care for so many different types of animals. This week we meet Patti Clark of the Austin Zoo and learn what it is like to be the director of the zoo, and why everyday brings a new adventure.

Patti Clark never fails to play the Texas Lottery.

As Director of the private, nonprofit Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary—a volunteer position that occupies her 364 days a year—she hopes to someday use those winnings to construct a new keeper building that would include keeper office space, food prep space, an infirmary, and onsite vet clinic for the animals.

austinzoo1Despite the tremendous number of hours she puts in, Patti never takes a vacation. “There is something magical about this place,” says Clark, who somehow manages to also serve on four other nonprofit boards in her “spare” time, “I’m afraid I’ll miss something exciting and fun!”

What began as a goat ranch nearly three decades ago has become a permanent home to more than 350 animals including big cats; primates; birds; reptiles; amphibians; mammals, such as llama and deer; and one marsupial—a big red kangaroo initially misrepresented as a much smaller wallaby.

With a meager staff of 26 employees, Clark and her crew ably manage to help these hundreds of exotic and animals, 95% of whom were rescued from neglect and abuse, unwanted by owners, or surrendered to Animal Control officers.

The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary, one of four zoos featured in the new Animal Helpers: ZOOS, differs from traditional zoos because the rescued animals are on exhibit to unescorted visitors. Guests have a chance to see these animals, to learn about different species, and to get first-hand education and information about the harm that exotic pet ownership and roadside circuses can cause for these creatures. Patti jumped at the chance to be part of this new book because education is a crucial part of the Zoo’s mission.

Even though there are days when she feels chained to her desk, Patti’s day is never dull.

In January, she says, calls from the 4-H Clubs roll in, as children realize that the animals they have raised are going to be slaughtered.

Last month, they took in a two-foot-long alligator, who arrived in a tiny ferret cage.

This week, she was heavy on tortoise calls. “People buy these tiny cute tortoises in pet stores,” she explains, “That animal grows, and it grows fast until it becomes two feet across or more and no longer fits into that small glass aquarium. Once he gets in the backyard and starts eating all of the vegetation, the owner does not want him anymore. We currently have 15 tortoises here.”

Patti also answers a lot of calls about unwanted birds and snakes, mostly big pythons and boas that apartment dwellers can no longer keep.

Most of the eight tigers and five lions who now reside at the zoo were purchased as babies and hand-raised by folks who thought it seemed like a good idea at the time. One trucker kept his tiger cub in the truck cab with him for company…until the feline became too big and aggressive.


Leroy the Lion (pictured) is one of Patti’s favorites, though he had a similarly troubled past. Leroy served as a “junkyard lion” until he was rescued and brought to his new home in Austin. At first, Leroy, who is maneless because he is neutered, was terribly thin and sick with mange, a skin disease. When he tried to stand, his anklebone shattered. Although scars from the mange still show under his coat, thanks to Austin Zoo vets and staff, Leroy is healed, happy and healthy. His favorite toys? Old tires, which he carries around the yard and guards as if they were prey. He then lunges at, bites and claws the durable rubber. “We get deer donated that have been culled from game management ranches and from a deer processor located close to the Zoo,” explains Patti, “Leroy is quiet while stalking his prey. It is amazing that such a large animal can move soundlessly across the enclosure yard. He does like to join in roaring with our two other male throughout the day.”

Since the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary is currently at capacity for some species, Patti spends a portion of nearly every single day networking with other zoos and rehabilitation facilities to find permanent placement for these unwanted animals.

Despite some of the everyday frustrations that come with managing the staff and animals—and not having limitless funds—Patti clearly loves what she does. “In the Zoo, you won’t get rich with money, but your life will be rich,” she says.


To learn more about the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary, please visit their Facebook page and website, http://www.austinzoo.org/.

If you want to learn more about the book Animal Helpers: Zoos go to the Sylvan Dell book page http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=AH_Zoos

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16. Is there Anybody Home?

Polly ‘Possum is desperately searching for a new place to call home before her babies come! As Polly explores different real estate options, author Marianne Berkes and illustrator Rebecca Dickinson creatively sneak in a little lesson on diurnal and nocturnal animals as well as various types of forest-living animal dwellings. Berkes keeps readers continually anxious as Polly repeatedly finds something wrong with each home she comes across. Will she ever find a place in time?

You too can take part in the search with this Anybody Home? inspired scavenger hunt! Simply print out this flyer, grab a pen, and head outside to check off each item on the list. Be ready for some obstacles just like Polly had during her search. Play by yourself or take on the challenge with a group of friends, but don’t wander too far from home! The list includes items such as a bird’s nest, a beaver’s dam and a squirrel. Also, try to think of additional items to find not on the list. Once everything that you found has been accounted for, show off your scavenging skills to your parents and teachers!


