A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Families’ Category

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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.

  • Resources for kids, families, educators and gardeners 
    Download Bette’s FREE PDF “Fun & Learning with Monarch Butterflies” where you’ll find:
    ★ Monarch Butterfly Facts
    ★ Coloring Pages
    ★ Gardening
    ★ Video: How to Make an Origami Butterfly
    ★ Butterfly Teacher Guide and so much more…
    ★ How you can help protect our monarchs
    DOWNLOAD Bette’s FREE PDF https://4writersandreaders.com/fun-learning-with-monarchs-2/

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

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

[EXPLORE BETTE’S BLOG]

DOG BONE SOUP: Remembering Thanksgiving 1963


JFK by Norman RockwellNovember 1963

It was a time in history when most American families held high hopes for their future and looked forward to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with family and friends.  A few days before the holiday, an unforeseen tragedy struck the nation—President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd. Although families from all walks of life were in mourning, most held that year’s Thanksgiving holiday in their hearts as they enjoyed a bountiful feast together and prayed for the healing of a stunned nation. Others were not so fortunate—the ones who did not know where their next meal was coming from. They were the poor, the indigent, the invisible people. They were praying, and they were hungry.

DOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens is a story about those invisible people.

DOG BONE SOUP (An excerpt from Chapter 22)

DOG BONE SOUP collage #1“BOYS, GET IN HERE. Hurry up!”

We set the groceries on the table and ran in to see what Mum was so worked up about.

“President Kennedy’s body’s back in Washington. Look, they’re switching from the Washington to that Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. The world’s at a standstill and no wonder. I can’t believe that someone’s gone and killed the President…Sit down. Watch.”

“What’s for dinner?” I asked when I handed her the change.

“Good. We have more than a dollar left for the week.”

“What about dinner, Mum?”

“I’ll fix us some supper, later. We had plenty of hotcakes to tide us over this morning,” Mum sat there, captivated by the news.

Coverage went on all day and long into the night. Willie and I went out to cut and split fire wood for the week. Then we grabbed our fishing poles and ran down to the brook. I figured if we caught something, we could have a nice fry for supper, even if I had to fix it myself.

Willie peeled and cut potatoes while I figured out how to mix flour and cornmeal and get the fish going. I set the fish on the stove to keep warm while I fried up the potatoes.

We never did get Mum away from the darned TV.

I wondered if it was like that for other families that night. I wasn’t up to watching TV non-stop. I’d pop in every now and then to keep track of what was happening though. I kept thinking about President Lincoln. Far as I could see nothing good came from fighting, killing and wars. Why couldn’t people just treat everyone the way they wanted to be treated.

I got the washtub heated up before bed. The girls got their baths first, like always. Then Willie and I took turns. There’d be no hair cuttin’ this Saturday. There was only one good thing about this day—Dad didn’t show up. I didn’t want to think about that shotgun, but I couldn’t shake that Saturday out of my head.

∞∞∞

By the time I got up Sunday morning, the news was already runnin’ non-stop. President Kennedy had big dreams for America. He hoped we would land on the moon; wanted Americans to be healthy; wanted Negros and poor folks to have rights like everybody else and he wanted to make peace with people in other countries. I wondered what would happen to those dreams now that he was gone.

Mum had the volume turned way up, but she wasn’t watchin’. She had the wood stove blazin’, fresh biscuits warming on the stove top and scrambled eggs cookin’ on the griddle.

“I’ve been praying for the President’s family,” she looked up and whispered. “Call the kids and sit yourself down. Thanks for fixin’ supper last night, Shawn. I’ve been walking around in a fog with all that’s been going on. I still can’t imagine why anyone would want to kill the President.”

After breakfast, Willie and I ran out to milk the cows.

“Now you boys, bundle up real good. It’s mighty cold out there.”

Two heifers started mooing real low the second they spotted us. The wind was blowing so darned hard, the pails were swingin’ all on their own, even with the weight of milk jars in them. By the time we got back to the house the sky was spittin’ out snowflakes big as quarters.

“Let’s fix us a cup a hot coffee, Willie.”

“Mum’ll have a fit if she finds me drinking coffee.”

I threw in a few small chunks of kindling and set the coffee pot on top of the stove.

“You might like it. I mix it up with lots of milk. We’ll fix Mum a cup, too.”

“Boys, get in here quick,” Mum hollered. “Some night club owner named Jack Ruby just shot and killed that Oswald guy who shot President Kennedy!”

Bad news just kept coming. Cameras jumped from Washington to Dallas and back again every few minutes. We watched the casket being carried from the White House to the Capital’s Rotunda. In between, they showed pictures of the President’s family before all this terrible stuff happened. Caroline and John-John were just little kids and the family looked real happy doing things together.

Then, reporters started talking to the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

I poured up coffee and went in to watch the mess. My head pounded. I closed my eyes and tried to figure out how I was gonna get out of school next week. I had to talk to that recruiter.

Just as I downed the last of my coffee, I heard a knock at the door. “Please don’t be Dad,” I prayed.

