A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Butterfly migration’ Category

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Looking for the Perfect Picture Book for the Kids this Spring?

AMAZING MATILDA’s

got you covered!

One concern parents have is how to inspire their children to meet challenges with patience and persistence. This is the plot of the award-winning picture book, AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarchs Tale, written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. In this story a caterpillar wants to learn how to fly. She asks all of her friends in the meadow, but doesn’t find an easy answer. Yet, she continues the quest until, at last, she becomes what she wants to be—a butterfly. AMAZING MATILDA offers adults the opportunity to inspire the children in their lives to meet their own challenges with patience and persistence.

  • Be sure to check out the #FREE PDFs.  Amazing Matilda Finger Puppets and Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies— two excellent reading and life/environmental science resources to go along with the book. Find the download links below.
  • Award-winning AMAZING MATILDA is available in paperback and eBook versions and it’s an AMAZON KINDLE MATCHBOOK—that means, when you purchase the paperback for $9.49, you can download the eBook version for FREE! Click the link to Order your copies today.

#FREE Reading & Monarch Butterfly Resources from Bette

Stevens has put together two (2) FREE #PDF companion pieces to make talking to the kids about AMAZING MATILDA and learning about Monarch butterflies exciting and fun.

CLICK THE TWO LINKS ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD. These resources will not only keep the kids talking about the book with their finger puppets, they’ll learn even more about Monarch Butterflies, their endangered habitat, monarch and milkweed conservation and preservation.  Fun & Learning offers activity sites and resources for butterfly gardeners and teachers as well.  Don’t miss these two great resources for families, clubs, classrooms and homeschoolers.

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Have an Amazing New Year! (Poem + Monarch Butterfly Resources from author Bette A. Stevens)

Have an Amazing New Year!

 

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

© Bette A. Stevens

Learn about Monarch Butterflies

Bette in her garden with one of the monarch butterflies that emerged from its chrysalis at the farmstead in central Maine.

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their scientific name—Danaus Plexippus— Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. Monarch butterflies embark on an amazing migratory phenomenon as they have the ability to hibernate and metamorphose.  International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens.

Wishing all of you and our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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“Autumnal Archway” (HAIKU) by Bette A. Stevens

Autumnal Archway

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Summer gate closes
As autumn’s brilliant archway
Beckons—nature’s call

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

About the author

Maine author Bette A. Stevens pictured with a male Monarch butterfly drying its wings after emerging from its chrysalis.

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 about a monarch butterfly; 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 coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

Stevens is currently working on her first poetry book—MY MAINE, a seasonal haiku collection—which she plans to publish fall (2018).

 

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HAPPY WEED APPRECIATION DAY—I’m Celebrating”Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies”

Weed Appreciation Day, March 28—is on its way—and so are those amazing monarch butterflies! It’s the perfect time of year to plant milkweed to ensure the survival of these endangered butterflies as they embark on the journey north from wintering grounds in Mexico. My limerick tells a bit about the monarchs’ dependence upon milkweed. The photo of his female monarch (Danaus plexippus) on a milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca) was taken in my garden in Central Maine, where milkweed plants flourish and monarchs can find the perfect leaves to lay their eggs under each summer. Read on to find out more about milkweed and the crucial relationship this native plant shares with monarchs and how you can help these endangered butterflies by planting milkweed in your own backyard.

Why Do Monarch Butterflies Need Milkweed?

  • Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. Monarchs have a dynamic relationship with plants in the milkweed family and are completely dependent on them for reproduction. Butterflies are the reproductive phase of their life cycle. Females lay their eggs on the undersides of milkweed leaves because when the eggs hatch and the caterpillars emerge, their only source of food is the foliage of milkweed plants. The growing caterpillars feed on the leaves until they are ready to form a chrysalis and metamorphose into adult butterflies.