To read more about Polly Possum check out the book page here: http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=AnybodyHome

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17. Monarch Madness: Facts about an Incredible Insect

ButterflyHope_187Officially launched to yesterday, A Butterfly Called Hope by Mary Alice Monroe with butterfly expert Linda Love and photography by Barbara Bergwerf is sure to inspire young entomologists out there.

Kick off the school year with this fun book about a young girl and her experience with the amazing journey of a Monarch Butterfly! This book not only shows the entire metamorphosis of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, but it also provides interesting facts for readers to learn more about these flying beauties. This is the fourteenth book by New York Times best-selling author Mary Alice Monroe, and features incredible photographs by Barbara Bergwerf that document Hope’s entire journey in raising a butterfly.


Curious for more? Here are some fun and interesting facts about Monarch Butterflies:

-Did you know that Monarchs go through four generations each year?

-Did you know that Monarchs are the only insects that can migrate up to 2,500 miles?

-Did you know that Monarchs are actually poisonous as a defense against predators, but are harmless to humans?

-Did you know that male Monarchs have black spots on their wings, and the females don’t?

-Did you know that Monarchs migrate during the winter to warmer climates like Mexico and Southern California?

-Did you know that the first 3 generations of Monarchs only live up to 8 weeks, but the fourth generation can live up to almost a year?

-Did you know that climate change is a threat to Monarchs? Wetter climates during the winter can cause Monarchs to freeze to death because they can only survive in dry winter climates.

Do you want to learn more fun facts about butterflies visit the webpage and download the free For Creative Minds section and Teaching Activities where you can even learn how to raise your own monarch butterfly! http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=ButterflyHope

Send us your favorite butterfly fact and you will be entered to win a copy of A Butterfly Called Hope!

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18. Study up! There will be a Quiz

Fall brings the change in weather, shorter days and the start of school. With this change in season upon us a new flock of books comes to Sylvan Dell. This fall is especially exciting not only because we debut seven new titles, but also we dove into new subjects that are sure to capture children’s interest in a whole new career. Follow us all week next week for the online launch. Learn more about each book the authors and illustrators as well as exclusive extras and giveaways. Pay attention to the details we will have prize winning quiz questions!

For now we have a synopsis of each book and to move to the head of the class you can even enter to win our launch giveaway on Goodreads!

Animal Helpers: Zoos by Jennifer Keats Curtis
Zoos are amazing places to see and learn about the many native and exotic of animals that inhabit this world. Some animals are plentiful while others are threatened or in danger of extinction. Zookeepers not only feed and care for these animals, they may also be helping to conserve and protect whole species through breeding and “head start” programs. Follow the extraordinary duties of these unusual animal helpers in this behind-the-scenes photographic journal.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Animal Helpers by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Animal Helpers

by Jennifer Keats Curtis

Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Anybody Home? by Marianne Berkes illustrated by Rebecca Dickinson
Polly ‘Possum is looking for a new home to raise her expected babies. Along the way, she meets a wide variety of diurnal and nocturnal animals. She learns how they build and live in webs, nests, hives, shells, burrows, lodges, dens, caves, dreys, and even hollows. While those homes are perfect for those animals, they aren’t right for her. How does Polly find a home and will she find it in time?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Anybody Home? by Marianne Collins Berkes

Anybody Home?

by Marianne Collins Berkes

Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

A Butterfly Called Hope by Mary Alice Monroe with Linda Love photography by Barbara Bergwerf The colorful flowers in Mama’s garden reveal a strange-looking creature. “What is it? Does it sting, does it bite?” Join in this photographic journey as the young girl and her mother care for the caterpillar. Watch as it transforms into a chrysalis and then emerges as a beautiful monarch butterfly. How can the young girl “claim” the butterfly as her own but still let it go free?  


Goodreads Book Giveaway


A Butterfly Called Hope by Mary Alice Monroe


A Butterfly Called Hope


by Mary Alice Monroe


Giveaway ends September 10, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.



