Shiela Fuller:Celebrating America’s National Bird, The Bald Eagle.

This wonderful post is brought to you by my friend, naturalist, wildlife photographer, and soon-to-be children’s book author SHIELA FULLER.

Since Roman times, the bald eagle has been a “symbol of governmental power”. In 1872 the government of the United States chose the bald eagle as the national symbol for the country, signifying freedom and patriotism.  img_4165 (2)

A figure of a bald eagle can be found on U.S. coins, paper bills, stamps, flags, official government documents and passports, and other items illustrating its importance to our country’s history.  Even with the notable attention given to the bald eagle, it wasn’t that long ago that it was near extinction.  Sport hunting and pesticide use were contributing factors to the decrease in numbers of these majestic birds.  The Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940) is a Federal statute that gave legal protection to the bald eagle. In 1972, regulations curtailing pesticides that were found to be a detriment to the eagle’s future (and ours, too) were enacted.  Since that time, the eagle population has grown.  In 1995, the eagle was declared not endangered but a threatened species and in 2007, the bird was removed from the threatened list, as well.

The bald eagle is not bald but has a feathered white head and tail feathers that are not obvious until after the eagle’s fifth year of life. The bald eagle’s legs are featherless. Bald eagles are found all across North America. They have an incredible wingspan of up to eight feet and can fly 45 miles per hour. front yard dec 2017

A female bald eagle with an immature one missing the signature white head feathers.

Eagles eat mammals like raccoons and squirrels, reptiles like snakes and turtles, and water birds. They will scavenge carcasses and even steal prey from other predators.

If you would like to learn more about our national bird and perhaps see an eagle in the wild, attend the annual Eagle Fest on February 2, 2019.   Located in Mauricetown, NJ the festival is a family fun event featuring vendors, live exhibits, and speakers. After you’ve taken that all in, venture in your car for a short ride to selected eagle nesting areas where volunteers with bird scopes are waiting to show you what you came to see.

2019 Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival
Saturday, February 2, 2019
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Mauricetown Firehall
9544 Noble Street, Mauricetown, NJ
$10.00 Adults
$5.00 Children (12 and under)
At the Firehall:
Speakers and presentations
Non-profit and commercial exhibitors
Local fare refreshments & lunch available
Live raptors exhibited by
Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge
Hands-on art activities by
Clay College
Along the Delaware Bay:
Five staffed viewing sites
with scopes & birdwatching experts
Bayshore Center at Bivalve walks,
food & activities
Morning & evening owl watches
Guided trail walks
East Point Lighthouse
Leechester Hall

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_and_Golden_Eagle_Protection_Act

http://www.baldeagleinfo.com/eagle/eagle9.html

https://www.history.com/news/how-did-the-bald-eagle-become-americas-national-bird

https://www.livescience.com/32811-why-is-the-bald-eagle-americas-national-bird-.html

https://www.thoughtco.com/bald-eagle-profile-and-trivia-1140687

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/b/bald-eagle/

shiela and jonas little fig

Shiela Fuller is the author of All Night Singing (Schoolwide 2015) and Cliff Climbers, to be published in 2019 (The Little Fig).
She adores Pembroke Welsh corgis and has a new pup, Jefferson Jonas.
She is a frequent bird watcher and legacy keeper for her family.

 

 

Shiela and Jonas.

 

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Time Travel With Historical Fiction: by Marilyn Ostermiller

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” was recently voted America’s best loved novel in a competition sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System.

            Published in 1960, “Mockingbird,” harkened back to a racially-motivated incident in a small Alabama town in 1936.

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Classic historical fiction tugs at our hearts and can motivate us long after we’ve turned the last page. Miss Lee immersed readers in a previous time and place to such an extent, that book has been credited with helping fuel the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

            Who doesn’t remember how a desperate Scarlet O’Hara tore down the green velvet drapes in the parlor at Civil War-ravished Tara, to sew them into a dress she hoped would entice a bank officer into giving her a loan? Or, when George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” stopped a run on the bank in the 1930s, by cajoling customers into withdrawing only as much money as they absolutely needed?

Getting the details right requires meticulous research of authors. I’m writing a historical novel about a 12-year-old girl, who vows to win the 1932 National Spelling Bee, to prove she’s the best speller in America. The idea came to me when I visited the official site of The National Spelling Bee, www.spellingbee.com. I discovered, that in the midst of The Great Depression, ordinary kids were competing to win a bag full of gold coins, worth the equivalent of about $60,000 today.

That, in turn, led me to wonder who these kids were and what words the finalists spelled. That directed me to archived newspaper articles reporting on the finals of the 1932 National Spelling Bee. I learned the national championship was held in the National Museum in Washington, D.C. The first thing visitors saw, in the lobby, were glass cases of life-size, stuffed animals, some of them reputed to have been shot by President Theodore Roosevelt while on safari in Africa.

