Wednesday, April 27, 2016

National Arbor Day

National Arbor Day has been celebrated since the very first Arbor Day on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. A pioneer named J. Sterling Morton, who had moved to the Nebraska territory in 1854, had the greatest influence in creating the holiday, and he worked hard to establish the importance of planting and maintaining trees throughout the country.

For pioneers in the Midwest, planting trees was incredibly important for fuel, building materials, and even just having some shade amidst all the flat plains. On the first Arbor Day, it is believed that over one million trees were planted in Nebraska. Now, National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April, but each state has its own special Arbor Day to plant trees at the most opportune time for their growth and health.

If you are interested in the history of Arbor Day and the story of J. Sterling Morton, you can find out more here. If you want to get involved with Arbor Day in your own state or town, learn about planting and growing trees here. To see when your state celebrates Arbor Day, check out this map. Keep in mind that for many Southern states, state Arbor Day is celebrated earlier in the year!  

Arbor Day Square is a great book to teach your child the importance of helping the environment, and it also comes with the additional free resource of a teacher's guide

Katie and her papa are among a group of settlers building a town in the middle of the dusty, brown prairie. Every week the trains bring more people and more lumber to build houses, fences, and barns. New buildings go up including a church with a steeple, a store with glass windows, even a schoolhouse with desks for all the children.

But one thing is missing: Trees!

When the townspeople take up a collection to order trees from back east, Katie adds her own pennies and Papa's silver dollar. When the tiny saplings finally arrive, Katie helps dig holes and fetch water. Then in a quiet corner of the public square, Katie and Papa plant a flowering dogwood in memory of Mama. 

Look for Arbor Day Square at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble.

Let us know how you chose to celebrate Arbor Day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Peachtree Spotlight: Courtney Hood

Peachtree Publishers is made up of some wonderful, talented people. We get to be around each other, working together every day, but everyone else is missing out! So for the next few weeks, we are going to be highlighting some of the people that make Peachtree what it is today.

The first person to enter the spotlight is Courtney Hood. She answered some questions so everyone could get to know her and her position at Peachtree a little better.

Tell us about your history with Peachtree.

I started as an editorial intern 10 years ago before being hired to work full-time in the sales and production departments. My initial responsibilities included order entry and customer service in sales, as well as assisting our Production Manager. I now oversee the entire order process and manage school and library author events for the sales department. I am also in charge of reprints (analyzing stock, getting pricing, initiating purchase orders, etc.) for the production department, and am the Awards Coordinator (shipping review copies and coordinating with awards committees). It’s not uncommon for employees to work in multiple departments at small publishers like Peachtree, but I might take it to the extreme.

What are your top three favorite books, any genre?

I don’t think that I can choose just three, so let’s narrow it down a bit. My three favorite children’s books are The Westing Game, Number the Stars, and the Harry Potter series.

If you could be a literary character for a day, who would you be?

I want to live in the Harry Potter wizarding world, even for just one day. I don’t even care which character (ok, maybe not a Death Eater), I just want to hang out in Diagon Alley and do magic.

Who is your hero or role model and why?

My Aunt Rebecca worked in publishing for a long time and was the first one to encourage me to channel by love of books into an actual career.

What is your favorite thing about working at Peachtree?

The books. I love the books that we create and I’m proud of the work that I do, getting such wonderful titles into children’s hands. We also get signed copies of every title Peachtree publishes, which is fun.

In your position, what do you consider to be your secret weapon?

The ability to multitask is a big plus when you technically work in three different departments.

Do you have any big interests or hobbies that you focus on outside of work?

I wish I could say something interesting like treasure hunting or synchronized skydiving (is that a thing?), but my life is pretty simple outside of work. I mostly spend my free time hanging out with friends and family, reading, and watching Netflix.

If, in an alternate reality, you were to have gone a completely different career route, what would you have done?

I was very into dance when I was younger. If I had had a bit more talent and a thicker skin, I would have loved to dance for a living.

Write your questions or comments below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Make Your Own Kite!