Mating of monarch butterflies has begun and the orange and black butterflies are flying north. Along the way, females will lay eggs on milkweed plants, recolonizing the southern United States before they die. The first spring caterpillars will hatch and metamorphose into adults. These newly emerged monarchs colonize their parents original homes. Summer monarchs live only three to five weeks compared with the eight or nine months for overwintering adults. During the summer, three or four generations of monarch butterflies will emerge, and before summer ends there will be millions of monarchs all over the United States and southern Canada.

You can play an important role in the survival of  monarch butterflies by planting the correct native variety of milkweed in your yard or garden. Learn how to create a Monarch Waystation in your own backyard and report your monarch sightings too. Helping our monarch butterflies is a great service project for families, community groups and schools. Contact Monarch Watch (an educational outreach based at the University of Kansas): www.monarchwatch.org

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 adventure that follows the life cycle of a monarch butterfly; 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—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

 

 

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Have an Amazing New Year! (+poem by Bette A. Stevens)

May your New Year be Amazing
as a Monarch Butterfly

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

Wishing all of you and our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

All About Monarchs

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their science name, Danaus Plexippus, Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens. Find out more at the links below.

[EXPLORE BETTE’S BLOG]

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Complex intelligence ~

Oh, the wonder of it all… ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

“There is a difference between our wisdom and nature’s simplicity. That reflects the burden of a complex intelligence…” Click the original post to read the entire quote by Alison Hawthorne Deming

1267. The air is different today; the wind sings with a new tone sighing of changes coming as barbarous summer dies… ~Edited and adapted line by Rhawk

Our amazing Monarchs are migrating to Mexico. Only spotted four here at The Farmstead in Central Maine this July and August. October’s calling, “Collect those milkweed pods. Save the seeds to plant and feed next year’s amazing Monarchs.” ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

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SENSATIONAL SUMMER: A Monarch Butterfly Poem by Bette A. Stevens

Illustrations for Sensational Summer are from Bette's award-winning children's picure book, AMAZING MATILDA.

Illustrations for the poem “Sensational Summer” are from Bette’s award-winning children’s picture book, AMAZING MATILDA.

Much like a Monarch butterfly, the summer is quickly flying past us here at The Farmstead in Central Maine. In fact, it won’t be long before these amazing butterflies begin their great southern migration to Mexico, where they’ll aggregate (cluster in dense tree cover) to keep warm, enabling this generation of monarchs to winter over before they mate and begin the next generation’s migration north for the 2017 season.  Matilda (a Monarch butterfly and the main character in my picture book AMAZING MATILDA) and I wish you and yours a sensational summer! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator 

We invite you to take a look inside AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch’s Tale and check out other books by Bette A. Stevens

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Threats to Monarch Butterflies and How We Can Help

Monarch butterflies—find out more about these amazing pollinators! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator and advocate for Monarch butterflies http://www.4writersandreaders.com

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Christina Steiner (children’s literature)

CHRISTINA STEINER author picChristina Steiner is an award-winning writer of two illustrated children’s books The Sad Tree and Pronuba and The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly (Outskirts Press 2013, 2015). As a nature enthusiast, she likes to introduce children to the wonders of the living world around them. Steiner writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Other accomplishments include being featured in the Moorpark Review 2013, the West Winds Centennial, California Writers Club 100 year anthology in 2010, and an honorable mentioning in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition 2008.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christina made Southern California her home and raised two daughters. When not writing or reading, she hikes with her dogs, rides her horse, makes wine with her partner and enjoys the beauty that nature offers.

It’s wonderful to have Christina Steiner with us today. I’ve fallen in love with both of her children’s books (outstanding children’s literature inspired by nature) and can’t wait to send copies to my youngest grandson to read and enjoy. Now it’s time to meet the author. Tell us more about yourself, Christina.

If I can be outdoors, I usually am. I prefer mountains to the ocean but living in California offers both. Nature in its bounty always amazes and enthralls me. A bad day gets whisked away after a walk on the beach or in the local hills.

How about your family?

My roots are in Switzerland. Growing up as the youngest of five, I learned from my siblings what was accepted and what not. Small town living has advantages and perils. Any misbehaving in the town usually reached my parent’s ear before I could make it home.

Living in America and raising my two daughters was different, everything seemed larger than life. I had the big advantage to live in a semi-rural area of Los Angeles at the time so I could instill the wonders of nature by exposing my children to the local wildlife and our domestic animals which included horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats and even a llama. Now I live with my partner and four dogs in Ventura, California.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I always loved to write. My earliest competition was an essay for a newspaper in third grade. I did win second place. Later I wrote journals all through my teenage years which included poetry, at that time in German. My dream of writing my own book didn’t happen until much later when my children were grown. English became the language of choice as a writer. I joined local writing communities and profited a lot through critique groups and encouragements of follow writers. The dream became a passion.

SYNOPSIS OF BOOKS (Click cover images to find Christina’s books on Amazon  and take a look inside these beautifully written and illustrated children’s books.)

cover (1)The Sad Tree and Pronuba tells the story of the symbiotic relationship between the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly is a chapter book. A North Dakota boy rides along with Anka, an eastern, fourth-generation Monarch butterfly to central Mexico and back. During the journey William learns the intricate life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, survival and friendship

What prompted you to write The Sad Tree and Pronuba

I visited the Mojave Desert and climbed Malapai Hill in Joshua Tree National Park. Fascinated by one of these strange Joshua trees, I wanted to know everything about them. The relationship of two different species, The Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth, show how exquisite and unique nature presents itself.

Favorite line: I must go—I’m so busy, I’ve got to blow. (Reminds me of our busy lives.)

Favorite character: Pronuba moth, she’s so upbeat and joyful.

William & the Monarch Butterfly CHRISTINA STEINERThe Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly was prompted by a suggestion from my partner. We live close to a grove that western Monarch butterflies choose for their winter quarters. Sadly the population of butterflies greatly diminished. After extensive research I decided to set the story for an eastern Monarch butterfly. For a small creature to fly the distance to the Oyamel fir forest and survive the winter in this unique environment to assure the continuation of the species is another example of the incredible natural world.

Favorite line: Anka speaking to William . . . “You and I share this world. We all have our purpose. I know mine from the get-go. You will have to figure yours out as you grow. But there is a reason why we’re here, why we’re alive.”

Favorite character: Anka, the Monarch butterfly. As she matures, she becomes incredibly sage.

What was the hardest part of writing your children’s books?

To write the stories so the readers, young or old, can see the grandeur of nature and be entertained while adhering to the facts.

Do you do anything in addition to writing books?

I assist my partner in making wine, two to four varietal per year. Together we take care of our dogs. In our household we have four large dogs, three champion Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Betsy, Harvard Girl and Boomer and Sentry, a 180 lbs. Hungarian Kuvasz. Every morning we take them to a leash-free park close by for training and exercise. Several times a week I ride my horse Xena, stabled in Moorpark. These outdoor activities balance out the time spent on the computer.

My two grandchildren, twins—a boy and a girl, spent most Sundays with me while my daughter is at work.

I attend a tutor-training workshop at the local library to become a volunteer tutor and help adults to achieve better reading and life skills.

My books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, outskirtspress.com and some local independent book stores.

What’s next for author Christina Steiner?

I finished a series of articles called Predators in the Backyard. Each talks about the intricate lives of insects or spiders commonly found in the backyard and the significance they have in mythology.

The first draft of a new novel is nearly completed. Untitled as of now. The middle-grade fiction deals with coming of age, loss, adjustment to inner city life and forming new friendships.

It’s been wonderful to have you with us today, Christina. I highly recommend both of your beautifully written and illustrated children’s books to our readers.

Visit author Christina Steiner and find out more about her books

Readers, thanks so much for visiting today. In invite you to join the conversation (comments below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens 

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