With the help of the Smithsonian’s archives, I’ve been able to describe what it was like for those kids, who ranged in age between 8 and 13 years old, to approach the microphone on that stage, take a deep breath and spell their words in front of an audience of more than 100 people. The winning word that year was “invulnerable.” It was spelled by Dorothy Greenwald, who took the grand prize back home to Des Moines, Iowa.

            Historical fiction transports us back in time, but as with many things in life, the devil is in the details.

Next month: The second post in this series on researching historical fiction will delve into which details are most likely to resonate with readers.

Marilyn Ostermiller

Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time professional journalist, who now writes for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.

 

 

Don’t Throw it Away Post Holiday.

Now that the holidays are over, many of us are left to “un-decorate” and put away or toss the remnants of another holiday . Instead of tossing old cut trees to the curb, your tree can become a great winter snack for an elephant.  Contact your local zoo or wildlife sanctuary to see if it accepts trees. Goats also enjoy evergreens, and they are full of vitamin C to keep goats healthy all winter. No animal farms nearby? Stick it in the garden bed for birds to shelter in all winter long.

DONATE your old Christmas cards to ST JUDE’S RANCH  for their Children’s Recycled Card Program. It helps teens learn entrepreneurial skills by remaking and selling greeting cards.  http://www.stjudesranch.org

Got wine corks? Drop them off at a collection site and  an organization like ReCork will recycle them  into Yoga blocks and other products.  http://www.recork.org

You can offer your gently used Christmas lights and ornaments to a local nursing home or homeless shelter to use for next year’s season.

Kid Lit Author Nancy Viau Presents: Beauty and Bernice.

Today I am pleased to present my fellow Kid Lit Author’s Club Author NANCY VIAU’s latest middle grade charmer: BEAUTY AND BERNICE (Schiffer 2018)

A fearless skateboarder

A quirky princess

Two very different girls…

And the summer that was almost a fairy tale

BB Fancy

 “I loved Beauty and Bernice SOOOO much! The book is about a girl called Bernice who loves skateboarding. Her life is going great until annoying pink ‘princess’ Odelia moves in across the road. At first, Bernice pays no attention to her – she grew out of princesses years ago. But there’s more to Odelia than meets the eye… I loved this book because I, like Bernice, love skateboarding. I found this book hilarious in some parts, but moving and gripping in others. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves skateboarding, princesses and mysteries that leave you on the edge of your seat. I rate this book a definite five stars.”

 ~ 10-Year-Old Goodreads Reviewer

 “Readers will enjoy their charming adventure from the skate park to Smile Academy, a summer camp for kids with Down syndrome. A sweet tale with wisdom and heart.” ~ Literary Soirée 

Don’t know if you need a full-out description, but here ya go. And here’s a link to the trailer, which I really love:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd4GyhBJtwk

Twelve-year-old skateboarder Bernice Baransky is comfortable with her skater grunge look—a look she’s had since she traded in her childhood princess dress-up outfits for a skateboard. Bernice is the only girl at Porchtown Skate Park who can pop an ollie, ride the rails, and grind the slabs. She’d love to impress Wyatt Anderson, a skater who calls her Dude, but that would require actually talking to him, and Bernice can’t seem to do more than mumble when he’s around.

Bernice wonders if she should accept help from a new neighbor, the proper and stuffy Odelia, who is desperate to befriend her. Odelia acts like a fairy-tale princess, and insists on referring to her fancy notes in ODELIA’S GUIDE TO THE SOCIAL GRACES. Odelia spouts off ridiculous and hilarious lessons on poise, posture, manners, and more—even what to do about embarrassing “oopsies” liked spilled soda, burps, and unexpected gas—and Bernice reluctantly realizes that Odelia knows what she’s talking about. But Bernice can’t be seen hanging out with a princess at the skate park, the summer camp where she volunteers, or anywhere around town because that is just not cool. She’ll accept Odelia’s help, but Odelia better ditch the gowns and tiaras, or people will talk.

Nancy Viau’s exciting middle grade takes readers on a thrill ride from the skate park’s half-pipe to Smile Academy, a summer camp for Down syndrome children. A novel full of adventure and heart, it asks the question: Can two very different people ever be friends?

The book is not just about skaters and princesses.

The book is not really a fairy tale although there are some sneaky references that savvy readers will pick up on.

The book is jammed packed with skateboarding moves–all thoroughly researched.

The book features Down syndrome children, and so few do. Am I right? I wanted to highlight these very capable, delightful, “Made of Awesome” kids. It’s become a favorite part to teachers and educators of special needs children.

CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHOR

www.NancyViau.com

nancy.viau336@gmail.com

@NancyViau1

 

Easy, Last Minute Holiday Ornaments.

Need a last minute gift for grandparents or teachers? Want to encourage your youngest children’s creativity and the joy that comes from giving something homemade? Here is a simple craft kids of any age can complete with a little assistance.

I saw these POM POM PINECONES in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens and thought they’d be perfect for an easy, kid-friendly craft.  http://www.BHG.com

 

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Here’s all the material you need to make some charming and fun-tastic holiday decorations.