Enter to win



A Day in the Deep by Kevin Kurtz illustrated by Erin E. Hunter
Travel deep into the ocean way below the surface and you’ll encounter some creatures you never knew existed! This book takes you on a journey through the dark depths of the sea towards the ocean floor. Most ecosystems need sunlight, but deep in the ocean where the sun doesn’t shine animals have adapted some very interesting ways to see, protect themselves, and eat. Discover the unique habitats, adaptations, and food chains of these deep -sea creatures.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Day in the Deep by Kevin Kurtz

A Day in the Deep

by Kevin Kurtz

Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Dino Tracks by Rhonda Lucas Donald illustrated by Cathy Morrison Step back in time and follow dinosaur tracks around the world. Whether made by a few dinosaurs or large groups, these tracks provide clues to the movement and behavior of these lovable ancient creatures. What dinosaurs made the tracks and what do scientists think they were doing when they made them? The author tells the story in rhythmic rhyme that may be sung to the tune of Over the River and Through the Woods.


Goodreads Book Giveaway


Dino Tracks by Rhonda Lucas Donald


Dino Tracks


by Rhonda Lucas Donald


Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.



Enter to win



The Fort on Fourth Street by Lois Spangler illustrated by Christina Wald
When a young child decides to build a fort in the backyard, Grandpa comes forward to help. But they can’t do it alone—they get help from the six simple machines: lever, pulley, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw, and wedge. Told in cumulative rhyme, similar to The House That Jack Built, this story follows grandfather and grandchild as they build a fort together from start to finish.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Fort on Fourth Street by Lois Spangler

The Fort on Fourth Street

by Lois Spangler

Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The Perfect Pet by Samantha Bell After begging for a pet, a child’s mother finally says “yes.” But which animal will be the best pet? Using animal classification and habitat needs, the child narrows it down from Kingdom Animalia, through invertebrates to vertebrates. Reptiles and amphibians are out, and birds and fish are soon off the list. That leaves mammals, but which one? An elephant won’t fit through the door, and a tiger would be too hard to walk. What’s a child to do?


Goodreads Book Giveaway


The Perfect Pet by Samantha Bell


The Perfect Pet


by Samantha Bell


Giveaway ends September 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.



Enter to win


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19. Books to get ready for Back-to-School

Back-to-school is here! Summer is coming to a close and classrooms are prepping to welcome new students to take the long journey through the next grade. The first day of school can be scary for many children, especially as they enter a new school, or are beginning school for the first time. So, in honor of the first day of school we have compiled a list of Sylvan Dell books that are great reads to prepare for that first day.

Giraffe_187The Giraffe Who Was Afraid of Heights – Imagine if the one thing that keeps you safe is what you fear the most. This enchanting story tells of a giraffe who suffers from the fear of heights. His parents worry about his safety and send him to the village doctor for treatment. Along the way he befriends a monkey who is afraid of climbing trees and a hippo that is afraid of water. A life-threatening event causes the three friends to face and overcome each of their fears.

HomeCaveHome in the Cave – Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals—animals that don’t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for their food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

Henry Impatient Heron_COVER 2Henry the Impatient Heron – Henry the Heron couldn’t stand still! He was always moving, and it drove everyone crazy! His brother and sister yelled at him for stepping on their heads, and Mom and Dad could barely get food into his little baby mouth. But herons have to stand still to catch their food, so how would Henry ever be able to eat on his own? In Henry, the Impatient Heron, Donna Love takes readers along with Henry as he learns a valuable lesson from the King of Camouflage! Hilarious and lighthearted illustrations by Christina Wald complement the important lesson in the text. It is a meaningful lesson for both herons and kids alike, which teaches the importance of just being still!

Moon_187How the Moon Regained Her Shape – This fascinating story influenced by Native American folktales explains why the moon changes shape and helps children deal with bullies. After the sun insults and bullies her, the moon feels so badly hurt that she shrinks and leaves the sky. The moon turns to a comet and her many friends on earth to comfort her. Her friends include rabbits and Native Americans. Then she regains her full shape, happiness, and self-esteem. The moon also returns to her orbit.

And for the younger siblings just beginning counting and ABC’s

SafariCOVER [Converted]ABC Safari - Let’s search for adventure above in the sky. We’ll scout through the mountains and hills, and then try exploring the forests, the meadows and plains, across the dry desert and through jungle rains. We’ll trek through a swamp, a puddle, a pond, in lakes and the river, the ocean beyond. But, what are we looking for? Who will we see? Find animals on this Safari with me! Once you’ve discovered all the animals, turn to the “For Creative Minds” educational section for sorting cards and animal fun facts.

Count Down to Fall_COVER_3Count Down to Fall - The summer days get a little colder; the leaves turn from green to orange and red. Fall must be on the way, and while you unpack sweaters and scarves, the animals frolic outside in the crisp autumn air beneath a wide blue sky. In Fran Hawk’s Count Down to Fall, watch the falling leaves tumble all around. The vibrant and detailed illustrations of Sherry Neidigh capture the majesty of the maple, the oak, the linden, and more. Critters play in the time of changing seasons, and remind us that the changes of the earth affect us all-animals and humans alike!

