Monthly Archives: April 2012

Earth Month, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

April has been a very exciting month for Little Pickle Press. From giveaways with Carrots Are Orange to readings at Linden Tree Books, we have been finding new and creative ways to celebrate Earth Month. Today, we welcome two children, Mark and Nick, to highlight what it means to celebrate Earth Month.

How did you celebrate Earth Day this year?

Mark (8 years old): “At school. We learned about the water and about ways that we can help the planet and stuff. And yeah, lots of stuff.”

Nick (6 years old): “We learned about it at school.”

Can you tell me the importance of Earth Day?

Mark: “Because it’s important to look around and know the things that you can do. Because, like, there are things that you don’t even know. But the thing is, you don’t realize most of the time that we have to be really careful if we want to live on this planet.”

Nick: “Earth Day we learned about being in the garden, and how you can make different things grow. Earth Day is about growing things, so that we have different things to eat.”

What are a few ways that you can help to protect planet Earth?

Mark: “You can wash your hands with not that much water, and you can also, like, not use paper plates when you get pizza…”

Nick: “Watch out for the animals.”

What is your favorite outdoor activity? When do you get to spend time outside with nature?

Mark: “I’m outside almost every day because I play soccer and ride my bike. Sometimes, I’m outside in the morning too because I walk to school with my friends.”

Nick: “When it’s nice out, I can play outside with my sister and stuff.”

What do you think is the most important thing about Earth Day/Month?

Mark: “Remembering that there are things you can do to help the way the world is, and doing them.”

Nick: “Being happy that you live here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you have a child between the ages of four and ten years old who would love to be interviewed for our next monthly feature? Contact [email protected](dot)com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don’t forget that this April at Little Pickle Press, you can receive 25% off and free shipping on your entire order with your purchase of Sofia’s Dream. Just use code LPPSofia12 at checkout. Today is your last day to take advantage of the offer, so don’t miss out!

Earth Month, According to Kids

By Cameron Crane

April has been a very exciting month for Little Pickle Press. From giveaways with Carrots Are Orange to readings at Linden Tree Books, we have been finding new and creative ways to celebrate Earth Month. Today, we welcome two children, Mark and Nick, to highlight what it means to celebrate Earth Month.

How did you celebrate Earth Day this year?

Mark (8 years old): “At school. We learned about the water and about ways that we can help the planet and stuff. And yeah, lots of stuff.”

Nick (6 years old): “We learned about it at school.”

Can you tell me the importance of Earth Day?

Mark: “Because it’s important to look around and know the things that you can do. Because, like, there are things that you don’t even know. But the thing is, you don’t realize most of the time that we have to be really careful if we want to live on this planet.”

Nick: “Earth Day we learned about being in the garden, and how you can make different things grow. Earth Day is about growing things, so that we have different things to eat.”

What are a few ways that you can help to protect planet Earth?

Mark: “You can wash your hands with not that much water, and you can also, like, not use paper plates when you get pizza…”

Nick: “Watch out for the animals.”

What is your favorite outdoor activity? When do you get to spend time outside with nature?

Mark: “I’m outside almost every day because I play soccer and ride my bike. Sometimes, I’m outside in the morning too because I walk to school with my friends.”

Nick: “When it’s nice out, I can play outside with my sister and stuff.”

What do you think is the most important thing about Earth Day/Month?

Mark: “Remembering that there are things you can do to help the way the world is, and doing them.”

Nick: “Being happy that you live here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you have a child between the ages of four and ten years old who would love to be interviewed for our next monthly feature? Contact [email protected](dot)com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don’t forget that this April at Little Pickle Press, you can receive 25% off and free shipping on your entire order with your purchase of Sofia’s Dream. Just use code LPPSofia12 at checkout. Today is your last day to take advantage of the offer, so don’t miss out!

These Bees Count!

By Cameron Crane

Written by Alison Formento
Illustrated by Sarah Snow
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0807578681

ISBN-13: 978-0807578681

Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches

Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
 

This Earth Month, as we look at what we can do to protect our planet, it is important to also recognize the creatures who help to make the world what it is. Sometimes, we forget that even the smallest of creatures can make a big impact. Consider, for instance, the honeybee. Did you know that in 2007, the value of food dependent on honeybees was $15 billion in the United States?
“Bees are nature’s farmers,” says Alison Formento, author of THESE BEES COUNT!, “Without them, we wouldn’t have many of the fruits and vegetables we love to eat.”

In fact, this is one of the underlying messages in THESE BEES COUNT!, a wonderful story about a field trip to Busy Bee Farm that leads to an understanding that bees do count…literally! In the story, Mr. Tate takes his class to meet Farmer Ellen, who takes the children to see the honeybees at work, and encourages them to “listen to their buzz.” The class listens eagerly as the bees sing their song “one by one, we zip up high, buzzing through the bright blue sky.” And so the melodic honeybee poem flows, all the way through ten, giving both the children in the story and the reader a deeper appreciation for “nature’s farmers.”

As if the beautiful rhythm and important message of the story weren’t enough, colorful eye-catching illustrations by Sarah Snow make you feel as if you are right there on the farm with Mr. Tate’s class. Reading THESE BEES COUNT!, the reader is torn between eagerly turning the page to see the next scene, and lingering on the one they are on to take in every detail.

“Eating a honey vanilla ice cream cone inspired my idea for THESE BEES COUNT!,” Alison says, “when I saw all of the signs posted in the ice cream shop about Colony Collapse Disorder. I started researching bees and soon realized how important bees are to our world, just like trees.”

Alison’s experience researching honeybees was very similar to that of the children in Mr. Tate’s class. She visited a local beekeeper to see the process in action, and the story goes from there. Today, Alison has not only an award-winning book to show for it, but she has also developed an amazing Teacher’s Guide to complement the title. You can download the guide free on her website, where you will also find a list of her other wonderful titles, and a great list of links to resources that will help you continue to learn about the messages within them. I guess we can all be glad Alison sat down for ice cream!

If you are looking for a book to read to your children for Earth Month, we recommend THESE BEES COUNT!. Buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore. Be sure to also stay tuned for Alison Formento’s upcoming book THESE SEAS COUNT!, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2013.

“I’m learning that the ways seas and oceans help our world are fathomless,” Alison remarks of her current research. We can’t wait to learn more!

Thank you, Alison, for your wonderful stories, and for helping to deliver such important messages!

These Bees Count!

By Cameron Crane

Written by Alison Formento
Illustrated by Sarah Snow
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (February 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0807578681

ISBN-13: 978-0807578681

Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches

Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
 

This Earth Month, as we look at what we can do to protect our planet, it is important to also recognize the creatures who help to make the world what it is. Sometimes, we forget that even the smallest of creatures can make a big impact. Consider, for instance, the honeybee. Did you know that in 2007, the value of food dependent on honeybees was $15 billion in the United States?
“Bees are nature’s farmers,” says Alison Formento, author of THESE BEES COUNT!, “Without them, we wouldn’t have many of the fruits and vegetables we love to eat.”

In fact, this is one of the underlying messages in THESE BEES COUNT!, a wonderful story about a field trip to Busy Bee Farm that leads to an understanding that bees do count…literally! In the story, Mr. Tate takes his class to meet Farmer Ellen, who takes the children to see the honeybees at work, and encourages them to “listen to their buzz.” The class listens eagerly as the bees sing their song “one by one, we zip up high, buzzing through the bright blue sky.” And so the melodic honeybee poem flows, all the way through ten, giving both the children in the story and the reader a deeper appreciation for “nature’s farmers.”

As if the beautiful rhythm and important message of the story weren’t enough, colorful eye-catching illustrations by Sarah Snow make you feel as if you are right there on the farm with Mr. Tate’s class. Reading THESE BEES COUNT!, the reader is torn between eagerly turning the page to see the next scene, and lingering on the one they are on to take in every detail.

“Eating a honey vanilla ice cream cone inspired my idea for THESE BEES COUNT!,” Alison says, “when I saw all of the signs posted in the ice cream shop about Colony Collapse Disorder. I started researching bees and soon realized how important bees are to our world, just like trees.”

