A writer inspired by nature and human nature


BAS Author logo stamp 2015I am a writer inspired by nature and human nature.

I love people, nature, art, music and literature.

I advocate for kids and families, childhood literacy and for the protection of monarch butterflies and their threatened habitat in my books, my poetry and on my blog. My blog supports Indie and traditional authors, features great books and poetry and provides tips for writers and readers as well. Be sure to check out the tabs at the top of my blog and leave a comment or two. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I look forward to chatting with you. — Bette A. Stevens

Brief Bio: Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming of age novel published in January 2015.

Inspired by nature BAS Dec 2015

BOOK BLURBS:

DOG BONE SOUP is not only a fabulous title for a novel, it’s also the staple diet of the young hero, Shawn Daniels . But it takes more than an impoverished family life, exacerbated by a drunken father, to keep our Shawn and his brothers and sisters down.”

PURE TRASH is an emotional and soul-searching short story read. Compassion is a beautiful thing.”

Inspire the kids with AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning Monarch Butterfly picture book adventure! (ages 4-11)

CLICK, LOOK & LISTEN as author Pamela Beckford reads AMAZING MATILDA for United Way’s Childhood Literacy Progam:

Encourage the kids (elementary and middle-graders) with THE TANGRAM ZOO & Word Puzzles Too!—a great resource for home or school. Puzzles, poetry, reading, research, writing and projects too!

 I would  love to hear from you (comments below).

  • Find out more about author Bette A. Stevens and take a  “Look inside” her books at YOUR AMAZON.

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DOG BONE SOUP on kindle 2Celebrate Love Month this year with a hearty helping of DOG BONE SOUP, a novel by Bette A. Stevens. The soup’s simmering and it’s on sale for ONLY 99¢ from February 7th through 14th. Set in the 1950s and 60s, DOG BONE SOUP is the coming-of-age saga of a poor boy growing up in rural New England. In DOG BONE SOUP, you’re sure to discover why “Compassion is such a beautiful thing.” Already have your copy? Please share the news with your friends!

Latest ✰✰✰✰✰ book review:

‘Wow! I don’t know where to start with this story. Every now and then a book comes along that really makes an impression on you. Dog Bone Soup is one of those books. I didn’t grow up in the 1950s, but I didn’t have to because the author put me smack-dab in the middle of them (then later in the 60s).

‘Told from oldest son Shawn’s point-of-view Dog Bone Soup is the tale of the Daniels family. Shawn is bright and intelligent, devoted to his younger siblings and his mother. He’d hold he same regard for his father if the man didn’t go on drinking binges and turn on Shawn’s mother.

‘With a father who is considered the town drunk, and a family forced to eke out a hardscrabble living, Shawn dreams of escaping and one day becoming an Air Force pilot.

‘If this story sounds bleak, it’s far from it. Rather it is a vividly told tale of a family that finds ways to circumvent the poverty in which they live. There is so much heart here—devoted, honorable characters who do what’s necessary to survive. The descriptions and the settings soar off the pages. Read Dog Bone Soup and you’ll know what it feels like to go flying down a hill on your bicycle, hike to the creek to catch fish for dinner, or turn in empty bottles for penny candy. I devoured this book in two nights. Pick it up once and it’s extremely hard to put down. Highly recommended!’ ~Mae Clair, author

If you’ve already read DOG BONE SOUP and enjoyed it, I invite you to share this post. If you haven’t tasted it yet, I invite you to celebrate Love Month by downloading a copy on YOUR AMAZON for only 99¢ from February 7th-10th.

HAPPY LOVE MONTH, FRIENDS!

Bette A. Stevens

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Grateful! ~ Bette A. Stevens, http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Sacred Touches

The Gift

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

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So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
~Mary Oliver

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. ~Psalm 147:7  ✝

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Share the gift of reading…
IT NEVER STOPS GIVING! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Dayne Sislen Illustration

These six steps will start your children on the road to a lifetime of learning and reading.

  1. Read to children as often as possible. If you expose them to reading early and often, it will become a pleasurable experience they will want to repeat when they read on their own.
  2. Picture books can help struggling readers to comprehend a story before they can read all the words. Let them enjoy the process, without getting bogged down with the exact words. Let children ‘pretend to read’ using the pictures for guidance.SCBWI_Postcard_sm_sq_WP
  3. Encourage young children to write and illustrate their own stories. Children have great ideas, make sure they are able to express these ideas freely.
  4. Set aside family reading or story time. This can be a read-aloud by the parent or by an older child. As children get older, this time can set aside just for independent reading, for adults (yes, you too)…

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“Beautifully Written” ~ Jo Robinson

“A Window into a Baby Boomer’s Saturday.”
~ Christina Steiner

“A child’s perspective in everyday cruelty captured beautifully…” ~ Maria Catalina Egan

PURE TRASH MustRead Prequel to DBS

PURE TRASH, a short story adventure (ages 11–adult) by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

#FREE eBook (Limited Time) FEBRUARY 6th – 10th

In this short story adventure set in New England in the 1950s, two young boys set out on a Saturday adventure you won’t want to miss! Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard-earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP.