We hope that you have a wonderful first day of school!

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20. Publisher Turned Bookstore for One Weekend


As you may have read last week Sylvan Dell set up a small store in the local mall and put on a back-to-school sale. We now have a new appreciation for those booksellers that we work with every day.

As we packed up titles, prepped our décor, and hung the signs the anticipation grew to meet our customers. Since it was South Carolina’s tax free weekend the mall was busy with families bustling about buying paper and pens for school. Parents were happy to bring kids in to play with the stuffed animals and pick out a book about their favorite animal.

Finding that favorite animal was sometimes difficult and many children gave us a challenge. One little boy marched right into the store and said he needed a frog book. We had one, but he wanted more – as we made our way through the store he rejected every book and with the suggestion of a book about turtles he was done shopping – no turtles were aloud in his library.

Parents were excited to find the educational aspect to the books and grandparents picked gifts for their grandchildren going back to school. With each family that came into the store however, it was clear who was in charge and the 4, 5 and 6-year-olds made the decisions. As we develop eBooks and the digital world expands, it was great to see excited little faces as they walked away with a new book.

This week we sit in our offices planning for a new season of books and we are wiser for meeting the little shoppers of Charleston. It was a rewarding experience for all in the Sylvan Dell office and thank you to all the families, teachers and parents that stopped by to say hello!



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21. Pop-up Shop for Tax Free Weekend



This week has had all of us at Sylvan Dell Publishing working on a special project for this weekend only, We have made tie-dyed shirts, packed up hundreds of books, and created some colorful posters and decorations for the occasion. What can we be preparing for? Well…

For tax free weekend, Sylvan Dell Publishing will be opening a “pop-up” shop in Citadel Mall in Charleston, SC. We will be selling all of our titles at great discount prices! Please stop by during regular mall hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to check out our books, and did we mention we are giving away free posters! This is an event you won’t want to miss. We even have something special just for kids. So remember, Sylvan Dell Publishing store in Citadel Mall this weekend only, all books additionally discounted and tax free! Hope to see you there!

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22. Baby Watch

On Monday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the arrival of their bouncing baby boy, His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge! The world has already fallen love with this little prince who is not even a week old.

At Sylvan Dell Publishing, we are always delighted by baby news. Except, the newborns we usually hear about live in a zoo, not the royal palace. Every morning and once again around lunch time, we take a break from our hard work to check our email for a special announcement. Right on schedule, we have an email waiting for us from ZooBorns letting us know about the newest additions to zoos and aquariums around the world. ZooBorns serve as conservation animal ambassadors hoping to educate their followers about the importance of taking care of animals in the wild and the ways in which zoos and aquariums are aiding the cause.


In the months of June and July, we have seen the arrivals of a baby Asian elephant, eight meerkat pups, a pair of red pandas, a litter of Malayan tiger cubs, cheetah triplets, and a baby tapir ( the most recent announcement). Our love for animals extends from the pages of our books to the small moments of our day. If you want to join the “baby watch”, of animals that is, visit ZooBorns.com and sign up for email updates.


Finally, we want to congratulate all the new moms this summer! And look for our own exciting announcement of Sylvan Dell newbies coming this September.

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23. Care Farm Wins Marth Young Award

We wanted to pass along some wonderful news to all of you this afternoon. A care farm, Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm, featured in Jennifer Keats Curtis’s Animal Helpers: Sanctuaries has been awarded the 2013 Martha Young Award! The award is presented by the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation (CCUIF) with the mission of assisting youth education and development, strengthening families, and adding to the quality of life for the people of Southwest Oregon. In addition, the sanctuary was chosen to receive a $2,000 grant towards improving access for visitors with disabilities. We would like to give our full-hearted congratulations to  such a worthy recipient. If you would like to learn more about the Martha Young Award and CCUIF as well as  other exciting news from Sanctuary One, you can check out the following article or visit the News and Events page on their website at http://www.sanctuaryone.org/news.html.

Sanctuary One July Newsletter

Animal Helpers: Sanctuaries also includes wonderful photographs and stories of animals whose lives  have been saved thanks to Sanctuary One. Look for Jennifer’s third book in the Animal Helper Series, Animal Helpers: Zoos,  to be released early September 2013.

Jennifer CurtisAH-Sanctuaries_187

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24. Celebrate Moon Day

In July of 1969, human history changed forever when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon’s surface.  In honor of the upcoming anniversary of the moon landing, we’ve compiled a list of space-related museum exhibits. From space shuttles to simulated treks across Mars, these exhibits all immerse visitors in the story of the space race and educate them about what’s beyond this world.