I lifted the latch, opened the door and there stood two snow crusted ladies that I recognized from church. They were holding baskets chock-full of all the things us kids had been dreamin’ about. One had a turkey, a ham and all kinds of canned goods. The other held a plate mounded high with cookies and two pumpkin pies. I even spotted a can of cocoa.

“Come on in and sit down. I’ll go get Mum.”

“We’ll just set these baskets on the table. We have three more deliveries and we want to get home before the roads get any worse.”

“Mum, it’s ladies from church. They brought us baskets chock-full of food,” I hollered.

Mum and the kids must have flown out to the kitchen.

“What on earth are you doing here?” I thought Mum’s eyes would pop out when she spotted those baskets.

“Thanksgiving’s only a few days away and we’re out making deliveries this afternoon. I think you’ll find enough for a nice holiday feast, Mrs. Daniels. If there’s anything else you need, just let us know.”

“You have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” The ladies smiled before they turned to leave.

“You take your damned charity baskets and leave ’em somewhere they’re needed!”

The ladies spun around, looked at one another, then at Mum, then at us, then at the baskets. One of them held her hands up clutching at her coat like someone might steal it. The shortest one looked like she was ready to bawl. When they picked up the baskets and turned to leave, my stomach clenched up tighter than a double fisherman’s knot.

Annie and Molly stood there crying. Willie stared at Mum with eyes as round as donuts, shakin’ his head.

“I can’t believe you did that, Mum. You were rude and here we are starvin’ to death,” I scowled.

“I don’t want to hear any sass from you. And you girls stop your whining. We’re proud folks. We’ve never taken charity and we’re never gonna take it.” Mum shook her head and shuffled back in to watch TV.

I sat down at the kitchen table and didn’t know what to make of it. Mum couldn’t believe somebody’d killed the President. Well, I couldn’t believe Mum just killed our only chance of having a decent meal.

###

Today, more than 45 million Americans are living below the poverty line http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/poverty-household-income_n_5828974.html Most of them aren’t looking for a hand-out. They’re looking for a hand up—decent jobs that pay a living wage.

—Ready to read more?—

  • DBS A remarkable taleDOG BONE SOUP by Bette A. Stevens
    Paperback ($9.89)  Kindle ($3.99)
    OR Purchase paperback and download
    Kindle version for FREE—”Kindle Matchbook”
  • Paperbacks of DOG BONE SOUP make GREAT GIFTS for all the Boomers on your list
  • Available at YOUR AMAZON

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired 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 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. You can find out more about the author and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens


Poverty, prejudice and social justice… I invite you to visit Rosaliene’s blog, read her comprehensive review of Dog Bone Soup, and check out the nsightful comments from Rosaleine and her readers. Come join the conversation. It takes a village! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author https://www.4writersandreaders.com 

Three Worlds One Vision

Front Cover – Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey by Bette A. Stevens (USA, 2014)

In Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey, Maine author Bette A. Stevens reminds us that being poor should not define who we are as individuals. With determination as well as the helping hand and guidance of those who care, we can become the person we aspire to be. Herself a boomer, Stevens takes us back to America of the 1950s and 1960s. On leaving home to enter the U.S. Army, eighteen-year-old Shawn Daniels looks back on growing up in Lebanon, Maine, where his family was scorned as “nothing but poor white trash.”

Shawn’s narrative contains no mention of the year or his age. Only his school grade records the passing years. His earliest memory is of watching mice scamper across the rafters as he lay in bed at nights. Having one as a pet…

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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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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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Happy Birthday, #Maine! + #WritingChallenge


Celebrating #Maine through Poetry

Maine officially celebrates its 201st Birthday on March 15, 2021! Find out more about “The Pine Tree State” and help us celebrate through another year with a haiku of your own. #WritingChallenge

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. At that time Maine was not one of America’s original thirteen colonies because it had never been granted a royal charter from Great Britain. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence (summarizing the colonists’ motivation for seeking independence) before Maine gained official statehood.

The Eastern white pine tree helped fuel the region’s economy in an era when shipbuilding and lumbering reigned supreme. The value of those pines actually provided a spark for the American Revolution. Massachusetts didn’t want to lose any of those pine profits it gained after the war, while Mainers struggled for political and economic independence. Maine officially celebrates its Bicentennial on March 15, 2020.

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

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine to offer readers a collection of story poems and photo snapshots of the unique land I know and love.

I invite you to join me as I celebrate #Maine2020 during 2020 & 2021 by submitting one of your favorite photos taken in “The Pine Tree State” and writing a haiku too! I’ll be publishing submissions here on my blog throughout 2020. Simply email me at bettestevens@tds.net SUBJECT: “Maine Bicentennial Haiku.”