PT Authorgraph

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A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpi...

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) caterpillar feeding on a leaf of the Swamp Milkweeden (Asclepias incarnata) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest recognizes excellence in children's literature.

Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest recognizes excellence in children’s literature.

AM Look Inside NEW 2015AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale is a children’s picture book about a monarch caterpillar who only wants to fly. “How can a creature without wings every hope to fly?” Matilda’s friends wonder as they laugh at the tiny caterpillar. As Matilda progresses from egg to butterfly she learns that if she keeps trying, she can do anything that she really wants to do. AMAZING MATILDA’s storyline and illustrations follow the actual life cycle of the monarch butterfly and includes milkweed, an environmentally near-threatened plant. Milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat.

Judges of the 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in children’s literature, have spoken, and AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale by Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens, won Honorable Mention in the Picture Books – 6 & Older category.

“Winning any place in the Purple Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score of 72 out of 80 must be earned for a first-place award, 64 out of 80 for a second place and 56 out of 80 for an honorable mention – even if it is the sole entry in a category,” explains Linda F. Radke, president of Five Star Publications, Inc., the sponsor of the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. “Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print.”

The book retails for $9.49 (paperback) and $3.99 (kindle/eReader) and can be purchased on YOUR AMAZON  or ask for it at your favorite bookstore. GET the eBook for #FREE when you purchase the paperback from Amazon.

You can find out more about the author and her books…

AM Look Inside NEW 2015

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Inspiration on a cold winter's day: Late summer roses from our Farmstead in Central Maine

A winter day’s inspiration: Late summer roses at the Farmstead in Central Maine

Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit. I’m a writer inspired by nature and human nature—one who needed an extra bit of inspiration on a cold winter’s day. These roses are a vintage variety from last summer’s garden (originally dug from the edge of the woods and transplanted by us in 2006) at our Farmstead in Central Maine. May they brighten your winter’s day! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

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Singing along… ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreadres.com

Sacred Touches

The birds they sing at break of day,
“Start again…” I hear them say.
~Leonard Cohen

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Nourish beginnings,
let us nourish beginnings.
Not all things are blest,
but the seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. ~John 12:24  ✝

**Image of European robin via Pinterest

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Barbara Ann Mojica author pic

Barbara Ann Mojica, author of The Little Miss HISTORY series

After reading, thoroughly enjoying and recommending several books in Barbara Ann Mojica’s Little Miss History series to friends, I was delighted when the author provided me with a copy of her latest book. As a retired teacher, I love to spread the word about wonderful new children’s books and Mojica’s series is sure to get kids hooked on history. In her latest book, Little Miss History travels to Ellis Island, the main character takes readers through the museum where we find intriguing facts, photos and illustrations encapsulating the history of Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty while uncovering the plight of many of the immigrants who entered America through its gates. Although I had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island as a teen, I discovered aspects of my maternal ancestors’ entry into the USA that I plan to research further. The Little Miss History series by Barbara Ann Mojica is a valuable collection I highly recommend to teachers and parents as a wonderful way to explore US history and excite young readers to want learn more. And, today I’m honored to have the series’ talented author here with us. ~ Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Welcome Barbara. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Queens. Proud to say that I worked my way through college and was the first in my family to graduate with a degree at age twenty. Receiving a scholarship, I went on to graduate school. After college, I worked as an administrative assistant for a short time before embarking on a teaching career. I taught in elementary school, then moved to special education, and later principal and special education administrator. In addition I taught dyslexic children using the Wilson Reading Program and Applied Behavioral Analysis with autistic children. Now that I am retired, I am loving my new career as a writer for a local news magazine, children’s book writer and book reviewer.

I can see you’re a busy gal with little time for boredom to set in. How about an update on your family and community?

Barbara's granddaughter, a big fan of Little Miss History, dresses up as her favorite character.

Barbara’s granddaughter, a big fan of Little Miss History, dresses up as her favorite book character for author day at school.

I live in upstate New York in a rural area with my wonderful husband, who is also the illustrator and publisher of my book series. We write and draw from a cozy studio in our home overlooking a pretty lake. Together we have six children and seven grandchildren, including two sets of twins. I love to keep up with our grandchildren through social media. My oldest grandchild, six-year-old Ava, is a big Little Miss HISTORY fan. She made me proud when she dressed up as Little Miss HISTORY on favorite author day in school.

