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Celebrate the Great Monarch Butterfly Migration & Help Protect this Threatened Species!!


 

The Great Monarch Migration

Each year from August through October, masses of monarch butterflies embark on a journey from the southern reaches of Canada that takes them 2500 Miles to remote mountain treetops in central Mexico. Millions of overwintering monarchs were discovered roosting there for the first time in 1975. Here at the farmstead in central Maine, monarch butterflies visit us from early June through mid to late September. As a citizen scientist, I report my sightings to Journey North . I invite you to visit their website to find out more about our amazing monarch butterflies and find out how you can help.

Hubby Dan and I have sighted sixty (60) monarchs so far this season. The monarch chrysalis in my photo collage was spun by a caterpillar Dan discovered on a day lily leaf when he was cleaning the garden on August 13, 2019. We transferred the caterpillar and part of the leaf to our back porch. By the time I put fresh batteries in the camera and returned, this chrysalis had already been spun. On August 31, a beautiful monarch butterfly had emerged and was resting on her chrysalis (yes, it was a girl, our 2019 Matilda) about noontime. We sat and watched for hours as she dried her wings. I moved her to a nearby phlox plant where she could rest and sip nectar as she prepared for her long journey  south. One of her friends (most likely a monarch sibling) stopped by to check on her several times. By 4:45 p.m., she was flitting and fluttering through the garden before she began soaring and landed on the birch wood pile before soaring away on her long journey south.

Note: The top left monarch was one of our earlier arrivals that stopped to lay eggs on our milkweed. The others are all of our amazing Matilda who is on her way to Mexico!

Leaders from U.S., Mexico & Canada have agreed to help protect this threatened species through the NAFTA trade agreement. Groups and individual citizens continue to band together to support and protect monarch butterflies. Together we can make a difference!

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

  • Plant native milkweed
  • Provide nectar plants
  • Avoid pesticides
  • Report your monarch sighting observations to JourneyNorth.org

Bette A. Stevens is the author/illustrator of award-winning picture book Amazing Mailda, A Monarch’s Tale.

Here’s what two readers have to say:

“A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.” ~Karen Ingalls

“I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!” ~ D.L. Finn

Amazing Matilda (2019) is on her way to Mexico! 

 

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Write a Summer Limerick & Get the Kids Writing Too!


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 their natural habitat areas being increasingly eroded and with significantly greater use of chemicals, our butterfly population is in decline. Planting and cultivating milkweed (Monarch caterpillars need milkweed) and other blooms that our pollinators need for survival is one way that I can help.

Limerick (poetic definition)

[lim-er-ik]
noun
1. a kind of humorous verse of five lines, in which the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines, which are shorter, form a rhymed couplet.

 

My limerick is about one of the monarch butterflies (captured by my camera) that fluttered through my garden so far this summer. I had fun writing two verses to tell my monarch’s story. Check out the link at the end of the post to find out more about poetic limericks.

A Monarch Butterfly Limerick

by Bette A. Stevens

There once was a monarch so fair

She fluttered and flit through the air

’Twas milkweed she needed

And so she proceeded

To search through the garden with care

 

Monarch  knew she had nothing to fear

Her flutters would soon disappear

When milkweed she spotted

Her heart was besotted

Depositing monarch eggs there

 

WRITING POETRY WITH CHILDREN

Tips & Tools

When teaching (grades 4-8), I found that writing poems and sharing them was an exciting way get children of all ages hooked on writing. I must admit it—limericks are so much fun to write and to share! In the classroom we learn about using some of the tools in our writer’s tool box—literary devices like assonance (repeating vowel sounds) and consonance (repeating consonant sounds) to create a musical message. And of course, we had Scholastic rhyming dictionaries and thesauruses close at hand. It’s always exciting to discover alternative words (synonyms) that have just the right sounds and syllables to perfect our poems.

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 it a try. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Click the link to find out all about it How to Write a Limerick http://www.poetry4kids.com/blog/lessons/how-to-write-a-limerick/

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“COMPASSION” (poem) by Bette A. Stevens


Compassion…

Compassion in life
Is a beautiful thing

Sharing its beauty
Gives others their wings
Stirring love into each
Little thing that we do
Is sure to help their dreams
And our dreams come true

© Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing. But exactly what is compassion? I’ve always thought of compassion as love in action. After writing the poem COMPASSION, I searched Google to find a definition. The synonyms fit perfectly into my preconceived notion for the poem because they not only included love and mercy, each synonym requires action (stirring) on our part to metamorphose the idea of compassion into the realty of compassion.

May compassion reign in our hearts and hands each day.

~ Bette A. Stevens

Google Search:

noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

“the victims should be treated with compassion”

synonyms: pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

“have you no compassion for a fellow human being?”

antonyms: indifference, cruelty

Origin Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with.’

Enjoy more of Bette’s poetry in her new collection—MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons.

Stevens has released a poetry and photography collection inspired by Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people. The author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons takes readers on a poetic journey through the state’s four distinct seasons. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

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Release Day for MY MAINE by Bette A. Stevens (A Poetry & Photography Collection)


Maine Poetry & Photography Collection 

Get ready to vacation 365 days a year!