So Big Wind Day is a thing. And it's today! It certainly comes at the right time of year, with all the lovely spring breezes ushering in some warm weather. Of course, with lots of windy days, kite-flying should be at the top of everyone's to-do list.

If you need some literature to get you in the mood for windy days and kite-flying, be sure to check out Elizabeth Spurr's latest board book In the Wind. Perfect for toddlers, the simple, evocative language describes a girl's experience on a windy day; the lovely illustrations by Manelle Oliphant could even give you some design ideas for your next kite project or kite-flying outing!

In case you don't happen to have a kite handy, we've collected a few kite-making tutorials so that everyone can join in the fun of Big Wind Day.

This one is for the kite-flyers who like the more natural, neutral look for their kite.
Style Me Pretty

This one has streamers galore, with more simple ingredients for a bright and beautiful end product.
Inner Child Fun

This one removes all excuses for not being able to fly a kite. All the components are right under your nose!
2 Little Hooligans

This one is for any kite-makers who want to break out of the usual kite box with some fun designs!
Red Ted Art

This one leaves the design up to the kite-flyer but provides all the necessary blueprints for the perfect kite.
Squawk Fox

Find In the Wind at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

National Poetry Month

The warm weather is here to stay. The trees are blooming, and the flowers are out. With bees buzzing and the sun shining, springtime just might be the most poetic time of year. We're in the mood for poetry, and April is National Poetry Month!

We hope you've caught the poetry bug as well, because we not only have some great poetry, but we also want to share a story about a great poet. So whether you want to read poetry or read about poetry this month, we've got you covered. Enjoy!

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

George loved words. But George was enslaved. In this powerful biography of poet George Moses Horton, the first Southern African-American man to be published, Don Tate tells an inspiring and moving story of talent and determination.

Miguel's Brave Knight
Award-winning author Margarita Engle’s distinctive picture book depiction (also in Spanish) of the childhood of Miguel de Cervantes, the father of the modern novel, told in a series of free verse poems, is enhanced by Raúl Colón’s stunning illustrations. Backmatter includes a note from both the author and illustrator as well as additional information on Cervantes and his novel Don Quixote

Leaf Litter Critters
Have fun on this poetic tour through the leaf litter layer and dig into the fascinating facts about the tiny critters who live there. Nineteen poems in a variety of verse forms with accompanying science notes take readers on a decomposer safari through the “brown food web,” from bacteria through tardigrades and on to rove beetle predators. Author Leslie Bulion's glossary, hands-on investigations, and resources are included in the back matter.
At the Sea Floor Café
Witty poems and elegant artwork let us know what's on the menu for some unusual undersea creatures. Leslie Bulion gives readers a clever collection of poems that describes the devious and sometimes surprising methods ocean denizens use to forage for food, capture prey, trick predators, and protect their young.

Random Body Parts
Take a free-form trip through the human body with these humorous riddle poems. Which body part, if spread out flat, would cover a tennis court? Stretched end to end, which body parts would wrap four times around the equator? What's the hardest substance in the human body? Leslie Bulion has put together anatomical, poetic, and visual clues that will help readers discover the answers to these questions -- and many more!

Bring on the Birds; Stripes of All Types;
Spectacular Spots; and Fabulous Fishes
With simple, rhyming text and brightly colored, richly textured illustrations, author-illustrator Susan Stockdale introduces young readers to some of the distinctive qualities in animals. These board books are a great way to introduce rhythm and rhyme found in poetry to children just beginning to learn about language.

Grow: A Novel in Verse
This verse novel by Juanita Havill for young readers uses rich, evocative language to deliver a powerful story of the extraordinary magic that occurs every day when ordinary people work together.

Cats Vanish Slowly
Meet the cats on Grandmother's farm as they wind their way through these twelve poems. Poet Ruth Tiller captures the personalities and moods of each of her cats in clear, concise language easy enough for young readers, but with evocative imagery and varied rhythms that will engage the interest of older readers as well.

Find these books and more at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble!