#GiveSomethingAwayDay Winners…

Kim Pfennigwerth and I are thrilled to announce the two winners of BIPOC books from our fifth annual give-away to celebrate GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY on July 15.

Barbara Messinger wins copies of:

  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goode

woke cover

  • WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call To Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, with a contribution by Jason Reynolds.


We Are Water Protectors

Lynn Baldwin wins a copy of:

  • I AM ENOUGH by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo.

I Am Enough  Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to all who entred and shared their favorite BIPOC books with us.


Making Sense of Change In Complicated Times by Marilyn Ostermiller

In a flash, everything changed. Our cars became doctors’ examining rooms and graduation processions. Virtual became the norm for every interaction from business conferences to birthday parties, after the Covid-19 virus invaded the planet.

            Hidden away from family, colleagues and friends, we’ve been forced to rethink how we interact with our world. Count on the five senses to handle the heavy lifting. Each sense signals the brain to help us perceive and understand the world around us.

            For those who see this as an opportunity to rethink the basics, here are some simple pleasures that involve each of the senses.

Taste: Savor the sweet life. Select at least three varieties of fresh fruit at the farmer’s market. Clean and prep. Dish up at least a cup of plain Greek yogurt, stir in honey to taste. Layer the fruit with the sweetened yogurt in a glass dish and feast on fruit compote. 


Hearing: Listen up. If it’s music that soothes, turn up the volume on your favorite play list. If nature calls, take a walk in the woods, alongside a rustling brook. (Here’s an audio of a stream)


Sight: Get comfy in a cozy nook and reread a favorite book or dig into your “to read” pile. After you’ve read the last page, loan it to a friend, write an online review, spread the word.

Touch: Reach out and touch someone whom you don’t need to be socially distant from. If you’re a solitary person, find a pet to play with. Stroke the velvety blooms of roses, peonies or lilies.

touching bird

Smell: Consider aroma therapy, the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils in massage or baths. Splash a couple of drops of lavender oil in your bath. Apply a drop of vanilla extract on a finger and touch it to a cool light bulb. When the light is lit, the fragrance emerges.


Among the many available resources for ideas and explanations of how to tap into the five senses, these are a few that are available online:

The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils, by Andrea Butje. From cardamom to yuzu, this book explores each oil’s aroma, uses and safety tips.

A Natural History of the Senses, by Diane Ackerman, explores the five senses and how we have historically and culturally used them.

A Natural History of the Senses

The Five Senses, by Tinaz Denizmen, is an interactive poem to teach children about each of their five senses, suitable for two to six year olds.

Marilyn Ostermiller

Marilyn Ostermiller is a professional journalist, who enjoys writing about food and children’s literature.

Caring For Baby Birds All Summer Long.

It’s summer!
If you’ve maintained a wild bird backyard habitat throughout winter, you can continue through summer with added benefits. Providing food, water and shelter encourages birds to build a home and raise young when resources are plentiful. Fill a suet feeder with nesting supplies such as yarn threads, strands of hair, and broom bristles. Keep a part of your yard “natural” with a pile of leaves and pine needles, to offer a variety of supplies for birds to choose from. Keep your eyes out the window and take note to which birds make use of your materials.

bird in tree

Many birds will make their nest in close proximity to humans. Robins and mourning doves are known for making nests in shrubs, trees or on wooden ledges under decks. Swallows will build a nest from mud and attach it to the side of the house. Wrens love small bird houses and especially those that can safely swing in the breeze. Be on the lookout for neighborhood cats who like to lunch on unsuspecting baby birds. Snakes can also end the enjoyment of raising baby birds in your yard. I don’t recommend killing snakes as they also provide an important service in the ecosystem, but it’s never a good day, when a snake is found inside a nest box full of black-capped chickadees.     bird 1

In addition to prey, another hazard for baby birds is falling from the nest. If a baby bird found is very small and most likely dead, it has been pushed out by more aggressive siblings or from nest over load. If you find a baby bird that has feathers and can hop but cannot fly, it is most likely a fledgling, just learning to fly. Contrary to popular belief it is OK to pick up and replace the baby to its nest. Or, if it looks like the parents are attentive, leave it alone. If you cannot find the nest, place the bird in a tissue lined box in the same location in which it was found. Watch to see if the parents return to feed. Many do. If after a few hours you can’t be sure the parents are around, your best option is to take the baby to a local wildlife center. The people there will nurture the baby until it can survive on its own and usually return the bird to its original locale.           bird 2

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is in southern New Jersey and takes in wildlife of all varieties.
6 Sawmill Rd, Medford, NJ 08055
(856) 983-3329

Another note of caution, be careful of tree cutting in the spring and summer. Many nests have been dislocated when unsuspecting tree cutters take down a bird’s summer home.

bird nest

Taking care of our feathered friends can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for young and old alike. Why not invite some birds into your backyard this summer?

Shiela Fuller has been a Cornell University Project Feeder Watch participant for many years and an avid birder since 1988. Currently, she enjoys writing picture books, yoga, chicken raising, wildlife photography, and is the legacy keeper for her family.


GIVE SOMETHING AWAY DAY – JULY 15, 2020 by Kim Pfennigwerth

July 15th will be here in a blink and so I am posting, once again, on Darlene’s blog to celebrate our annual Give Something Away Day!

This is a day to share things that will lighten our load and perhaps brighten someone else’s day. With everything our country is experiencing because of the pandemic, this is a great time to give something away. What can you give away? How about a phone call, food for someone in quarantine, or books you love.

Along with staying safe in the pandemic, we have also been listening to the important discussion that is raising our collective social conscience with Black Lives Matter.

So, for our giveaway this year, Darlene and I have decided to give away books that support and highlight the talented BIPOC authors and/or illustrators in children’s literature.

I will be giving away two books:

We Are Water Protectors                          woke cover

  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goode  – and
  • WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call To Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, with a contribution by Jason Reynolds.

Darlene will give away:

I Am Enough

  • I AM ENOUGH by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo.

To be eligible to win one of the two giveaways, please tell us the titles of books you love that are written and/or illustrated by BIPOC. And remember to share your suggestions on all your social media outlets. Two winners will be chosen at random from those who enter and announced on this blog at a later date.

Finally, I sincerely hope you stay healthy and safe and in the spirit of Give Something Away Day —find something to give away yourself.

Below is a short list of charities that can always use our support:

Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/

The Innocence Project: https://www.innocenceproject.org/

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

The National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/

The Loveland Foundation: https://thelovelandfoundation.org/

The Navaho Water Project: https://www.navajowaterproject.org/

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum: https://www.napawf.org/

Embrace Race: https://www.embracerace.org/

KimNov2016Kim Pfennigwerth enjoys time with her dogs on the beach or going for a paddle in her kayak. She is a lover of books, animals, children, and kindness in no particular order. She is often spotted participating in online workshops or in a bookstore or library reading piles of picture books while writing and revising her own manuscripts. 





Two Winners For Copies of Nancy Churnin’s New PB’S.

Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Last month I featured the two most recent PB released by author NANCY CHURNIN. Today I am thrilled to announce the winners of signed copies of those books.


thumbnail C

Jane Healy is the winner of a copy of FOR SPACIOUS SKIES.

thumbnail 5Congratulations! to Danielle and Jane and thanks to all who commented. Please send me your address so I can let Nancy know where to send the books.

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