We live in a community filled with historic sites, which we enjoy visiting. Victor and I support local events like the Hudson Children’s Book Festival, library events, and fundraisers for literacy in and around our community. One of my goals for this year is to increase Little Miss HISTORY’s presence in school communities by doing more classroom visits.

Your books are so well researched and designed, Barbara. And the illustrations are marvelous. How long have you been writing?

I have been doing lots of writing since by college days. Majoring in History and minoring in English and the classics involved lots of term papers and research. Pursuing graduate degrees in History sharpened my focus, but I have always been drawn to children so I found myself entering the education field. As a college freshman, one of my professors told me my research was impeccable, but that my writing style was “turgid and bombastic.” I guess that helped me to learn how to be concise. I now write one page historical articles for a local news magazine, concise blog book reviews, and children’s nonfiction picture books that generally fall within the 500 to 700 word range. Aside from an article or two for a scholarly journal, most of my published works appeared in the last five years. Ninety percent of my work is nonfiction focusing on history.

Can you give us a synopsis of The Little Miss HISTORY series and tell us what inspired you to write these wonderful books?

Get the kids hooked on history!

Get the kids hooked on history!

The Little Miss HISTORY Travel s to….. is a series of books using the Little Miss HISTORY character as a guide. She looks like a wannabe park ranger with pig tails and hiking boots three sizes too big. The aim of these books is to whet your child’s appetite for visiting these landmarks while having fun learning history. My objective in writing these books is to make learning about history something other than a series of facts, but instead the story of the people and places who have formed the heritage of America.

Do you have a favorite line to share from the series?

My favorite line does not come from a particular book. Little Miss HISTORYs motto, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” sums it up for me. I believe that history is our story, not a random series of events, but a process that involves the people of the past, their successes and failures, and their connections to us in the present. How we use what we learn and preserve these treasures will have an impact on what the future holds for our descendants.

How about a favorite character?

Little Miss HISTORY is the only character contained in each of the books of the series. She is a cartoon-like character based on a younger version of myself. Like Little Miss I hiked in my local area and trekked across the globe. I have visited more than fifty countries and a good number of states in America. Lately, I have been spending more time researching, revisiting and writing rather than traveling.

If I had to pick one favorite character in my series, it is Abraham Lincoln. I love the complexity of Lincoln’s character. He was a devoted father who grieved at the loss of two sons before his own death. While known as Honest Abe, he was a pragmatist who did not hesitate to use bribery to achieve his goals. Lincoln loved life; he educated himself and became a practicing lawyer. This president opened the doors of the White House to the people and listened sincerely to their ideas. He embraced technology, using the telegraph for the first time and inventing a device to move landlocked steamboats. I admire his persistence and resolve. He is a role model for me.

What do you find is the hardest part about writing your books?

For me, the most difficult part of writing is the rewrite and editing. There is so much that I would like to include in my books. While my targeted audience is children, most of the adults who use my books in the classroom or read them to children, tell me how many new things they have learned. So I do a careful research and try to bring to light information not commonly known about the historical personages, sites and events about which I write. For example, the Native American story important to Mount Rushmore, the pollution problems in Sequoia National Park, and the bravery of Alonzo Swann and his battery serving aboard The Intrepid. These things are all a part of history. The illustrations and photographs become an important part of that story and allow me to be as succinct as possible in the final word count, presenting as much information as possible in a suitable, appealing format for any age reader.

When not writing bi-weekly historical articles, researching, marketing or writing my own books, you will often find me reading other family friendly books. I post reviews twice weekly on my blog as well as review books on Amazon and Goodreads. As a retired educator and administrator, I share advice and expertise in developments occurring in elementary and special education with parents and educators.

In the evening I enjoy catching up on current events or watching movies with my husband. During the warmer months, I spend time gardening and boating. Of course I always find time to enjoy my grandchildren .

Where can readers find you and your books?

You can read about my books or contact me through my website: http://LittleMissHISTORY.COM At that site you can find reviews of my books, buying links, merchandise and more. All the books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent book stores.

Here are my social media sites where you can connect, join my mailing list or arrange a school visit.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES:

What’s next for author Barbara Ann Mojica?

MTVcvr New Book Little Miss History

                 Coming soon!

The next book in the Little Miss HISTORY Travels to series will be stopping by George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, where readers will learn about a side of America’s first president that few know much about. I have already begun working on three other books for the series, and will leave those a mystery for now….

It’s been wonderful having you with us today, Barbara—I can’t wait to follow Little Miss HISTORY as her journey through American history continues.

Readers:

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I invite you to join the conversation (comments below) and share this post with your friends and family. Barbara and I would love to hear from you.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

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The wonder of it all! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Sacred Touches


Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. ~Hugh Macmillan

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When the ages of ice came
And sealed the Earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the Earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.

Let us then salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.

The humility of the Earth
That transfigures…

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