…a writer

Author: Barbara Kerley
Illustrator: Edwin Fotheringham

When I grow up, I want to be a writer.

When I came across this book I could hardly wait to begin reading. After all, I’ve been quoting “my friend Mr. Emerson” for years. “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

As I read of this tender and joyful man, who before becoming a great writer, simply longed for the broad open fields and deep, still woods of the country, I could more understand his saying, “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”  He and his wife bought a farmhouse on the edge of a sunny meadow, in which his library was filled with books and journals.  He treasured books, ideas, and people.  It was that overwhelming thought that made me fall in love with this book. Mr. Emerson opened his home not only to friends and neighbors, but filled his parlor with noblemen, poor students, famous writers and poets. He threw garden parties for the town’s schoolchildren.  “Happy is the house that shelters a friend.”  As his home filled with people, his journals filled with thoughts, each one a “Savings Bank” for his ideas to share with others.

The similarities of how graciously the Emerson’s loved opening their lovely home, sharing ideas, caring so deeply for others reminded me of my dearest and best friend, Deni. Her love for books, ideas, and people is one exceeded by no other.  Her home, like the Emerson’s, is known as one open to all, and usually where the “town’s garden party for schoolchildren” will be held!  And also, like Emerson, she is a journal writer, always writing ideas and thoughts down to share with others.

Ralph Waldo Emerson gave us the saying, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  Emerson’s passion for writing will soon have you grabbing a pen and journal.  You may even be inspired to plan a garden party!

May we all go through life and “Scatter joy!”

Mary Byrne Kline

Teaching Ideas and Invitations


…a basketball player.

Authors:  Deloris and Roslyn Jordan
Illustrator:  Kadir Nelson

When I grow up, I want to be a basketball player.

This is the perfect book to purchase for a young child who longs to play basketball but feels inadequate in some way.   I’ve already purchased three…   Read the review below and view the video to fully experience Salt in His Shoes.

Depending on the age of the child to whom you are reading this special book, the first question you will be asked when you turn the last page will be:  “But WHY did she put salt in his shoes????”

The answer comes from his mother, author Deloris Jordan: “Mom, I really REALLY want to be tall” Micheal would beg.  “Go put salt in your shoes and pray,” she would tell him.  “He would tell me I was being silly, but I had to pacify him so I could finish dinner,” she said with a laugh.  “Then his dad would walk in and he’d tell him he wanted to be tall.  We’d say, ‘You have it in your heart.  The tallness is within you.  You can be as tall as you want to be in your thinking.’ 

Publishers Weekly Review

The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion — patience, determination, and hard work.

Deloris Jordan, mother of the basketball phenomenon, teams up with his sister Roslyn to tell this heartwarming and inspirational story that only the members of the Jordan family could tell. It’s a tale about faith and hope and how any family working together can help a child make his or her dreams come true.

YouTube video  Tyler.Shawn Dunaway

Snowflakes Fall

In Snowflakes Fall, Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan and award-winning artist Steven Kellogg portray life’s natural cycle: its beauty, its joy, and its sorrow. Together, the words and pictures offer the promise of renewal that can be found in our lives—snowflakes fall, and return again as raindrops so that flowers can grow.

MacLachlan and Kellogg, who are longtime friends, were moved to collaborate on a message of hope for children and their families following the tragic events in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Kellogg lived in Sandy Hook for thirty-five years—he raised his family there and was an active member of the community. With Snowflakes Fall, they have created a truly inspiring picture book that is both a celebration of life and a tribute to the qualities that make each individual unique.

In honor of the community of Sandy Hook and Newtown, Random House, the publisher of Snowflakes Fall, has made a donation to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Random House is also donating 25,000 new books to the national literacy organization First Book in the community’s honor and in support of children everywhere.

Read the full interview with MacLachlanand Kellogg HERE.

Snowflake Bentley

Author – Jacquelyn Briggs Martin     Illustrator – Mary Azarian

From the time he was a small boy, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley’s enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist’s vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. “Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied.” — Wilson Bentley.

Meet the Illustrator

Illustrator Mary Azarian was born on December 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C. She grew up on a small farm in northern Virginia. She started making woodcuts when she was a young girl, and then studied the printing process when she went to college.
After she married, Mrs. Azarian lived with her husband on a small farm in Vermont. They gardened, made maple syrup, and raised cows, chickens, sheep, horses, and oxen. In the 1960s she was a teacher for grades 1 through 8 in a one-room schoolhouse.
Mary Azarian frequently creates her artwork for books by using woodcut prints. This is a very time-consuming process. First, she draws each picture on a block of wood. She cuts away the parts of the picture that will be white. She then rolls ink over the design. She puts the inked block on the bottom of her nineteenth-century handpress. Next, she places paper on top of the block and rolls a heavy cylinder over the paper to print it. Finally, she hand-colors the picture with watercolors. Her woodcut prints have the look of rural folk art.
  • Fabulous Pinterest ideas to use with Snowflake Bentley including a virtual tour of the museum!
  • Below is a must-see short documentary about Snowflake Bentley – Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931), the first man to ever photograph a snowflake.