The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books
author • speaker • teacher • volunteer

Dinosaurs + poo = science to captivate kids

In a world where picture book nonfiction began to explode after years and years of chugging along sort of under most writers’ radar, I had the fun experience of realizing that I–yes, that grown-up little kid who never saw a door into the science room–could become a science advocate. Yep: #scienceisaverb wrote one educator about

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Dinosaur science and what we still don’t know

I have written nonfiction books about animals before. When I was a kid in Ethiopia, I spent lots of time outside observing how things fit together–even though my science education was woefully lacking.(See if you can spot the chicken.) My fascination with animals goes way back. I’ve also spent a lot of time discussing dinosaurs

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Saving one animal at a time

  It’s a little bit dangerous to read about other Earth times. You can’t ignore the fact that so many other beings have enjoyed this planet for a while, only to disappear. Stegosaurus–named and described for the first time by O.C. Marsh–went extinct 66 million years before Tyrannosaurus started stomping around. Whoa! What do humans

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How to change the world one butterfly at a time

I never would have gotten the idea to try to create Ready Set Go Books if educators like Carol Settgast hadn’t volunteered their time to go to Ethiopia. She created one of the first books with her students, too. It’s now available in six different languages:  Carol knows about changing the world through books.

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Sketch by O.C. Marsh of one of his dinosaur finds

curiosity + dinosaurs + poo = new books

Do you know the thrill of following your curiosity no matter where it leads? Imagine being O.C. Marsh before he became one of the first people to study American dinosaurs. He hadn’t yet seen the first stegosaurus or apatosaurus. He was poking around in the ground…and uncovering birds with teeth. He also found a bone

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Dinosaurs are teaching me how much I don’t know about science

This is some of my reading material from this week. It’s not really like I needed DINOSAURS to teach me how much I don’t know or don’t understand about science. But they’re a good vehicle to ride in. I’ve been interested in dinosaurs since I visited Dinosaur National Park as a seven-year-old (thank you Earl

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Books full of Butterflies for Nature Kids

When I was doing research for my Lanie books for American Girl, I fell hard for monarch butterflies. Wings like little stained glass panels! Now possibly disappearing from the Earth! Of course Lanie had to do a citizen science project and get involved with helping save them. Lots of other authors have clearly felt the

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Mary Anning

The earliest dinosaur explorations + fossilized poo

Once there was a kid named Jane (only her family called her Janie) who visited Dinosaur National Monument. Once there was another kid named Karen who fell in love with nature in places like Yosemite National Park and who became a park ranger and eventually a paleontologist who studies dinosaur poo. The Jane (me) never

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Abay: Mighty Nile River

Mention the mighty Nile river, and most people think of pyramids and mummies. Many of us learned as kids that the Nile made ancient Egypt’s soil rich and fertile. Most of us didn’t learn that the rich dirt was swept to Egypt from the highlands of Ethiopia. Anyone who has ever visited thundering Tis

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Saving Birds Bees Butterflies One Yard at a Time

Who visits your yard? Earth Day is every day for those of us who love citizen science and keep looking for what we can do to save birds and bees and butterflies and worms and other little beings that share our world.Here are 6 + 1 things I’ve been doing with my own yard that

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