A Different Look At Picture Books
Next weekend Sapphire Valley hosts the annual Wildlife Days. This two-day event is so well-attended it appears in national magazines. Experts in all fields of wildlife and outdoor living gather for seminars, exhibits, and education. We share our place on the planet with the Smoky Mountain Black Bear, a fascination for our visitors, for whom this education is important for their safety as well as the bears’.
I’m excited to have been invited to talk to the children about my picture books and sell and sign them for the young naturalists. Beth’s Birds and Beth’s Backyard Friends will be on my table, along with Amanda & the Lazy Garden Fairy. It’s always a pleasure to be on the road with these books. I recently read Amanda on a radio program in Bladen County received in five counties in North Carolina. Amanda is a good read-aloud story with different funny voices. The Little Beth Books are fun because the pre K audience always has so much to say. For instance, I learned the reason birds peck their food is “because they don’t have lips.” Aha. I always wondered about that. Talking to the little readers is good vocabulary building for me, too. I learned from one little guy that the noise you hear outside is from birds twirteling. He likes the twirtels. And now, since reading Beth’s Birds, he knows to call that twirteler in his yard a Cardinal.
Beth’s Birds is currently being reformatted to be published as a bilingual picture book. Each beautiful illustration (Steve Daniels) will have the text written in Spanish and in English. Two years ago I was invited to speak at parents’ night at one of our local schools. I prepared my presentation on reading to and with the family. I was so surprised to discover I had an interpreter. I stopped after every sentence while she interpreted for the packed room. Only one English-speaking family was in attendance. The teacher who had invited me said, “They are really good people and they want a good education for their kids. But when they read to them, it usually turns out the kids read to them.” I thought of this when the publisher suggested we do the book as a bilingual. I can see how having both languages, with the picture, can be helpful to those who want to learn English, and for those interested in Spanish. The other benefit is that the Beth Books are non-fiction. The family will actually learn something helpful together. This is a new way to look at picture books. I’m excited to be part of that.