20181213_142649

With a dab of glue on the pine cone stems, press pompoms in the color of your choice. You can also use glitter pom poms for a sparkling look.  Tie ribbons in top if you want to hang the ornaments, or place them in a bowl or basket to use as a festive table decoration. Easy, peasy.

Happy Holidays!

Book Giveaway:A Blast from the Past Inspires a Tween Novel For Author Mary Zisk.

Following up on the blog post about my middle grade novel, The Art of  Being Remmy, [link: https://darlenebeckjacobson.wordpress.com/2018/11/08/author-illustrator-mary-zisk-presents-the-art-behind-the-art-of-being-remmy/] Darlene and I would like to offer a hardcover signed copy to one lucky reader. See giveaway instructions at the end of this post.

me_entry_bookcover-combo

 It often happens that a memorable event in an author’s life can inspire an entire novel. For me, that event happened in 1964, when I was a Beatlemanical thirteen year old. I entered a Draw-the-Beatles contest sponsored by WABC Radio in New York City and became one of the winners of tickets to see The Fab Four in concert! Not only did my artwork transport me to an electrifying concert of nonstop screaming, that thrill confirmed my destiny that I would always be an artist.

Decades later, I channeled my tween self and wrote a middle grade novel triggered by that concert. Ultimately, the concert became the climax event that pulled together a fictionalized plot about a girl who fights to overcome rules imposed on females in mid-1960s society. 12-year-old Remmy Rinaldi pursues her dream to be an artist in spite of her father’s strong objections, the taunts of a boy rival, and the threat of losing her best friend to a rat fink.

As the novel evolved, I decided to change the historical period from 1964 to 1965, which meant that the concert moved from the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium to the more famous concert at Shea Stadium. But I still used my impressions and emotions from my 1964 concert:

beatles_shea-v2-crpt

Ed Sullivan steps onto the stage and we scream, knowing why he is here. He yells something about “The Queen” and “America” and then “Here are THE BEATLES!!!!”

I didn’t think it could be possible, but the screams get even louder as the Beatles—the ACTUAL BEATLES—run out to the second base stage and everyone jumps to their feet.

… The Beatles sing and rock and strum and dance so it looks like they’re making music. We bounce and clap to what we think is the music. But it’s impossible to hear anything over the nonstop screams…

But hey, it doesn’t matter. The Beatles are here and my friend and I are here. We are all sharing the same steamy August night, and breathing the same hot air, and seeing the same stars, and hearing the music and screaming collide. I’ll never forget this. Ever.

beatles-foresthills

The Beatles in concert at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in August 1964

And I never did forget that night.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Do you have a childhood event that defined your life or set you on a lifetime path? Do you have a childhood memory that you will always treasure in your heart?

Tell us about it.  Leave that memory in the comments section, and you’ll be eligible to win a hardcover, signed copy of The Art of Being Remmy. Good luck! One lucky winner will be drawn at random and announced here on December 27.

 

Links:

http://www.maryzisk.com/the-art-of-being-remmy.html

https://www.facebook.com/artofremmy/

 

 

 

Gifts That Give Back.

While searching for those perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday list, why not try some of the sites listed below. These companies/products “pay it forward” with your purchase and provide a variety of wonderful services for children, animals and the homeless. Gifts that keep on giving.

  1. BOBS from Skechers: I am a HUGE fan of Skechers shoes for the comfort they provide. By buying from the BOBS collection, you help save the lives of SHELTER DOGS AND CATS in the US thanks to their partnership with Best Friends Animal Society. http://www.skechers.com
  2. Cuddle+Kind: Every time you purchase one of these handmade, soft and cuddly dolls you donate TEN MEALS to hungry kids around the world.  http://www.cuddleandkind.com
  3. STATE: With each purchase of a State bag, the company delivers a backpack of school supplies, including socks and snacks, to a local child in need.  http://www.Statebags.com
  4. Help give poverty the Boot with a purchase of a pair of ROMA BOOTS. The company has provided durable, colorful rain boots to needy children in 26 countries including US.  http://www.Romaboots.com
  5. Smile: Did you know 5.1 Billion people in the world own cell phones, but only 4.2 Billion of them own a toothbrush?  For every toothbrush bought from Synced Smiles, the company donates TEN to people in places like Malawi, Ugands, and the Philippines.  http://www.Syncedsmiles.com
  6. Need Socks?: These foot-warmers are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters. When you buy a pair of soft and comfy BOMBAS, the company sends a pair with antimicrobial treatment and reinforced seams to a homeless shelter.  http://www.Bombas.com
  7. This Bar Saves Lives: When you purchase one of these yummy non GMO and gluten-free snacks, a NUTRITION PACKET to help fight malnutrition is sent around the world. http://www.Thisbarsaveslives.com
  8. Need Toilet Paper? Who doesn’t.: When you buy Who Gives A Crap brand toilet tissue and paper towels – made from 100% recycles paper or bamboo, 50% of profits are used to build toilets for people who need them in developing countries.  http://www.Whogivesacrap.org

May all your gifts make a difference. Happy Holidays!