Space Shuttle Enterprise
Located in New York City, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum’s newest exhibit, which just opened on July 10, is the Space Shuttle Pavilion which now holds the Enterprise. The Enterprise was NASA’s original orbiter. It conducted tests within Earth’s atmosphere in the late 1970’s and was crucial in the success of America’s shuttle program. NASA retired the shuttle in 1985, and the Enterprise is now being showcased on the Intrepid in Manhattan. Visitors are greeted with 35-year-old audio recordings of astronauts exchanging radio calls with flight controllers.  The exhibit includes stories about the orbiters and the people involved with them, the early designs of the shuttles, technological innovations, and much more. 


Destination Station
At the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA, visitors can immerse themselves in the story of the International Space Station. From the international cooperation that makes the constant scientific research at the station possible, to the audio and visual technology that connects visitors to space, this exhibit will enthrall anyone who has ever wanted to go to space. The exhibit is open until Sept. 2.

For those of you in the Columbus, OH area, the COSI has a fantastic exhibit all about outer space. Visitors can explore the surface of Mars, ride in a space capsule, compare the effects of gravity from planet to planet, and watch live NASA TV. This exhibit gives visitors all kinds of information on rocket technology, the attempt to find life in the universe, and more.


Space Shuttle Endeavour
At the California Science Center in Los Angeles, CA, visitors can hear the space shuttle Endeavour’s story before actually viewing the Endeavour itself at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Endeavour: The California Story tells the story of how the Endeavour and other shuttles were produced in California and showcases the artifacts that helped make them functional. Then at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, visitors will get up close and personal to the shuttle and learn about its missions and the people involved with them. Entrance requires a separate ticket with a $2 service fee, and the museum strongly suggests purchasing that ticket in advance.

The Air and Space Museum
The Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. is dedicated to flight both within and beyond the earth’s atmosphere and is a treat for anyone who is passionate about air and space. Exhibits include everything from the Mercury Capsule 15B, Freedom 7 II, to the Manned Maneuvering Unit, to the space shuttle Discovery and much more. Anyone in the D.C. area who likes flight cannot miss this museum. 

If you are not near one of these museums celebrate with us and read Meet the Planets or Solar System Forecast!

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25. Science Never Stops: Unique Museum Exhibits to cool off on a Hot Summer Day

It may be summer, but learning doesn’t have to go on hiatus. There are all sorts of fun and educational opportunities for kids on vacation or even in their own hometowns. Here is a list of museum exhibits, most of them only temporary, that could grab your child’s attention and teach them more about the world.

Melting Glaciers
It seems like everywhere these days we’re hearing about melting ice caps and global warming. A new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York aims to teach page 13visitors about climate change by showing physical melting glaciers. The glacier chunks have been frozen for about 800 years and broke off from an actively melting glacier in Europe. This exhibit will be open at MoMA PS1 in Queens until Sept. 2.

Build Your Own ‘Bot
Have you ever watched R2D2 roll around and beep in the Star Wars movies and wished you could build your own droid? The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA has a new exhibit in which kids can create their very own robot. Visitors design, build, and program original robots using the technologies at the exhibit.

America is hooked on cop shows, and at some point, every kid has wanted to be a cop or detective. Now you can at Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Texas. Their new exhibit CSI: The Experience allows visitors to solve crimes just like the characters on CSI, doing everything from collecting evidence to conducting autopsies. The exhibit is open through Sept. 2.

What About Whales?
The Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine in Portland has an entire exhibit dedicated to a sea creature that will capture the hearts of any child who visits. What About Whales? is an interactive exhibit which educates children about whales by letting them climb in and out of an inflatable life-size humpback whale. Other activities include a whale-watching boat, a Feed a Whale ballgame, and much more.

Treasure Hunting
The Discovery Center Museum in Rockford, IL has an exhibit for any kid who has ever wanted to hunt for treasure, whether as a pirate from the 1600s or a modern-day treasure hunter. The Treasure! exhibit allows visitors to try treasure hunting tools, view artifacts from treasure sites, and learn about the history of and people involved in treasure hunting.

Rain Room
umbrellaFor those of you in the New York area, be sure to check out the Museum of Modern Art’s “Rain Room.” Located in the lot directly adjacent to MoMA, the Rain Room uses digital technology to make it rain except wherever it detects human presence. Visitors can stand in one spot and remain dry while they watch the rain fall all around them. The Rain Room is on exhibit until Jul. 28.

Whether you check out these exhibits or a museum closer to home there is so much to be explored!

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