Alison’s experience researching honeybees was very similar to that of the children in Mr. Tate’s class. She visited a local beekeeper to see the process in action, and the story goes from there. Today, Alison has not only an award-winning book to show for it, but she has also developed an amazing Teacher’s Guide to complement the title. You can download the guide free on her website, where you will also find a list of her other wonderful titles, and a great list of links to resources that will help you continue to learn about the messages within them. I guess we can all be glad Alison sat down for ice cream!

If you are looking for a book to read to your children for Earth Month, we recommend THESE BEES COUNT!. Buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore. Be sure to also stay tuned for Alison Formento’s upcoming book THESE SEAS COUNT!, which is scheduled for release in Spring 2013.

“I’m learning that the ways seas and oceans help our world are fathomless,” Alison remarks of her current research. We can’t wait to learn more!

Thank you, Alison, for your wonderful stories, and for helping to deliver such important messages!

The Real Cost of Printing a Children’s Book

Today we visit with Keith Anthony, President of K2 PrintMedia, LLC, and long-time Little Pickle Press team member. Keith handles all aspects of the manufacturing process of LPP books including estimating, project management, scheduling, pre-press, press checks, bindery checks, and shipping manifests. Because LPP is a bit (well, okay, a lot) different from many traditional publishers in that they publish in an environmentally-sound manner, we thought we’d quiz Keith about what that exactly means.
Dani: Welcome to the blog, Keith. So, one of the things that impressed me most about LPP before I began working for them is their environmental consciousness, especially since publishing is a fairly toxic industry. LPP prints in North America, using recycled papers (or even tree-free paper), with soy inks. Can you compare for us the cost of a 10,000-book print run. How much per book printed conventionally off-shore, how much conventionally in North America, and how much using the LPP model? Give us some rough estimates and comparisons between the three options.
Keith: Thanks, Dani. There has been a lot written on the comparisons, so I will try to be as brief as possible. When talking about “off-shore”, we are essentially referring to China, as they own the bulk of world market-share in publishing. To a lesser degree, Indonesia, India, and Mexico have respectable market-share. Compared to North America, generally speaking, you can produce books – hard or soft cover – about 40-60% less expensively off-shore. When comparing high-quality books with high recycled paper content, like the LPP model, the cost disparity can be even higher. Depending on the type and percentage of recycled content, it can bring a premium of 10-30%.
Cost benefits for printing off-shore are obvious. What is not obvious to many is the trade-off you get for the dollar savings. There are enormous human and environmental costs associated with off-shore print manufacturing. It is no secret that off-shore paper mills clear-cut vast areas of pristine forests to feed the appetite of over 90,000 printing plants, with approximately three million employees in China alone. Since there is no regulating authority to monitor use and disposal of toxic petroleum-based inks and other press and paper mill chemicals, it is widely assumed these toxins are dumped in land-fills or waterways. The human cost is discussed in terms of “living wage” and “accommodations”. A press operator in North America earns approximately $60,000/year, as contrasted with a press operator in China who earns about $1,000/year (per Harvard economist, Andy Mukherjee). Most large Chinese printers house employees in dormitory-style housing which is cramped and overcrowded. Occasionally we hear reports that China is cleaning up these facilities, but again, there is no regulating authority with the means to mandate compliance.
As an industry, we have come a long way in a relatively short time to clean up the ugly and toxic side of the business, but we have much further to go, especially off-shore. Demand is what drives the engine and as long as customers expect and demand the greening of the industry, it will oblige.
Dani: One of the things I’ve noticed about the recycled papers used in LPP books is they seem very expensive and lush, more like art paper really. It’s kind of the opposite of what we’d expect from recycled paper. Can you tell us a bit about the quality of recycled papers, why it’s good to use them, and how you choose them for picture books?
Keith: Twenty years ago, there were few viable options for recycled paper, especially post consumer waste (PCW). Those papers looked recycled with dull finishes and were very expensive compared to virgin pulp paper. Today there is a plethora of recycled papers that perform fantastically, at competitive prices. To achieve the desired look and feel of LPP books, we typically use the highest grade of recycled paper available. The key to recycled content is specifying PCW which would otherwise have added millions of metric tons of material trucked to land-fills each year.
Dani: The LPP books are printed using soy inks. What are those exactly, and why are they better for the environment? How is it important for a children’s product?
Keith: Most modern North American printing plants have converted from petroleum-based inks to soy or vegetable-based inks. Petroleum-based inks are loaded with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the environment, whereas vegetable-based inks have little or no VOCs, and perform just as well as petroleum inks.
Unquestionably the largest push for soy inks centered on health issues regarding small children – babies and toddlers who, as everyone has witnessed, chew and suck on book covers. Blood tests showed elevated and sometimes dangerous levels of lead poisoning with young children. Lead based inks were domestically phased out in the 1970s, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was instrumental in outlawing the practice in 1986, and limited the amount of lead in inks used in imported children’s books. Further restrictions were signed into law with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which prohibits even minute levels of lead in any product intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.
Dani: So the production cost (not including any writing, editing, illustration, etc.) of an LPP book is roughly 2-3 times per book more than a large traditional publisher might pay?
Keith: Yes. For LPP’s model, this is due primarily to the recycled paper we require, and to manufacturing processes that produce our stunning works of art. A book that would cost less than a dollar to print in China would cost LPP $3.75 – $4.75. We take a great deal of pride in these books and are meticulous in the manufacturing process.
Dani: There’s an environmental impact statement in each of the LPP books. Who provides that for inclusion in the book?
Keith: That is information I receive from paper mills, corrugated box suppliers, printers, and ink suppliers, as either raw data or converted data, to reflect environmental savings. I take that information and plug it into the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator, and a private third-party environmental calculator, and average the results.
Dani: Here’s a copy of one so everyone can see. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Keith! Readers, if you have a question for Keith Anthony, please leave it in the comments.
Also, don’t forget our Earth Day Special continues until the last day of April. Receive FREE SHIPPING and 25% off your entire order with the purchase of Sofia’s Dream. Just enter LPPSofia12 at checkout. Click here to order.

