A writer inspired by nature and human nature

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Enliven the Spirit and Soothe the Soul…


Respite from the Doldrums?

Maine is calling…

No matter the season, a daytrip from our farmstead in central Maine provides a getaway that is both relaxing and invigorating. A scenic drive over forested hills, across verdant valleys and along pristine lakes makes Maine a place like no other. Whether heading to the coast or inland, there is always something fresh and new on the horizon. The photo inspiring the haiku Lighthouses stand tall was taken by me aboard Schooner Olad out of Camden Harbor in late June. I invite you to read more MY MAINE haiku and to plan a trip of your own. To me, Maine is poetry. North, south, east or west, The Pine Tree State is a land that enlivens the spirit and soothes the soul—a special place to bask in the unspoiled beauty of inland and coastal cities, towns and villages all year long! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

Poem and photo CAMDEN LIGHTHOUSE by Bette A. Stevens“To me, Maine is poetry…a place that enlivens the spirit and soothes the soul.”

 

Bette with daughter Lori aboard the Schooner Olad out of Camden Harbor.

Curtis Island Light (upper right in photo) is located at the entrance to Camden Harbor, at the southeastern end of Curtis Island. It is an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation and is now owned by the Town of Camden. The lighthouse is a 25-foot tall, white, cylindrical brick tower with a light beam range of six nautical miles. There are 65 lighthouses along Maine’s coast, inlets, and islands.

Summer Songs

(excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens)

Loons at lakeshore wail
Campers bewitched by the sound
Sacred summer songs

Waves play taps on shore
Tall pines salute by moonlight
Waking stars stand guard

Refined grains of sand
Calming the footfalls until
Shattered shells splash in

Lighthouses stand tall
Regaling stories of ghosts
From a bygone age

Highlands and ocean
Bound by granite cliffs sing of
Ageless adventures

    • Take a peek inside MY MAINE (Poetry & Photography Collection/150 haiku poems, 49 original photos + symbols and interesting facts about Maine) and all of Bette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

[Visit Bette’s Blog]

The Real Start of Teaching the Fourth of July


This is Our Land! Jennie and her students show us how to Celebrate America in style… 💞 Bette A. Stevens https://www.4writersandreaders.com

A Teacher's Reflections

The Fourth of July – America’s declaration of independence.  I teach children about the American flag, and patriotism.  It’s important.  Best of all, children often lead the way.  Their interests are the springboard for the best learning.

The Fourth of July is far more than the Boston Pops concert, fireworks, and a barbeque.  It’s remembering our freedom, and how we got there.

Here is a post on what happened at school.  It is celebrating America.  This is the real start to teaching children about the Fourth of July.

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And to my surprise, the children have driven the making of yet another quilt.

Over the past ten years, my preschool class has designed quilts.  Each one materialized because of something the children were passionate about.  When they couldn’t get enough of a song or an idea, I knew I had to give them more.  Together we designed quilts.  The process…

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Write a Summer Limerick & Get the Kids Writing Too!


Get the kids together and give it a try. It’s easy, it’s fun! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Read on to find out how!

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

HAVE FUN WRITING LIMERICKS

Monarch Butterfly LIMERICK 2 bas 2017

Summertime is fun time! And with ‘back to school’ just around the corner, it’s a great time to write limericks and get the kids writing too…

Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a teacher, a parent or simply want to share the love of reading and writing, get the kids together and give “Limericks” a try. You’ll be glad you did!

Some of my favorite things about summer are butterflies, long lazy summer days, gardens and sunshine. I love to sit on the porch with my camera at the ready just in case I spot an amazing monarch or any of our sensational butterfly friends dropping by to enjoy the view. So far this year I’ve spotted twelve monarchs and dozens of other butterflies too—and managed to capture several of these exquisite creatures with my Canon “PowerShot.”

Butterflies are very sensitive to the environment and with…

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Maine’s Moosehead Lake HIKING & HAIKU—Here, there and everywhere!


by Bette A. Stevens

As a nature lover, teacher, reader and writer I often took my class on nature walks with clipboards, pencils and plenty of paper in hand. A great, creative writing project to do with the grandkids!  Goal—each person finds something interesting and inspiring. It might be a flower, a tree, an insect. Subjects in the great outdoors are unlimited.

Take notes, usually a list, word web or other diagram about one or two of the most interesting things you’ve observed. Then, write a poem about what you’ve selected and illustrate your poem. Haiku (three lines: 5-7-5 syllables) is one of my favorites for creating quick word snapshots that kids really enjoy writing. Talk to the kids about similes, metaphors and other figurative language. Have an example on hand to model and share with the kids.