How to Write Haiku…

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from “Spring Awakenings”~

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Granite boulders rise
Above the winter mantle
Midway the meltdown

Dark mask shrouds the land
Soaking downpour foreshadows
Season’s renewal

Rivers spill over
While ice jams—slowly melting
Weep upon their beds

Pot holes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back

Hills and vales exult
Rivers and streams sing arias
Mud season arrives

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

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. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board. Find out more about the author and her books at https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

“Happy reading & writing poetry!” 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Celebrating Maine! + #WritingChallenge


The Maine Bicentennial Continues…

Maine officially marked its 200th birthday a year ago—March 15, 2020. A Covid Pandemic may have slowed us down a bit, but in Maine we’ve always got plenty to celebrate.  (Photo of Frenchman Bay taken by author Bette A. Stevens from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park in Maine.) Happy 201st Birthday, Maine!

Did you know?

Maine (nicknamed The Pine Tree State) remained a province of the Massachusetts Bay Colony when America declared its independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. It would be decades after the American Revolution and the signing of The Declaration of Independence before Maine gained official statehood in 1820.

Acadia National Park

Home to some of the most stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife on the Eastern Seaboard, Acadia National Park is open to explore year-round. Whether you’re interested in visiting Acadia National Park for fall foliage, winter skiing, spring fishing or summer hikes, it’s the perfect outdoor playground. Visit https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/parks-natural-attractions/acadia-national-park to learn more about Maine’s only national park. Maine is a perfect place to spend a vacation—one you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

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

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. 

The Power of Poetry

How Readers & Writers of All Ages Benefit from Poetry

  • Improves Verbal Skills & Memory
  • Enhances Cognitive Function
  • Develops Empathy & Insight
  • Encourages Creativity

Why Haiku…

Inspired by the beauty and bounty of my home state, I write poetry in many forms; but I chose haiku for My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons. The collection offers readers story poems (150) and photo snapshots (49 original) + fun facts and symbols of the unique land I know and love. Writing haiku is a great way to celebrate the people, places and things that enrich our lives and inspire us every day. I invite you to give it a try!

How to Write Haiku…

 

A Peek Inside the Collection

~Excerpts from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons “Spring Awakenings”~

March shakes the remnants
Of sleep from wintery boughs
White confetti swirls

Verdant shimmering
Emerald fields bursting forth
Souls rise from slumber

Windowsill seedlings
Watching and waiting, waiting…
Longing for fresh air

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley shouts
Rejuvenation

Dandelion greens,
Fiddleheads along brook sides
Nature’s elixirs

 

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

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. As of July 2019,  Stevens has self-published five books and has a second poetry collection on the drawing board.

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

 

Contact the author at DBS Publishing to order author-signed copies of her books or to schedule a Poetry Event tailored to meet the needs and interests of your school, community group, company or organization, or simply to find out more.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I look forward to hearing from you. (Comment Section Below)

 

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Aside

New Release from Toni Pike – BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE – Book 2 in the Brody Cody Series for children aged 6-9


I’m delighted to have Toni Pike with us today. You’ll find out more about my talented author friend from Australia and get a peek into her latest children’s book. Check out this awesome teaser—Brody Cody’s second book is sure to be pleaser…

“Brody Cody loves his new stepmother but is surprised to hear that she is expecting a baby. To celebrate, his parents take Brody and his friends away for a week to a very spooky house in the Blue Mountains, owned by the elderly and even spookier Mr Sludge.” ~ Amazon blurb

Welcome back, Toni. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

Meet Toni Pike

Thank you so much, Bette, for inviting me to your wonderful blog to talk about my new release, the second book in the Brody Cody Series. It’s called BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE, another funny adventure for children aged 6-9. I had so much fun writing the first book that I couldn’t wait to send Brody off on another escapade.

It’s a chapter book for children to read by themselves – or for reading aloud. In this second adventure, Brody is dismayed to learn that he’s going to have a little brother or sister. When his parents take his friends with them on a trip to the Blue Mountains, it turns out to be much less relaxing than they expected. When spooky things start to happen, the children suspect that their vacation house is haunted. The Blue Mountains, by the way, is a beautiful area of stunning scenery very close to Sydney, and it’s a wonderful place to visit.

I’m a multi-genre author with several fast-moving thrillers: DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series. I’ve also written two non-fiction books: THE ONE WAY DIET, a guide to losing weight, and HAPPY TRAVELS 101, a short book of travel tips.

I live in Canberra, the capital of Australia. With very tight border controls and restricted travel since the start of the pandemic, we’ve fared quite well here. Travelling is one of my main passions, but at the moment only limited travel within Australia is allowed. My main focus has been writing, and spending as much time as possible with family and friends.

About BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE – Book 2 in The Brody Cody Series.

Brody Cody loves his new stepmother but is surprised to hear that she is expecting a baby. To celebrate, his parents take Brody and his friends away for a week to a very spooky house in the Blue Mountains, owned by the elderly and even spookier Mr Sludge.

Very strange things start to happen, and the friends soon become convinced that the house is haunted. They love scary stories and know all about ghosts, but will they be able to solve the mystery?

A hilarious adventure for children aged 6-9.

It would be best to read the series in order. In the first book, Brody’s life take a surprising turn when his father gets married.

About BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE – Book 1 in The Brody Cody Series.

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

Find out more about Toni Pike and her books

Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Toni Pike and learn more about her books. Toni and I would love to hear from you (comments below). Happy Reading! ~Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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