The Real Cost of Printing a Children’s Book

Today we visit with Keith Anthony, President of K2 PrintMedia, LLC, and long-time Little Pickle Press team member. Keith handles all aspects of the manufacturing process of LPP books including estimating, project management, scheduling, pre-press, press checks, bindery checks, and shipping manifests. Because LPP is a bit (well, okay, a lot) different from many traditional publishers in that they publish in an environmentally-sound manner, we thought we’d quiz Keith about what that exactly means.
Dani: Welcome to the blog, Keith. So, one of the things that impressed me most about LPP before I began working for them is their environmental consciousness, especially since publishing is a fairly toxic industry. LPP prints in North America, using recycled papers (or even tree-free paper), with soy inks. Can you compare for us the cost of a 10,000-book print run. How much per book printed conventionally off-shore, how much conventionally in North America, and how much using the LPP model? Give us some rough estimates and comparisons between the three options.
Keith: Thanks, Dani. There has been a lot written on the comparisons, so I will try to be as brief as possible. When talking about “off-shore”, we are essentially referring to China, as they own the bulk of world market-share in publishing. To a lesser degree, Indonesia, India, and Mexico have respectable market-share. Compared to North America, generally speaking, you can produce books – hard or soft cover – about 40-60% less expensively off-shore. When comparing high-quality books with high recycled paper content, like the LPP model, the cost disparity can be even higher. Depending on the type and percentage of recycled content, it can bring a premium of 10-30%.
Cost benefits for printing off-shore are obvious. What is not obvious to many is the trade-off you get for the dollar savings. There are enormous human and environmental costs associated with off-shore print manufacturing. It is no secret that off-shore paper mills clear-cut vast areas of pristine forests to feed the appetite of over 90,000 printing plants, with approximately three million employees in China alone. Since there is no regulating authority to monitor use and disposal of toxic petroleum-based inks and other press and paper mill chemicals, it is widely assumed these toxins are dumped in land-fills or waterways. The human cost is discussed in terms of “living wage” and “accommodations”. A press operator in North America earns approximately $60,000/year, as contrasted with a press operator in China who earns about $1,000/year (per Harvard economist, Andy Mukherjee). Most large Chinese printers house employees in dormitory-style housing which is cramped and overcrowded. Occasionally we hear reports that China is cleaning up these facilities, but again, there is no regulating authority with the means to mandate compliance.
As an industry, we have come a long way in a relatively short time to clean up the ugly and toxic side of the business, but we have much further to go, especially off-shore. Demand is what drives the engine and as long as customers expect and demand the greening of the industry, it will oblige.
Dani: One of the things I’ve noticed about the recycled papers used in LPP books is they seem very expensive and lush, more like art paper really. It’s kind of the opposite of what we’d expect from recycled paper. Can you tell us a bit about the quality of recycled papers, why it’s good to use them, and how you choose them for picture books?
Keith: Twenty years ago, there were few viable options for recycled paper, especially post consumer waste (PCW). Those papers looked recycled with dull finishes and were very expensive compared to virgin pulp paper. Today there is a plethora of recycled papers that perform fantastically, at competitive prices. To achieve the desired look and feel of LPP books, we typically use the highest grade of recycled paper available. The key to recycled content is specifying PCW which would otherwise have added millions of metric tons of material trucked to land-fills each year.
Dani: The LPP books are printed using soy inks. What are those exactly, and why are they better for the environment? How is it important for a children’s product?
Keith: Most modern North American printing plants have converted from petroleum-based inks to soy or vegetable-based inks. Petroleum-based inks are loaded with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the environment, whereas vegetable-based inks have little or no VOCs, and perform just as well as petroleum inks.
Unquestionably the largest push for soy inks centered on health issues regarding small children – babies and toddlers who, as everyone has witnessed, chew and suck on book covers. Blood tests showed elevated and sometimes dangerous levels of lead poisoning with young children. Lead based inks were domestically phased out in the 1970s, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was instrumental in outlawing the practice in 1986, and limited the amount of lead in inks used in imported children’s books. Further restrictions were signed into law with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which prohibits even minute levels of lead in any product intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger.
Dani: So the production cost (not including any writing, editing, illustration, etc.) of an LPP book is roughly 2-3 times per book more than a large traditional publisher might pay?
Keith: Yes. For LPP’s model, this is due primarily to the recycled paper we require, and to manufacturing processes that produce our stunning works of art. A book that would cost less than a dollar to print in China would cost LPP $3.75 – $4.75. We take a great deal of pride in these books and are meticulous in the manufacturing process.
Dani: There’s an environmental impact statement in each of the LPP books. Who provides that for inclusion in the book?
Keith: That is information I receive from paper mills, corrugated box suppliers, printers, and ink suppliers, as either raw data or converted data, to reflect environmental savings. I take that information and plug it into the Environmental Defense Fund paper calculator, and a private third-party environmental calculator, and average the results.
Dani: Here’s a copy of one so everyone can see. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Keith! Readers, if you have a question for Keith Anthony, please leave it in the comments.
Also, don’t forget our Earth Day Special continues until the last day of April. Receive FREE SHIPPING and 25% off your entire order with the purchase of Sofia’s Dream. Just enter LPPSofia12 at checkout. Click here to order.

Great Sunflower Project

By Gretchen LeBuhn , Director of the Great Sunflower Project

Anyone who has been near a newspaper, radio, or television has heard about declines in bees.  Colony collapse disorder has been wiping out close to 40% of the commercial hives each year.  Native bees also appear to be struggling.  In 2006, I wanted to understand what effect this was having on our gardens and how best to put our limited conservation dollars to work.  I wanted a map – a map of national scale that showed areas with good abundance of bees and poor abundance of bees.

We couldn’t possibly make a map like this with traditional (i.e. technical experts) methods – to make this map we needed to engage a network of volunteer “citizen scientists”.  That spring, I created a website and sent out about 20 emails to garden groups across the United States.  Two weeks later, I left for spring break feeling very proud that a couple of hundred people had signed up.  Mid-week, I went to check the site and it was down.  I called my web guru and he had taken it down thinking we were being targeted by a spammer.  Instead, we had gone viral – over 15,000 people signed up that week, completely blowing both my mind and budget!  The growth has been explosive ever since.
 
With that many volunteers collecting data as a group, these citizen scientists are providing huge leverage on a minimal investment in science and have created the first detailed international survey of pollinator health and how it influences people’s ability to raise food.  Imagine how much it would cost, if I had to send a student out to every back yard in North America.  Getting this kind of scientific data at thousands of locations using traditional scientific methods would cost so much money it would never happen.

There are a couple steps to participating – after you sign up and give us information on your garden, you plant Lemon Queen sunflower seeds (everyone gets the same variety so we know we are comparing apples to apples – there are some sunflowers that are actually pollen-less).  Then once your sunflower blooms, you watch your flower for 15 minutes and record the number of bees that visit. That’s it!  It’s easy and, gosh, it’s fun to see the variety of bees.  You can immediately compare your yard’s bees per hour to state and national averages and understand how well your bee community is doing.

We made the map, but we also made something much more along the way – a community of engaged citizens from all walks of life doing science. This year we hit 100,000 people who have signed on to the Great Sunflower Project!

The results have been unexpected and heartening. Participants from bloggers to school kids to garden groups to the incarcerated people who have done some simple science – observing bees on sunflowers – have become engaged with science and are interested in learning more; are advocating for native pollinators; and are taking action.  Girl scouts and eagle scouts are participating, as are academic scientists, and master gardeners.  More unexpected to me, we are reaching home-schooling families, and women over 50 – a group that we often forget to engage in science and learning.  There is even a senior center in South Carolina where adults in wheelchairs comment that they love being part of a community and contributing something useful.
 
We’d love to have you join us. Click here for more information.

Gretchen LeBuhn is an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State, director of the Great Sunflower Project, and a mother of twins. 

Great Sunflower Project

By Gretchen LeBuhn , Director of the Great Sunflower Project

Anyone who has been near a newspaper, radio, or television has heard about declines in bees.  Colony collapse disorder has been wiping out close to 40% of the commercial hives each year.  Native bees also appear to be struggling.  In 2006, I wanted to understand what effect this was having on our gardens and how best to put our limited conservation dollars to work.  I wanted a map – a map of national scale that showed areas with good abundance of bees and poor abundance of bees.

We couldn’t possibly make a map like this with traditional (i.e. technical experts) methods – to make this map we needed to engage a network of volunteer “citizen scientists”.  That spring, I created a website and sent out about 20 emails to garden groups across the United States.  Two weeks later, I left for spring break feeling very proud that a couple of hundred people had signed up.  Mid-week, I went to check the site and it was down.  I called my web guru and he had taken it down thinking we were being targeted by a spammer.  Instead, we had gone viral – over 15,000 people signed up that week, completely blowing both my mind and budget!  The growth has been explosive ever since.
 
With that many volunteers collecting data as a group, these citizen scientists are providing huge leverage on a minimal investment in science and have created the first detailed international survey of pollinator health and how it influences people’s ability to raise food.  Imagine how much it would cost, if I had to send a student out to every back yard in North America.  Getting this kind of scientific data at thousands of locations using traditional scientific methods would cost so much money it would never happen.

There are a couple steps to participating – after you sign up and give us information on your garden, you plant Lemon Queen sunflower seeds (everyone gets the same variety so we know we are comparing apples to apples – there are some sunflowers that are actually pollen-less).  Then once your sunflower blooms, you watch your flower for 15 minutes and record the number of bees that visit. That’s it!  It’s easy and, gosh, it’s fun to see the variety of bees.  You can immediately compare your yard’s bees per hour to state and national averages and understand how well your bee community is doing.

We made the map, but we also made something much more along the way – a community of engaged citizens from all walks of life doing science. This year we hit 100,000 people who have signed on to the Great Sunflower Project!

The results have been unexpected and heartening. Participants from bloggers to school kids to garden groups to the incarcerated people who have done some simple science – observing bees on sunflowers – have become engaged with science and are interested in learning more; are advocating for native pollinators; and are taking action.  Girl scouts and eagle scouts are participating, as are academic scientists, and master gardeners.  More unexpected to me, we are reaching home-schooling families, and women over 50 – a group that we often forget to engage in science and learning.  There is even a senior center in South Carolina where adults in wheelchairs comment that they love being part of a community and contributing something useful.
 
We’d love to have you join us. Click here for more information.

Gretchen LeBuhn is an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State, director of the Great Sunflower Project, and a mother of twins. 

Being Global on Earth Day

[<a href=”</span><a href=”http://storify.com/tomversations/what-does-it-mean-to-be-global-on-earth-day” target=”_blank” style=”color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); “>http://storify.com/<wbr>tomversations/what-does-it-<wbr>mean-to-be-global-on-earth-day</a><wbr style=”color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); “><span style=”color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); display: inline !important; float: none; “>” target=”_blank”>View the story “What Does It Mean To Be Global on Earth Day?” on Storify</a>][<a href=”</span><a href=”http://storify.com/tomversations/what-does-it-mean-to-be-global-on-earth-day” target=”_blank” style=”color: rgb(17, 85, 204); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); “>http://storify.com/<wbr>tomversations/what-does-it-<wbr>mean-to-be-global-on-earth-day</a><wbr style=”color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); “><span style=”color: rgb(80, 0, 80); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: -webkit-auto; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.917969); display: inline !important; float: none; “>” target=”_blank”>View the story “What Does It Mean To Be Global on Earth Day?” on Storify</a>][<a href=”http://storify.com/tomversations/what-does-it-mean-to-be-global-on-earth-day” target=”_blank”>View the story “What Does It Mean To Be Global on Earth Day?” on Storify</a>]

Featured Customer of the Month: Linden Tree Books

By Cameron Crane

As an independent children’s book publisher, there is nothing more special than coming across a wonderful independent bookstore serendipitously. Such was the case with Linden Tree Children’s Books, our featured customer of the month this April. Today, please welcome Dianne Edmonds of Linden Tree.

How did Linden Tree come to be?

Linden Tree Children’s Records and Books was a labor of love from Linda and Dennis Ronberg. They opened 1981 in Los Altos with an excellent selection of children’s recordings, a broad inventory of books, and a selection of puppets and book-related gifts. Two years ago, the Ronberg’s announced they were ready to retire and were looking for a buyer for the bookstore. Jill Curcio and I, local parents and loyal customers, researched the possibility of forming a partnership and buying the store. We are thrilled to be carrying on the tradition of offering the highest quality of children’s literature to a supportive and appreciative community.


What makes Linden Tree so special?

Everyone has a “Linden Tree story”; whether it’s the loyal customers who have been coming for years (we now even have second generation of Linden Tree customers!), the Linden Tree reputation for superior customer service and literary knowledge, the dedicated staff, the community gathering spot — all of these components create an environment that people of all ages just want to be a part of it.


We love Linden Tree’s mission of “igniting imaginations”. How do you make this happen?

Jill and I made it a top priority when we bought the store to bring Linden Tree current and we did this taking what was happening inside the store and putting into our new logo and colors. Allowing imaginations to grow happens at every age and can happen with any book. We stock the most creative and unique books, side-by-side with the classics. The staff then adds the last part of the magic of getting that right book into the right hands.

What is your favorite part about owning and running Linden Tree?

For both of us, it’s about keeping a local, independent bookstore in our community AND making it community. We are both passionate about children, children’s reading and watching the imagination grow for all readers.

How did you find out about Little Pickle Press? What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like?
Our relationship with Little Pickle Press just started recently, but we had heard about LPP from other sources. Just as we were ready to give you a call and find out if you marketed direct or through a rep, two things happened in the same day that gave us the sign this would be a wonderful relationship: first, Dianne had a fabulous introduction and phone call with Rana regarding the Earth Day event. That call ended with Rana and Dianne agreeing that Linden Tree would be a perfect site to sell LPP publications. Both companies had similar missions and focus. Then, within a couple of hours, an independent rep that has been a Linden Tree supporter for many years, called to say he just picked up the LPP account and would be our rep for LPP. He even suggested we give Rana a call (not knowing that Dianne had just been on the phone with her) to introduce ourselves. We are very excited about carrying this new line of books.

Rana DiOrio and Land Wilson, two of our award-winning authors, will be at your Earth Day Celebration for readings and activities on April 22nd. Can you tell us a little bit more about this event?


We are very excited. Rana and Land will be providing book readings and leading discussions with the children about what it means to be green, what is means to preserve the earth and what we can all learn from each other regarding Earth Day. We are looking at this as our launch for LPP in our store. We are fortunate to live in an area where everyone seems to have awareness for the environment, and this event will make the education of the environment fun for all.
For more information about this Sunday’s event, click here.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Linden Tree?

As an independent bookstore, we are here for the community we support. We are a part of the community in so many ways. We provide a variety of roles: social gathering spot for families, for children who need an outlet from the stress of their lives, and for readers of all ages. Linden Tree believes in giving back to the community as well. We support, via donations and events, many school libraries, school fundraising, non-profit fundraising and more. We hope the community will think twice about buying online or from a big-box retailer….are those enterprises sponsoring your local school walk-a-thon?

Thank you Linden Tree, for your support of Little Pickle Press! We look forward to continuing this relationship!

Featured Customer of the Month: Linden Tree Books

By Cameron Crane

As an independent children’s book publisher, there is nothing more special than coming across a wonderful independent bookstore serendipitously. Such was the case with Linden Tree Children’s Books, our featured customer of the month this April. Today, please welcome Dianne Edmonds of Linden Tree.

How did Linden Tree come to be?

Linden Tree Children’s Records and Books was a labor of love from Linda and Dennis Ronberg. They opened 1981 in Los Altos with an excellent selection of children’s recordings, a broad inventory of books, and a selection of puppets and book-related gifts. Two years ago, the Ronberg’s announced they were ready to retire and were looking for a buyer for the bookstore. Jill Curcio and I, local parents and loyal customers, researched the possibility of forming a partnership and buying the store. We are thrilled to be carrying on the tradition of offering the highest quality of children’s literature to a supportive and appreciative community.

What makes Linden Tree so special?

Everyone has a “Linden Tree story”; whether it’s the loyal customers who have been coming for years (we now even have second generation of Linden Tree customers!), the Linden Tree reputation for superior customer service and literary knowledge, the dedicated staff, the community gathering spot — all of these components create an environment that people of all ages just want to be a part of it.

We love Linden Tree’s mission of “igniting imaginations”. How do you make this happen?
Jill and I made it a top priority when we bought the store to bring Linden Tree current and we did this taking what was happening inside the store and putting into our new logo and colors. Allowing imaginations to grow happens at every age and can happen with any book. We stock the most creative and unique books, side-by-side with the classics. The staff then adds the last part of the magic of getting that right book into the right hands.

What is your favorite part about owning and running Linden Tree?

For both of us, it’s about keeping a local, independent bookstore in our community AND making it community. We are both passionate about children, children’s reading and watching the imagination grow for all readers.

How did you find out about Little Pickle Press? What has your experience selling Little Pickle Press books been like?
Our relationship with Little Pickle Press just started recently, but we had heard about LPP from other sources. Just as we were ready to give you a call and find out if you marketed direct or through a rep, two things happened in the same day that gave us the sign this would be a wonderful relationship: first, Dianne had a fabulous introduction and phone call with Rana regarding the Earth Day event. That call ended with Rana and Dianne agreeing that Linden Tree would be a perfect site to sell LPP publications. Both companies had similar missions and focus. Then, within a couple of hours, an independent rep that has been a Linden Tree supporter for many years, called to say he just picked up the LPP account and would be our rep for LPP. He even suggested we give Rana a call (not knowing that Dianne had just been on the phone with her) to introduce ourselves. We are very excited about carrying this new line of books.
Rana DiOrio and Land Wilson, two of our award-winning authors, will be at your Earth Day Celebration for readings and activities on April 22nd. Can you tell us a little bit more about this event?


We are very excited. Rana and Land will be providing book readings and leading discussions with the children about what it means to be green, what is means to preserve the earth and what we can all learn from each other regarding Earth Day. We are looking at this as our launch for LPP in our store. We are fortunate to live in an area where everyone seems to have awareness for the environment, and this event will make the education of the environment fun for all.
For more information about this Sunday’s event, click here.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about Linden Tree?

As an independent bookstore, we are here for the community we support. We are a part of the community in so many ways. We provide a variety of roles: social gathering spot for families, for children who need an outlet from the stress of their lives, and for readers of all ages. Linden Tree believes in giving back to the community as well. We support, via donations and events, many school libraries, school fundraising, non-profit fundraising and more. We hope the community will think twice about buying online or from a big-box retailer….are those enterprises sponsoring your local school walk-a-thon?

Thank you Linden Tree, for your support of Little Pickle Press! We look forward to continuing this relationship!

We Will Be Attending LATFOB!

By Cameron Crane

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
April 21-22, 2012
Sat 10 AM – 6 PM
Sun 10 AM – 5 PM

One of my favorite things to do as a Marketing Associate for Little Pickle Press is to work in the LPP Booth at the various events and conferences we attend. There is nothing more rewarding to me than watching somebody fall in love with one of our titles, and I absolutely love meeting the parents, educators, and children who support our mission. That is why I am extremely excited to be heading down to Los Angeles this weekend, to represent LPP at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFOB).

LATFOB is one of the country’s largest celebrations of the written word, where “for one weekend in April, people who love books will gather with people who love to write, publish, and sell books. And, there’s nothing like it anywhere.” As somebody who both loves books and sells them, I could not think of anywhere else I would rather be.

Here are some of my goals for this weekend:

To spend quality time with our digital partner, Kite Readers. This year, we are extremely excited to be sharing Booth 557 with Kite Readers, the amazing digital developers with whom we have developed numerous e-books and the award-winning Being Global app. Together, Little Pickle Press and Kite Readers have had a great year — diving into the new and exciting world of children’s media, winning a 2012 Appy Award for Best Multicultural Media App, and most recently winning a PubWest Gold Award for Design. I hope that this weekend we can continue to celebrate the amazing industry that we are a part of. We will also be displaying and demoing our latest and greatest digital assets, so be sure to stop by and try them out!

To enjoy the festival and connect with our readers. As previously mentioned, the opportunity to connect with readers is my favorite part of any festival. LATFOB is special because it is attended heavily by families, so unlike many of the events we attend, children will have the opportunity to browse our titles. There are over 140,000 people attending the event this year. I cannot wait to meet both the dedicated and new readers of our titles. If you are going to be at the festival, make sure to connect with us!

To connect with other vendors at the event. Of course, while I will be in the Little Pickle Press booth for the majority of the event, I cannot wait to see which other booksellers will be present. As an avid reader, I am looking forward to discovering new books to fall in love with. Luckily, I am driving down to the event, and can load up the car with as many books as I please!

To spread the word about the Label GMO campaign to require labeling of all genetically-engineered food ingredients. The deadline to reach 800,000 signatures is April 22nd, so Little Pickle Press has decided to help get the message out. The ballot seeks to make sure that American consumers will have a choice to purchase or not purchase foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. To support the cause and help spread the word, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has donated over 160,000 packets of San Marzano tomato seeds, with printed information about how to give your signature. We will be handing out free seed packets at our booth, so stop by and add delicious San Marzona tomatoes to your garden!

To share news and updates about the events with you. Be sure to follow Little Pickle Press on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me at @cameron_crane. We will be using #bookfest and #latfob to share news about the event.

If you are in Southern California this weekend, I highly recommend attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Admission is free to the public, and it is sure to be a wonderful event. Don’t forget to visit Little Pickle Press and Kite Readers at Booth 557. We look forward to seeing you there!

We Will Be Attending LATFOB!

By Cameron Crane

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
April 21-22, 2012
Sat 10 AM – 6 PM
Sun 10 AM – 5 PM

One of my favorite things to do as a Marketing Associate for Little Pickle Press is to work in the LPP Booth at the various events and conferences we attend. There is nothing more rewarding to me than watching somebody fall in love with one of our titles, and I absolutely love meeting the parents, educators, and children who support our mission. That is why I am extremely excited to be heading down to Los Angeles this weekend, to represent LPP at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFOB).

LATFOB is one of the country’s largest celebrations of the written word, where “for one weekend in April, people who love books will gather with people who love to write, publish, and sell books. And, there’s nothing like it anywhere.” As somebody who both loves books and sells them, I could not think of anywhere else I would rather be.

Here are some of my goals for this weekend:

To spend quality time with our digital partner, Kite Readers. This year, we are extremely excited to be sharing Booth 557 with Kite Readers, the amazing digital developers with whom we have developed numerous e-books and the award-winning Being Global app. Together, Little Pickle Press and Kite Readers have had a great year — diving into the new and exciting world of children’s media, winning a 2012 Appy Award for Best Multicultural Media App, and most recently winning a PubWest Gold Award for Design. I hope that this weekend we can continue to celebrate the amazing industry that we are a part of. We will also be displaying and demoing our latest and greatest digital assets, so be sure to stop by and try them out!

To enjoy the festival and connect with our readers. As previously mentioned, the opportunity to connect with readers is my favorite part of any festival. LATFOB is special because it is attended heavily by families, so unlike many of the events we attend, children will have the opportunity to browse our titles. There are over 140,000 people attending the event this year. I cannot wait to meet both the dedicated and new readers of our titles. If you are going to be at the festival, make sure to connect with us!

To connect with other vendors at the event. Of course, while I will be in the Little Pickle Press booth for the majority of the event, I cannot wait to see which other booksellers will be present. As an avid reader, I am looking forward to discovering new books to fall in love with. Luckily, I am driving down to the event, and can load up the car with as many books as I please!

To spread the word about the Label GMO campaign to require labeling of all genetically-engineered food ingredients. The deadline to reach 800,000 signatures is April 22nd, so Little Pickle Press has decided to help get the message out. The ballot seeks to make sure that American consumers will have a choice to purchase or not purchase foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. To support the cause and help spread the word, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has donated over 160,000 packets of San Marzano tomato seeds, with printed information about how to give your signature. We will be handing out free seed packets at our booth, so stop by and add delicious San Marzona tomatoes to your garden!

To share news and updates about the events with you. Be sure to follow Little Pickle Press on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow me at @cameron_crane. We will be using #bookfest and #latfob to share news about the event.

If you are in Southern California this weekend, I highly recommend attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Admission is free to the public, and it is sure to be a wonderful event. Don’t forget to visit Little Pickle Press and Kite Readers at Booth 557. We look forward to seeing you there!

We Can Go Green Today

By Cameron Crane

“We are a lot closer to a sustainable future than we think we are.” ~ Scott Ankeny, Founder of GoingGreenToday.com



If you are like 47% of the American population, you believe that you are personally responsible for doing something to help the environment. Chances are, you already have adopted some sort of green practice into your life — whether it is simply recycling, or turning the lights off when you leave a room. Chances also are that there are many additional things you could be doing to reduce your impact. Curious as to what they are? Luckily, a personalized action plan is only a few clicks away.


Scott Ankeny, Founder of GoingGreenToday.com, grew up with an appreciation for nature. Spending his youth living on both a beach and a ranch, he loved the idea of treading lightly. He started GoingGreenToday.com (GGT) in hopes of creating “lasting environmental and social change by making change simple to do and personally rewarding.”

GoingGreenToday.com is a website that offers you the ability to quickly gain information about how you can “be green and still operate in the ‘real world’ where you have families to care for, errands to run, work, and social lives.” Sign up for GGT by filling out a simple survey about your lifestyle, and you will receive a personalized action plan within a few minutes. Thereafter, you will receive a daily action to complete, along with details of exactly how that action benefits the environment AND you. Complete the action plan and Scott guarantees that not only will you have reduced your carbon footprint by 1/3, but you will also have saved $2,000 throughout the year.

“The program works because although we are altruistic, the truth of the matter is that we wake up and have to prioritize our day,” Scott says, “If you know you can do something that will save yourself $5.00 or $105.00, don’t you think you will do it?”

Comprised of information that Scott spent 3 years collecting from over five thousand sources, GGT seeks to empower the individual to play their part in a collective effort toward environmental sustainability.

“I listen to politicians talking about what we are going to do by 2050, and that is just ridiculous. The average person doesn’t think in half-centuries,” Scott says, “We don’t need help to do this, and we don’t need to be saved. It starts here. It starts with the individual.”

Scott hopes that GGT will start a movement, and that his platform will make it possible to inspire others to take action by word of mouth. If GGT can inspire 33% of the population to participate, our outlook will be much more promising.

As you can find in GoingGreenToday.com’s manifesto, their targets are threefold:

Stage 1:
To start the GGT “1/3″ movement by inspiring 1% of the U.S. to take take action with [the] program—1% is the needed number in any population to start a movement. This is 3.1 million Americans…3.1 million people who have reduced their carbon footprint by 1/3, and collective savings of $6,200,000,000.

Stage 2:
To create lasting social change by inspiring 10% of the U.S. take action with [the] “1/3”program —10% is the needed number of any population to solidify the “No Going Back” point. This is 31.3 million Americans…31.3 million people who have reduced their carbon footprints by 1/3, and collective savings of $62,600,000,000.

Stage 3:
To reach the Saturation point with 33% of the U.S. taking action with [the] “1/3” program —the number needed to achieve a 27% total U.S. carbon reduction, which is the number called for by the Kyoto Protocol. This is 103.3 million Americans…103.3 million people who have reduced their carbon footprints by 1/3, and collective savings of $206,600,000,000.

When it is broken down this way, victory does not seem so far out of reach. We don’t have to wait until 2050 to make a difference. We can do this today! Sign up for GGT and see what your action plan looks like! You can even register with Facebook to further tailor your action plan to your lifestyle.

Thank you Scott and GoingGreenToday.com for making a difference, and helping us to do the same!

We Can Go Green Today

By Cameron Crane

“We are a lot closer to a sustainable future than we think we are.” ~ Scott Ankeny, Founder of GoingGreenToday.com


If you are like 47% of the American population, you believe that you are personally responsible for doing something to help the environment. Chances are, you already have adopted some sort of green practice into your life — whether it is simply recycling, or turning the lights off when you leave a room. Chances also are that there are many additional things you could be doing to reduce your impact. Curious as to what they are? Luckily, a personalized action plan is only a few clicks away.

Scott Ankeny, Founder of GoingGreenToday.com, grew up with an appreciation for nature. Spending his youth living on both a beach and a ranch, he loved the idea of treading lightly. He started GoingGreenToday.com (GGT) in hopes of creating “lasting environmental and social change by making change simple to do and personally rewarding.”

GoingGreenToday.com is a website that offers you the ability to quickly gain information about how you can “be green and still operate in the ‘real world’ where you have families to care for, errands to run, work, and social lives.” Sign up for GGT by filling out a simple survey about your lifestyle, and you will receive a personalized action plan within a few minutes. Thereafter, you will receive a daily action to complete, along with details of exactly how that action benefits the environment AND you. Complete the action plan and Scott guarantees that not only will you have reduced your carbon footprint by 1/3, but you will also have saved $2,000 throughout the year.

“The program works because although we are altruistic, the truth of the matter is that we wake up and have to prioritize our day,” Scott says, “If you know you can do something that will save yourself $5.00 or $105.00, don’t you think you will do it?”

Comprised of information that Scott spent 3 years collecting from over five thousand sources, GGT seeks to empower the individual to play their part in a collective effort toward environmental sustainability.

“I listen to politicians talking about what we are going to do by 2050, and that is just ridiculous. The average person doesn’t think in half-centuries,” Scott says, “We don’t need help to do this, and we don’t need to be saved. It starts here. It starts with the individual.”

Scott hopes that GGT will start a movement, and that his platform will make it possible to inspire others to take action by word of mouth. If GGT can inspire 33% of the population to participate, our outlook will be much more promising.

As you can find in GoingGreenToday.com’s manifesto, their targets are threefold:

Stage 1:
To start the GGT “1/3″ movement by inspiring 1% of the U.S. to take take action with [the] program—1% is the needed number in any population to start a movement. This is 3.1 million Americans…3.1 million people who have reduced their carbon footprint by 1/3, and collective savings of $6,200,000,000.

Stage 2:
To create lasting social change by inspiring 10% of the U.S. take action with [the] “1/3”program —10% is the needed number of any population to solidify the “No Going Back” point. This is 31.3 million Americans…31.3 million people who have reduced their carbon footprints by 1/3, and collective savings of $62,600,000,000.

Stage 3:
To reach the Saturation point with 33% of the U.S. taking action with [the] “1/3” program —the number needed to achieve a 27% total U.S. carbon reduction, which is the number called for by the Kyoto Protocol. This is 103.3 million Americans…103.3 million people who have reduced their carbon footprints by 1/3, and collective savings of $206,600,000,000.

When it is broken down this way, victory does not seem so far out of reach. We don’t have to wait until 2050 to make a difference. We can do this today! Sign up for GGT and see what your action plan looks like! You can even register with Facebook to further tailor your action plan to your lifestyle.

Thank you Scott and GoingGreenToday.com for making a difference, and helping us to do the same!

Young Writer of the Month: Olivia Tucker

On a cold, rainy day last November, in Language Arts class, I was in a situation any reasonable fifth grader would’ve been in at the time. I was bored out of my mind.
It was a Friday, and like everybody else, I was dying to get out of school. It didn’t help that, with it being close to winter break, everyone was already antsy to be free at last. Add the rain and enthralling thoughts of the weekend, and we were a nightmare! Let me out! I wanted to scream.
I glanced at the clock. Tick, tick, tick. Just one more hour. Tick , tick, tick. Make that fifty-nine more minutes.
Although we had a free writing period, which normally I would’ve loved, today I hated it. I had just finished another story, and was fresh out of ideas. To waste some time, I walked over to my friend, Bella.
“Hey,” I whispered, being sure not to disturb her from her writing. “What’s up?”
Her eyes didn’t even lift up from the screen as she handed me a thin, yet heavily-worded packet of paper. “Read this,” she said quietly. I obliged. I always loved Bella’s stories.
Fifteen minutes later, I lifted my eyes from the paper. “What is this?” I asked softly. “It’s amazing!”
She started to reply, “It’s my NaNoWriMo… ,” but got cut off by the loud end-of-the-period bell.  School was over. Yes!
I sighed, knowing I wouldn’t find my answer until that night at Amici’s, where we were having dinner. “Well, goodbye!” I called to her, my bags swinging over my shoulder as I hurried out of the classroom. It wasn’t until that night when I would remember NaNoWriMo again.
“So, what’s the deal with NaNo-what’s-it-called?” I asked her, my mouth full of pizza. Without even stopping for air, she blasted me with a full description of the program.
“So, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, where in one month exactly, you write a 50,000-word novel. That is, if you do the version for 13-up. I’m doing the junior, where you can set your own limit.”
“You go on the site to sign up,” she continued, “and every day you can go on and log your current word count on the site, and it shows your progress and how far you are to the finish. I’m doing Saving Lucky, the story you saw today.” She nodded appreciatively. “Pretty cool stuff.”
I was entranced by the idea of a writing website,  and a writing competition at that. “Cool!” I exclaimed. “When can I start?”
The next morning, I searched National Novel Writing Month, and clicked on the first result that showed. Nanowrimo.com, it read. I was immediately drawn in by the clean look of the site, and set up an account right away. Within minutes, I was working on a brand-new novel.
For the next 30 days, I immersed myself in the world of Miranda, Bennett, Tabby, and company. I thought about my story constantly, just waiting until I could get home to work on it. As it grew and grew, I kept thinking about what would’ve happened if I hadn’t decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. None of these characters, no glimpse of this story, would’ve even existed without it! I felt so, well… blessed.
Yeah, I guess NaNoWriMo was a blessing. When I finished, I was relieved, but happy. Really, really happy. I had learned a lot about writing, and the pressure it brings. But, I had also learned that writing is a journey, and it can’t be rushed.
Unless, of course,  you are partaking in National Novel Writing Month!
~~~~~~ 
Olivia Tucker is a middleschool student and an aspiring author.  She loves reading, writing, and being with her friends. Demons on the Dark Side will be coming to Amazon.com soon!

Young Writer of the Month: Olivia Tucker

On a cold, rainy day last November, in Language Arts class, I was in a situation any reasonable fifth grader would’ve been in at the time. I was bored out of my mind.
It was a Friday, and like everybody else, I was dying to get out of school. It didn’t help that, with it being close to winter break, everyone was already antsy to be free at last. Add the rain and enthralling thoughts of the weekend, and we were a nightmare! Let me out! I wanted to scream.
I glanced at the clock. Tick, tick, tick. Just one more hour. Tick , tick, tick. Make that fifty-nine more minutes.
Although we had a free writing period, which normally I would’ve loved, today I hated it. I had just finished another story, and was fresh out of ideas. To waste some time, I walked over to my friend, Bella.
“Hey,” I whispered, being sure not to disturb her from her writing. “What’s up?”
Her eyes didn’t even lift up from the screen as she handed me a thin, yet heavily-worded packet of paper. “Read this,” she said quietly. I obliged. I always loved Bella’s stories.
Fifteen minutes later, I lifted my eyes from the paper. “What is this?” I asked softly. “It’s amazing!”
She started to reply, “It’s my NaNoWriMo… ,” but got cut off by the loud end-of-the-period bell.  School was over. Yes!
I sighed, knowing I wouldn’t find my answer until that night at Amici’s, where we were having dinner. “Well, goodbye!” I called to her, my bags swinging over my shoulder as I hurried out of the classroom. It wasn’t until that night when I would remember NaNoWriMo again.
“So, what’s the deal with NaNo-what’s-it-called?” I asked her, my mouth full of pizza. Without even stopping for air, she blasted me with a full description of the program.
“So, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, where in one month exactly, you write a 50,000-word novel. That is, if you do the version for 13-up. I’m doing the junior, where you can set your own limit.”
“You go on the site to sign up,” she continued, “and every day you can go on and log your current word count on the site, and it shows your progress and how far you are to the finish. I’m doing Saving Lucky, the story you saw today.” She nodded appreciatively. “Pretty cool stuff.”
I was entranced by the idea of a writing website,  and a writing competition at that. “Cool!” I exclaimed. “When can I start?”
The next morning, I searched National Novel Writing Month, and clicked on the first result that showed. Nanowrimo.com, it read. I was immediately drawn in by the clean look of the site, and set up an account right away. Within minutes, I was working on a brand-new novel.
For the next 30 days, I immersed myself in the world of Miranda, Bennett, Tabby, and company. I thought about my story constantly, just waiting until I could get home to work on it. As it grew and grew, I kept thinking about what would’ve happened if I hadn’t decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. None of these characters, no glimpse of this story, would’ve even existed without it! I felt so, well… blessed.
Yeah, I guess NaNoWriMo was a blessing. When I finished, I was relieved, but happy. Really, really happy. I had learned a lot about writing, and the pressure it brings. But, I had also learned that writing is a journey, and it can’t be rushed.
Unless, of course,  you are partaking in National Novel Writing Month!
~~~~~~ 
Olivia Tucker is a middleschool student and an aspiring author.  She loves reading, writing, and being with her friends. Demons on the Dark Side will be coming to Amazon.com soon!

Introducing Earth Day to Children – Where Do We Start?

By Marnie Craycroft

Earth Day topics are big and complex. So, how should we parents, educators and caretakers approach guiding our children toward environmental responsibility? At almost three years and 15 months old, my sons are still relatively young to tackle this topic, right? Not necessarily.

Earth Day Activities

We are never too young (or too old for that matter) to grasp even the biggest concepts and ideas within many facets of life. I prefer to give children credit for “getting it”. So, I am confident that I can begin to instill healthy habits, including those habits of environmental responsibility, in my children now.

So, here are a few ways we’re integrating Earth Day into our home:

  1. Service – Learning by doing is so effective. In our home, we’re implementing a weekly community trash pick-up around our neighborhood. We’ll wear our gloves and carry a trash bag. We love walking and exploring the colors, smells, and textures so this project is an extension to our meanderings.
  2. Gardening – What better way to celebrate the earth than by getting our hands dirty? Our three-year-old took great pride in turning the soil and planting peas, strawberries, blueberries, and potatoes. He likes to go check on his plants. Understanding the connection between our Earth’s soil and plants is one that will last a lifetime. Two great books to go along with this concept are The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus and How A Seed Grows by Helene Jordan. How A Seed Grows is a perfect book to accompany an easy first-experience planting activity with your children.
  3. Trip to the Farmer’s Market – Buying from local farmers is a wonderful, hands on way for children to learn the Farm to Table concept. We adore Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington which brings this idea home. Farmers’ Markets are great because the colors, textures, and often smells provide a rich environment for learning.
  4. Local Farmers markets are a great way to introduce ideas behind Earth Day.

  1. Books – We have many books lined up for teaching big topics, like environmental responsibility. Two of our favorite books are What Does It Mean to Be Green? and Sofia’s Dream. Thank you, Little Pickle Press, for producing such quality reading for our little spirits. Others include Oh Say Can You Seed by Bonnie Worth, Stuff! by Steven Kroll, Recycle by Gail Gibbons, Earth Day: An Alphabet Book by Gary Kowalski, Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley, Planet Earth by Leonie Pratt, and Earth Day Birthday by Maureen Wright.
  2. Activities – Inspired by Allie at No Time for Flashcards, I created a very practical sorting activity that would help my son (and me for that matter) truly understand what items belong in which container. We also created an Earth from an Egg Carton and an Earth Resist Painting.
  3. Earth Day Resist Painting
    Resist painting is simple and versatile.

  1. Sensory – Combining two of more senses into an activity will not only help your child’s brain development but will make for a wonderful experience for your child. A few ways we are doing or have done this approach include Going on a Color Hunt, a nature scavenger hunt around our neighborhood using an egg carton as a collecting “basket”, a garden sensory bin, implemented a traditional Montessori Nature Basket, an Earth Day Themed Bath and an Earth Day Themed Sensory Bin.
  2. Earth Day Sensory Tub

  3. Teachable Moments – There are teachable moments every day. Using these moments has been very effective for us helping ingrain ideas, behavior, and concepts. I am also better able to include my children in every day work around our home. For example, today, I was about to dump coffee grinds into the kitchen compost when I heard the pitter patter of my son, “Watchya doin’, Mom?”. So I whipped the compost bin down off the counter and showed him how to dump the grinds by tapping the filter on the edge of the bin. We talked about what he was doing and why. I think he got it. Sure we teach by modeling, but why not include our children? “This helps make soil, Mama?” Bingo.

On a final note, I encourage you to check out a wonderful Earth Day Link Up & Blog Hop at Teach Preschool and my collaborative Earth Day Pinterest Board. These sites are great resources with amazing activities and ideas that I am sure you will enjoy with your family.

Thank you for choosing to read this article. I hope that we have inspired you today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Marnie is founder and writer of Carrots Are Orange, a blog focused on Montessori inspired ideas and activities, teaching kids about money and musings on parenting. She is a big proponent of positive discipline and nurturing creativity in our children. After nearly a decade in the investment management industry, this MBA turned Mama is currently pursuing her Early Childhood Montessori certification. Marnie graduated with a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and earned her MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Hailing from Maine, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young sons. You can connect with Marnie on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She looks forward to getting to know you.

<a HREF=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Foraareora-20%2F8005%2Fc16f5950-7f9f-4155-8ae7-8feefb7a2d6a&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</a>

Introducing Earth Day to Children – Where Do We Start?

By Marnie Craycroft

Earth Day topics are big and complex. So, how should we parents, educators and caretakers approach guiding our children toward environmental responsibility? At almost three years and 15 months old, my sons are still relatively young to tackle this topic, right? Not necessarily.

Earth Day Activities

We are never too young (or too old for that matter) to grasp even the biggest concepts and ideas within many facets of life. I prefer to give children credit for “getting it”. So, I am confident that I can begin to instill healthy habits, including those habits of environmental responsibility, in my children now.

So, here are a few ways we’re integrating Earth Day into our home:

  1. Service – Learning by doing is so effective. In our home, we’re implementing a weekly community trash pick-up around our neighborhood. We’ll wear our gloves and carry a trash bag. We love walking and exploring the colors, smells, and textures so this project is an extension to our meanderings.
  2. Gardening – What better way to celebrate the earth than by getting our hands dirty? Our three-year-old took great pride in turning the soil and planting peas, strawberries, blueberries, and potatoes. He likes to go check on his plants. Understanding the connection between our Earth’s soil and plants is one that will last a lifetime. Two great books to go along with this concept are The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus and How A Seed Grows by Helene Jordan. How A Seed Grows is a perfect book to accompany an easy first-experience planting activity with your children.
  3. Trip to the Farmer’s Market – Buying from local farmers is a wonderful, hands on way for children to learn the Farm to Table concept. We adore Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington which brings this idea home. Farmers’ Markets are great because the colors, textures, and often smells provide a rich environment for learning.
  4. Local Farmers markets are a great way to introduce ideas behind Earth Day.

  1. Books – We have many books lined up for teaching big topics, like environmental responsibility. Two of our favorite books are What Does It Mean to Be Green? and Sofia’s Dream. Thank you, Little Pickle Press, for producing such quality reading for our little spirits. Others include Oh Say Can You Seed by Bonnie Worth, Stuff! by Steven Kroll, Recycle by Gail Gibbons, Earth Day: An Alphabet Book by Gary Kowalski, Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley, Planet Earth by Leonie Pratt, and Earth Day Birthday by Maureen Wright.
  2. Activities – Inspired by Allie at No Time for Flashcards, I created a very practical sorting activity that would help my son (and me for that matter) truly understand what items belong in which container. We also created an Earth from an Egg Carton and an Earth Resist Painting.
  3. Earth Day Resist Painting
    Resist painting is simple and versatile.

  1. Sensory – Combining two of more senses into an activity will not only help your child’s brain development but will make for a wonderful experience for your child. A few ways we are doing or have done this approach include Going on a Color Hunt, a nature scavenger hunt around our neighborhood using an egg carton as a collecting “basket”, a garden sensory bin, implemented a traditional Montessori Nature Basket, an Earth Day Themed Bath and an Earth Day Themed Sensory Bin.
  2. Earth Day Sensory Tub

  3. Teachable Moments – There are teachable moments every day. Using these moments has been very effective for us helping ingrain ideas, behavior, and concepts. I am also better able to include my children in every day work around our home. For example, today, I was about to dump coffee grinds into the kitchen compost when I heard the pitter patter of my son, “Watchya doin’, Mom?”. So I whipped the compost bin down off the counter and showed him how to dump the grinds by tapping the filter on the edge of the bin. We talked about what he was doing and why. I think he got it. Sure we teach by modeling, but why not include our children? “This helps make soil, Mama?” Bingo.

On a final note, I encourage you to check out a wonderful Earth Day Link Up & Blog Hop at Teach Preschool and my collaborative Earth Day Pinterest Board. These sites are great resources with amazing activities and ideas that I am sure you will enjoy with your family.

Thank you for choosing to read this article. I hope that we have inspired you today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Marnie is founder and writer of Carrots Are Orange, a blog focused on Montessori inspired ideas and activities, teaching kids about money and musings on parenting. She is a big proponent of positive discipline and nurturing creativity in our children. After nearly a decade in the investment management industry, this MBA turned Mama is currently pursuing her Early Childhood Montessori certification. Marnie graduated with a BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and earned her MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business. Hailing from Maine, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two young sons. You can connect with Marnie on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She looks forward to getting to know you.

<a HREF=”http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&MarketPlace=US&ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Foraareora-20%2F8005%2Fc16f5950-7f9f-4155-8ae7-8feefb7a2d6a&Operation=NoScript”>Amazon.com Widgets</a>

Introducing Artterro’s Kickstarter Campaign

By Forrest Espinoza


Hello! I’m Forrest Espinoza, Founder of Artterro. Along with my business partner, Jennifer Conn, I make eco art kits that are loved by kids and creative adults. Each kit is packed with natural, artist-quality materials and fun project ideas like needle-felted portraits and wire and bead sculptures. They encourage truly creative art exploration, and they’re a lot of fun to do as a family or with friends.


Since Little Pickle Press has such creative and eco-conscious readers, I thought you might be interested in our exciting Kickstarter Campaign. Through this campaign, we’re raising funding for our next production run at Goodwill Industries, where our kits are assembled by people with special needs. Not familiar with Kickstarter? This “crowd-funding” website lets artists and creative companies bypass traditional banks and investors by going directly to their communities to find many backers. Backers can give a little bit or a lot in exchange for a variety of unique rewards. In our case, the rewards are various selections of Artterro kits at a great price.

So, why support Artterro via Kickstarter instead of ordering from our website or elsewhere?

  1. When you support an up-and-coming business on Kickstarter, you’re voting with your dollars in favor of innovation, creativity, and grassroots economic development.
  2. This campaign will help us spread the word about Artterro. Campaigns are designed to be easily shareable, so hopefully you’ll tell your friends and families who will tell their friends and so on.
  3. The infusion of sales will allow us to fund our next production run up-front, which greatly improves our cash flow during our slowest season.

We cannot do this without a lot of help from people like you. We need to spread the word far and wide to help this campaign gain momentum and get off the ground fast! Kickstarter is all or nothing, if we don’t reach our goal, we don’t get funded and no one is charged. Here’s what you can do:

  • Click here to check out our campaign and very cool video
  • Pledge to our campaign
  • Link to our campaign on Facebook and Twitter
  • Forward this blog post to family, friends and co-workers

And please let us know what you think of this crowd-funding idea! We hope that it will help us grow into a bigger, better, even more creative and sustainable Artterro.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you, Little Pickle Press!

Introducing Artterro’s Kickstarter Campaign

By Forrest Espinoza


Hello! I’m Forrest Espinoza, Founder of Artterro. Along with my business partner, Jennifer Conn, I make eco art kits that are loved by kids and creative adults. Each kit is packed with natural, artist-quality materials and fun project ideas like needle-felted portraits and wire and bead sculptures. They encourage truly creative art exploration, and they’re a lot of fun to do as a family or with friends.

Since Little Pickle Press has such creative and eco-conscious readers, I thought you might be interested in our exciting Kickstarter Campaign. Through this campaign, we’re raising funding for our next production run at Goodwill Industries, where our kits are assembled by people with special needs. Not familiar with Kickstarter? This “crowd-funding” website lets artists and creative companies bypass traditional banks and investors by going directly to their communities to find many backers. Backers can give a little bit or a lot in exchange for a variety of unique rewards. In our case, the rewards are various selections of Artterro kits at a great price.

So, why support Artterro via Kickstarter instead of ordering from our website or elsewhere?

  1. When you support an up-and-coming business on Kickstarter, you’re voting with your dollars in favor of innovation, creativity, and grassroots economic development.
  2. This campaign will help us spread the word about Artterro. Campaigns are designed to be easily shareable, so hopefully you’ll tell your friends and families who will tell their friends and so on.
  3. The infusion of sales will allow us to fund our next production run up-front, which greatly improves our cash flow during our slowest season.

We cannot do this without a lot of help from people like you. We need to spread the word far and wide to help this campaign gain momentum and get off the ground fast! Kickstarter is all or nothing, if we don’t reach our goal, we don’t get funded and no one is charged. Here’s what you can do:

  • Click here to check out our campaign and very cool video
  • Pledge to our campaign
  • Link to our campaign on Facebook and Twitter
  • Forward this blog post to family, friends and co-workers

And please let us know what you think of this crowd-funding idea! We hope that it will help us grow into a bigger, better, even more creative and sustainable Artterro.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you, Little Pickle Press!