With illustrated poems in hand, take another nature walk. Find an outdoor theatre (under the shade of a tree in the backyard or playground ). You might even choose to take a walking field trip to a nearby park. Bring a lunch or snack and enjoy a “Poetry Party,” where everyone gets to perform!

All of my life, I’ve been inspired by the beauty and wonder in the world around me. A camping trip with my family to Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine decades ago inspired me to write this word snapshot, and, of course, I had fun illustrating it, too.

This was one of my classroom “shares.”

  • Writing Haiku or any short form of poetry is a great, creative family or classroom activity that’s fun for everyone!
  • Discover how to write a haiku and find out why reading and writing poetry is good for everyone at Bette’s Poetry Party Let’s Haiku Lesson #free Pdf. (Simply Click & Print/Includes Note to Parents & Educators).
  • Illustrate your poems and have your own Haiku Party.
  • As an extra bonus, you’ll have personal posters for rooms, bulletin boards or scrapbooks!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, 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 (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. Stevens has self-published five books to date and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board.

Inspired by nature and human nature… Books by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

 

What are some of your favorite ways to inspire kids to have fun reading and writing?

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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#RRBC Book of the Month: PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens (Adventure/Ages 10-Adult) ONLY 99¢/p for a limited time


A single day. A lifetime of lessons.

PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens has been selected one of three books chosen May 2021 Books of the Month by #RaveReviewsBookClub.

PURE TRASH (Available anytime in Paperback $5.49 and eBook $2.99 versions).

ON SALE NOW—ONLY 99¢/p May 12–May 16. 

A great book for adolescents, young adults, parents, guardians, mentors  and educators to read and discuss.

“Delivers a powerful message…”

About PURE TRASH

In this short story prequel to the author’s novel DOG BONE SOUP, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd.

“A nostalgic gem – I was swept away from the first paragraph and thoroughly enjoyed this skillfully written short story. This author knows how to paint mind-pictures and flavor them with taste, smell, and sound.”  WJ Scott, Children’s Author, Fairy Dust.

A sentimental trip into the 1950s, with 9-year-old Shawn and 6-year-old Willie Daniels enjoying ‘The Perfect Day’ until…

PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens (Excerpt)

“A Stop at the Top”

Mum said it was three miles to town. I kept my eyes on Willie as we pumped up the first hill. We coasted down the other side with the cool wind brushing our faces, ready to head up the next hill.

“Pull over, Willie,” I hollered when we got to the top of Andover.

Andover was the biggest hill we’d have to climb. We both stood up on our pedals as we started the climb. The turnout in the pines at the top of the hill was the perfect spot to find empty cans and bottles on either side of the ridge. I never did understand why anyone would just throw those bottles out like trash. But I was sure glad they did. Stark’s General Store paid cash, two cents each, and we thought we were rich every time the clerk handed us our reward in real money.

Pedaling up the half-mile hill was a lot of work, but it was worth it, and not for just the empties. Flying down the other side gave me the best feeling in the whole wide world. I guess that’s how that old chicken hawk feels when he soars above the pines at the edge of the field out back of the house.

Once we reached the peak, we plopped our bikes on the ground and threw ourselves onto the soft, damp bed of leaves at the edge of the woods. It was so peaceful. My mind wandered into the sky and I dreamed about the ride down the other side and the 10 cent Orange Crush I’d buy at Stark’s General Store.

The sun was high over the trees across the road before we piled the last of our empty bottles into the huge chicken-wire basket I’d made for my bike last fall. Willie’s bike had a regular basket, but it didn’t hold much. We ran back to grab a few more and stuffed as many as we could into our overall pockets. I shoved the last two down the front of my shirt and tucked it in good and tight.

We were off! What a feeling. Flying into the wind, I could see Willie’s hair whirling in a hundred different directions while my own whipped around my ears and face. Mum would sure take the scissors to the two of us tonight. Then we’d hop into the big metal washtub filled with steaming water from her cook stove. That bath would feel good, too.

"Adventure at every turn of the page! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author "Inspired by nature and human nature."

 

  • GRAB a copy of PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens for ONLY 99¢/p May 12–May 16
  • Take a “Look Inside” all of Bette’s books at your Amazon. You’re sure to find something special for everyone on your list.  http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Inspiring Kids of All Ages—One Book at a Time—May is #GetCaughtReading Month!


“The love of reading is a lynchpin for successful learning—for success in life. Kids learn to read best when adults take time to share their passion for books with them.” ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author.

 

May is #GetCaughtReading Month!

One of the best ways to inspire kids to love to read is by reading aloud to them and talking with them about the books you share. We can all make a difference in the lives of the children around us when we #GetCaughtReading with the kids!

Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children of all ages

  • Expands vocabulary as they hear new words in context
  • Provides contextual examples for grammar and sentence structure that everyday conversation does not offer
  • Strengthens reading comprehension
  • Increases a child’s attention span
  • Teaches life skills associated with story themes and characters
  • Fosters family/generational/community communication.

Research has shown that children who come to school with a large vocabulary achieve more in school than those that have little familiarity with a wide range of words. Children are great listeners and imitators—they pay attention to what they hear. Reading aloud and discussing books with children is crucial to successful learning. Before children are reading on their own, a crucial part of their learning is based on imitating what they hear and observe.

Children are able to listen and comprehend content read to them two years above their actual reading level. Reading comprehension doesn’t catch up to a child’s listening comprehension level until eighth grade. When listening to adults read stories above their current reading level, a child’s vocabulary increases. This also provides an opportunity for listeners hear complete and complex sentence structure that is not offered in everyday conversation.

Children of all ages love to be read to by adults who are excited about books and reading. In fact, avid adult readers are walking, talking advertisements for books as they share their love of the written word with listeners. And, children enjoy talking about books with adults as much as the adults enjoy talking with them. When readers and listeners discuss characters and themes, their lives are enriched and family/generational communication skills are strengthened. A child’s story comprehension skills increase significantly as well. Reading aloud to children creates a win-win experience for everyone.

Changing the World One Book at a Time

In the U.S. alone there are about 15 million children living in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold—many of these children do not have books in their homes or adults who are available to read to them.

Where are the children? We’ll find them in homes, schools and libraries in villages, towns and cities in our own communities and across the globe. Local libraries and elementary schools are pleased to hear from those of us who are looking for the opportunity to share our love of reading with those who need it most—children of all ages, from all walks of life. Together we can change the world—one reader, one book, one book talk—one child or group of children at a time.

“You’re never too old,
  too wacky, too wild
  to pick up a book
  and read to a child!”

~Dr. Seuss

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. 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 reading, 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 for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book (Ages 5-11); The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource incorporating hands-on math, science and writing (Ages 6-12); and PURE TRASH (Ages 10-Adult), the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP (Ages 12-Adult)—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrate #EarthDay2021 with a Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Monarch Butterfly eBook—ONLY 99¢/p Limited Time (April 21-25)


Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ HAPPY EARTH DAY

Please share this post…

Monarch butterflies are a threatened species. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat. Yet these butterflies, once a familiar sight, are plummeting toward extinction due to landscape-scale threats from pesticides, development and global climate change. That’s why the Center is working hard to win them protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

AMAZING MATILDA written and illustrated by Maine author Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢/p thru April 25:

“Award-winning picture book adventure follows a monarch butterfly through her life cycle and teaches kids important life lessons along the way!”

About the book

AMAZING MATILDA (Ages 5-11 + grownups love it too) Friendship, patience and persistence are among the lessons learned in this gem of a tale featuring an amazing monarch butterfly. This award-winning picture book adventure follows the monarch’s life cycle as Matilda embarks on a quest to make her dream of flying come true. Matilda emerges from her egg on a milkweed leaf, she stretches and yawns and wants to fly. Sparrow tells her to follow her dreams. Toad and Rabbit laugh at a creature without wings who wants to fly. You’ll be as amazed as Toad and Rabbit, as you follow Matilda from egg to imago.

Review Excerpt Blurb:

“Matilda crunched and munched and lunched, leaf after leaf, day after day.”

If you loved P.D. Eastman’s incomparable book, Are You My Mother, about a baby bird’s search for its mother, you must read this book. If Charlotte’s Web is one of your childhood favorites, I say, Move over Charlotte. Matilda is now here! ~Jacqui Murray, WordDreams 

DOWNLOAD a copy of AMAZING MATILDA by Bette A. Stevens ONLY 99¢/p April 21–April 25award-winning monarch butterfly picture book— at YOUR AMAZON

Free Reading Resources for Amazing Matilda

Meet the characters and download Bette’s  #FREE Character Puppets HERE.

Beyond the book

  • Find monarch butterfly resources at your finger tips:

Have fun and learn even more about Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ our amazing monarch butterflies by downloading Bette’s FREE PDF Click here: FUN & LEARNING with Monarch Butterflies where you’ll find:

  • Monarch Facts
  • Coloring Pages
  • Crafts
  • Gardening
  • Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
  • Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
  • FIND OUT how you can help protect our Amazing Monarchs

 Find out more about Maine author/illustrator Bette A. Stevens and her books

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Tina Lost in a Crowd (Children’s Picture Book) by Miriam Hurdle – Book Release Tour


Welcome to DAY 2: “Tina Lost in a Crowd” by my author friend Miriam Hurdle 

Author Miriam Hurdle has just released her first children's picture book (Tina Lost in a Crowd)

 

The Making of Tina Lost in a Crowd, Part 2

The Story Behind the Story Tina Lost in a Crowd

The story of Tina Lost in a Crowd is partly based on fact. When my daughter Mercy was eight years old, my sister Yolanda, her husband Patrick, and their son Enoch, who was Mercy’s age, came from Hong Kong to visit us. We took them on tours in northern and southern California. One activity was going to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. I drove the five of us to Rowland Heights Regional Park, then we took the Park & Ride bus to the Hollywood Bowl.

