JOURNEY OF A PIONEER  is a story about a young girl named Olivia B. Clark (yes, another family name) who travels along the Oregon Trail and shares her story with us in her diary.   To write this narrative non-fiction title, I read hundreds (and hundreds) of pages of actual diaries, including one of a young girl, and interviewed a number of Oregon Trail and pioneer experts. I also took really long car rides and wondered what it would be like leave behind my family, friends, and the only home I've ever known to head West for a new life.   I feel honored and privileged to be able to share a snapshot look at life along the Oregon Trail and am grateful to the women and men who were so brave to follow their dreams, and to blaze their own trails West!   PS If the illustrations look like my niece, Olivia, it's no accident. They were indeed inspired by her! Because she was the age of the main character at the time, my editor asked if I could supply photos of her for inspiration for the illustrator. Of course, I said "yes" (after asking Olivia and her mother, my sister, etc.), and the rest is Olivia illustrated in a book!      
     BUGS AND US  is a love letter to bugs! I began my research for this book by reading EVERYTHING I could get my hands on about insects, interviewing the top entomologists in the world, and observing insects in my backyard, nature centers, and butterfly gardens. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with these creatures.   Soon after, I finished my research, I enjoyed writing it in a way that I hoped (and still hope) will encourage my readers to fall in love with bugs, too--and want to learn even more!   To celebrate the launch of the book and my undying BUG LOVE, I developed a number of programs surrounding bugs for libraries, museums, and gardens. These included: "You've Got to LUV BUGS!", "Eat, Prey, Larvae", and "BIZ, BAM, BUGS!" and "VOTE FOR BUGS!"       
 TELLING TIME  Telling the story of time was a time-consuming project! Like I do with all of my books, I do extensive research including (1) Reading everything I can get my hands on about the topic (the most accurate and up-to-date information), (2) Interviewing the top experts in the field, (3) Experiencing the topic first hand, and using my imagination. With TELLING TIME, I did all of this and went back in time to discover how time has been told, marked, and celebrated through the centuries.   If you have time, check out the spreads below to see just how I took my readers along with a timeline that crawls along the bottom of each page. Soon, you will see that time REALLY flies--when you're having fun!   FROM THE PUBLISHER:  Telling Time is an engrossing history of timekeeping, from obelisks and sundials to the atomic clocks of today. Part of a multistage reading program with five graduated levels. Stunning photographs and engaging, age-appropriate stories.    
    I got a kick out of interviewing coaches, observing LIVE soccer games, and reading EVERYTHING I could get my hands on about this fun and fast-moving game to become a soccer expert!  Writing this reader was an amazing experience, too. I was able to craft a narrative non-fiction story to include the facts that I learned about the game, teach readers about soccer--and hopefully, encourage some to try and play the game.   The characters in the book are named after family members (Erik and Beth) and friends of mine. 
Illinois Reads!
Dolly Parton Imagination Library
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