If you've been reading my blog, you know that I had the privilege of attending the Highlights Foundation Nature Writing workshop a few weeks ago. If you were paying attention you know that my faculty mentor there was Dianna Hutts Aston, author of An Egg is Quiet, A Butterfly is Patient, and the recent Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers. Among others. If you want to read a good picture book, check these out.
Dianna is an award-winning author of many picture books. But she is probably best known for her natural history series (also including A Seed is Sleepy) with Chronicle Books and illustrator Sylvia Long. My favorite however, is the Egg book. It is colorful and clear and takes something we all know about, but probably take for granted, and opens up a doorway into nature's beauty. The simplicity and complexity of eggs shine through.
I suppose I might be considered a biased judge of this book, due to the fact that I got to work with (and came to like very much) Dianna for three days, and the Highlights folks gave us each a copy of this book. Even so, learning from Dianna and the other faculty altered my sense of what makes a good picture book, and my understanding grew in leaps and bounds. I was amazed at the change in what I wrote, and what I could see was possible for myself.
Dianna is also the founder of a non-profit organization in the Mexican town where she lives, called The Oz Project. Their purpose is to offer underprivilged and poor kids a chance to change their perspective on life by getting a ride in a hot air balloon. When you give kids, or anyone for that matter, a chance to see the world in a new way, you can inspire them to turn their dreams into realities. Dianna is a big advocate for BIG dreams, and she has thoughtfully and loudly encouraged me to follow my own dream of being a published writer. This seems to be her theme.
Dianna is offering her own writer's workshop this October in the Mexican town where she lives. Imagine three days in a beautiful setting, with great food, other aspiring writers, and one on one time with Dianna to work on your craft. If you want to learn to write nonfiction for kids, if you love her books and want to understand her techniques, or if you simply want to see the world in a new way, check out her website to sign up. I assure you that you will be inspired, and that your will leave your work with Dianna ready to take on the world and follow your own dreams.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Read more at the STEM friday blog.