The sky was dark with bright stars when the concert started. Mercy and Enoch swayed side to side when they listened to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and smiled at each other. During the intermission, Patrick left his seat to buy some popcorn. Mercy and Enoch wanted to use the restroom. Yolanda and I urged them to catch up with Patrick.

Later, when Patrick came back without them, I panicked. Imagine losing 8-year-old kids in a crowd of 18,000 people. How would I find them? Yolanda and Patrick stayed in their seats while I followed the descending steps between the sections of seats to where I thought they could had gone.

What happened next became one of my most favorite memories. This story is based on this unforgettable moment.

 

 

Blurb

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.

BUY THE BOOK

Book Review

Whether shopping, vacationing or attending a crowded event, families with young children are sure to benefit from Hurdle’s picture book. The illustrations complement the story beautifully. When Tina and her friend Erica find themselves lost at a concert, these young girls know just what to do—stay where they are and wait for an adult to come find them. TINA LOST IN A CROWD is not only a story that young children will enjoy, it teaches safe practices and inspires them to be responsible. This book also provides a springboard for adults (parents/grandparents/teachers) to talk with the children about the book. They’ll be inspired to plan time together keeping a child’s interests in mind.  Whether planning for summer vacation, a family weekend away or trip to the market, Tina’s story will encourage parents to provide high-interest, quality time for their families.  –Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s book AMAZING MATILDA and other books for children and adults.

About the Author

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Follow Miriam & find out more about her books

Thanks so much for stopping by to check out Miriam’s new picture book. I highly recommend Tina Lost in a Crowd for families with young children. ~ Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrating Maine with #WritingChallenge Entries from Sharon K Connell, Karen Black & Radhika


DID YOU KNOW?

Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and the northernmost east of the Great Lakes. It is known for its jagged, rocky coastline; low, rolling mountains; heavily forested interior; and picturesque waterways, as well as its seafood cuisine and its four distinct seasons. 

“Maine’s Rich Seasons Make the State a Year-Round Destination

Whether you’re a leaf-peeper or a sun-seeker, there’s something for everyone…”

Visit Maine Tourism to find out more.

Check Maine.gov before visiting for the latest health and safety guidelines in place.

To find out more about Bette’s Celebrating Maine CLICK #WritingChallenge. You’ll discover HOW to write haiku and WHY writing poetry is good for you! Now, on to enjoy three wonderful haiku challenge entries from my readers.

More Maine…

Haiku by author Sharon K Connell; Photo: Portland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, ME at Dusk by Mercedes Mehling @mrs80z (free Download) on Unsplash

Find out more about author Sharon K Connell and check out her website at https://www.authorsharonkconnell.com/

Haiku and Maine photo by author Karen Black

Find out more about author Karen Black and check out her website at https://storiesbykaren.org/ 

Haiku by Radhika; Photo: Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, ME, USA Photo by Keith Luke @lukephotography (Free Downland on Unsplash )

Find out more about Radhika and check out her blog at https://radhikasreflection.wordpress.com

Thanks so much for stopping by to enjoy “More Maine.” The wonderful haiku poems and photos shared by my talented guests today celebrate more of the boundless beauty and bounty of The Pine Tree State.

“A nature-filled land that enlivens the senses and soothes the soul—to me, Maine is poetry.”
–Bette A. Stevens

Find MY MAINE and all of Bette’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Easter Blessings (+Music) and “Faith,” a Poem by Bette A. Stevens


Dear Readers,

Easter Blessings…

Love,
Bette A. Stevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

Easter Blessings (Poster, pPoem & Scripture

Faith

Take all of your worries and all of your fears
Cast them upon Jesus who’s waiting, He cares
He came down from glory to save you and me
His brothers and sisters who yearn to be free

He proved with his life that His calling is true
We trust that He cares about all we go through
His love it surpasses, His blessings abound
His faithfulness throughout creation resounds

In Scriptures we find Him, His words and His deeds
Imploring each brother and sister, He pleads
Surrender your worries and all of your fears
I’m here to walk with you in laughter, in tears

We’ll dance through the triumphs and trials together
Good plans will prevail, no matter the weather
God’s love is as sure as the sun, stars and moon
Eternity’s waiting, there’s plenty of room

~Bette A. Stevens

John 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV)

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