A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Children’s Picture Book’ Category

Thank You, Jim Trelease! – The Power of Reading Aloud to Children

Invest in our future…
READ to a CHILD today! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Oxford Tutoring

Picture copy.jpg My son, Matt, reading to my four grandchildren.

Reading aloud to my four children is one of the fondest memories I have of their growing up years.  They are all adults now with their own families and busy lives, but I have wonderful memories of cuddling on the couch with them, reading stories together, watching their eyes light up as we traveled to other lands and other times through story.

As a teacher, reading to my children seemed a natural part of the parenting process.  Even when they were babies, they would sit on my lap as we enjoyed books like Pat the Bunny.  As they grew older, we graduated to story books.  Some were fairy tales, some were Bible stories, but all were chances to bond together over printed word. They had their favorites that they asked to be read to them over and over and over. We went…

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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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THE WHISPERER by Pamela Zagarenski

Inspiring children’s book review. A must-have for the bookshelf of this reader. Inspiring kids, one story at a time… ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

The Reader and the Book


This is a book about the joy and delight in reading and imagining.  It is a book about creativity and having fun.  It is a beautiful book in color, in creation, and in childhood (no matter what age one is!).  As I looked upon each double-page I felt a delight in the visual as well as where my mind began to take me.

“There once was a little girl who loved stories.  She loved how the words and pictures took her to new and secret places that existed in a world all her own….” 

The little girl’s teacher loans her a book.  It is a special book to this teacher because her grandmother gave it to her as a gift.

As the little girl heads home, the book is under her arm and is slightly open.  The words are escaping from the pages and into the air.  We, then, see…

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Amazing Matilda

Another AMAZING 5✰ REVIEW for MATILDA! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com


A Letter to Fourth Grade Fans

Dear Mrs. Glynn & Fourth Grade Students,

How exciting it was to check my mailbox last week and find all of your wonderful Thank You Letters. They really made my day. Your notes and illustrations are fantastic. There is nothing that makes an author happier than hearing from her fans. I’m so glad that you enjoyed AMAZING MATILDA. I definitely enjoyed meeting all of you, reading my book and having a book talk. You had so many great questions to ask me about writing and you offered excellent insights into the book’s messages.

I took a picture of your letters and thought you’d like to see it. So, here it is!


Letters from fourth grade fans in Hartland, Maine. ~ Photo by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

I keep a file called MY SMILE FILE and all of your amazing letters waiting for me there. That way, on gloomy days when I need a smile, I can read your letters and think of ALL OF YOU—Mrs. Gynn and her amazing fourth grade students!

I included both of my children’s books in the photo. You’ll find copies in your school library. Yes, I will be back to read to you again. My favorite genre is historical fiction. Nature and human nature (people) are the things that inspire me to write my books. I’ll be posting this letter on my web/blog http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Happy reading, writing and all of those other amazing things that you all do,


Inspired by nature BAS Dec 2015

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Picture Books for St. Patrick’s Day

You’ll find some awesome books to help celebrate the day! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Pages and Margins

My son has been far more interested in holidays this year than he was in the past. This can at times be problematic — like when he declares his own holiday and is then thoroughly disappointed when I inform him that it doesn’t mean he gets the day off from school. But I’ve been trying to catch the wave of his enthusiasm in other ways, like introducing him to good books surrounding each holiday. Here are some that we enjoyed about St. Patrick’s Day.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland – by Tomie de Paola


A beautiful introduction to St. Patrick as a person — his history and his legacy. It includes a number of legends about St. Patrick at the end.

St. Patrick’s Day – by Gail Gibbons

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This book provides a brief introduction to the life of St. Patrick, as well as some of symbolism and traditions surrounding St…

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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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