 

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens

Available in paperback ($16.00) today!

Pre-order eBook ($4.99)—delivered on July 1, 2019.

Early Review

“Bette Stevens has used the bounty and beauty of the seasons in her home state of Maine as inspiration for lyrical and charming haikus that touch the soul and enliven the senses. From the windowsill seedlings and crowned crocus choirs of spring to the lady slippers and salamander spots of summer… from crispy, crunchy leaves and pumpkin confections of autumn to the white weighted branches and icicles weeping of winter… Bette Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. This is a collection to be slowly savored, made even more delicious with her original drawings and photographs. I can’t remember enjoying a book of poetry more.”—N.A. Granger, Professor Emerita, University of North Carolina

Blurb

Inspired by The Pine Tree State­—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs take readers on a memorable journey. The collection travels through Maine’s four seasons and includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

CLICK links below to order your copy today!

MY MAINE

Haiku through the Seasons by Bette A. Stevens

“The Way Life Should Be”

 

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MY MAINE Coming Soon…Poetry for All Seasons!


My Maine is coming soon…

My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (A poetry and photography collection) by Bette A. Stevens is scheduled for release June 2019.

MY MAINE Wandering through woods 2 COMING SOON

Happy Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter!

Fields and forest greens have awakened and fruit trees are finally in bloom at the Farmstead in central Maine. This photograph was taken at Moose Point park in Searsport, Maine. The haiku in the photo is from “Spring Awakenings”—MY MAINE—my poetry and photography collection scheduled for release June 2019. The collection includes 49 of my photographs along with 150 haiku poems that take readers on a seasonal journey through the Maine I know and love. The book includes a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People,” plus interesting facts and symbols from The Pine Tree State.

Wherever you are, whatever the season, I invite you to get outdoors and get inspired. Join the fun and write a seasonal haiku about what’s inspiring you. It’s as easy as 1-2-3… You’ll find the definition and descriptive details of writing haiku below. If the kids are around, make it a family affair—they’ll love it!

Pine Cone _ Tassels CROP for Digital Books BAS MAY 2019

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

(Excerpt from “Spring Awakenings”)

Sunbeams composing
Springtime melodies, humming
Tapping to the tunes

Beguiling blossoms
Address the invitations
Springtime Reception

Wandering through woods
Soft leaf carpet, rippling brook
No schedule to keep

© 2019 Bette A. Stevens (from MY MAINE, Haiku through the Seasons)

HAIKU

noun hai·ku ˈhī-(ˌ)kü
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

Discover more about how to write poetry and prose:

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AMAZING MATILDA, A Monarch Butterfly Tale by Bette A. Stevens (Children’s Picture Book)



“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

 

AMAZING MATILDA—Read the Reviews

  • Bette Stevens’s Amazing Matilda: The Tale of a Monarch Butterfly is the story of tiny Matilda, a round white creature born from an egg in Nature’s garden with a burning desire to fly.  Without wings, though, she knows that can’t happen. Matilda has no idea that in her life, she will morph from the crawly leaf-bound creature to a gorgeous monarch butterfly. She tells her animal friends about her passion to fly and they offer their stories of growing up as well as sage advice any parent would be envious of. For example, her friend Sparrow suggests:“Just have patience and follow your instincts, my dear…”Another friend suggests:”I could do anything that I wanted to if I only tried long enough and hard enough.”She is frustrated by this good-natured advice because she has no idea how to do what they suggest:“Sparrow said that I must have patience and that I must follow my instincts. Now, you say I must have wings. Where can I find all of those things?”As Matilda grows, she changes from a larva to pupa to a gorgeous winged adult. Each stage in Matilda’s amazing journey is accompanied with wonderful drawings that show her progress, who she meets, and how she changes.As a result, readers are not just entertained by the story but happily learn about the development of a butterfly. There are lots of cute lines, such as:”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!This is a short book. In fact. This review is almost longer than the story!
  • The story is really exciting, appealing, adventurous, lovable, and yet, sufficiently wise and deep for both kids and adults.In case you do not trust my word, I urge you to find out for yourselves. Otherwise, I might be reviewing this wonderful book for hours. It is my pleasure indeed!
  • A beautiful message of love, patience, perseverance, and belief. The story is told with a frog, bird, rabbit, and the butterfly as the main characters. A perfect book for children mainly to teach them about the cycles of life and the importance of patience, perseverance, and keeping faith in a dream.

Read all 87 reviews on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AU9ZISA/

 

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

Order your copies of AMAZING MATILDA today:

FREE from Bette

AMAZING MATILDA (Review & Author Interview) 

 

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4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing


111-4-reasons-to-use-action-beats-when-writingWRITING TIPSWant to break up boring dialogue, show and not tell, stop info-dumping your setting, and sneak in character description? Check out K.M. Allen’s blog post! ~Bette A. Stevens 4writersandreaders

K.M. Allan

If you’re wondering what an action beat is, you’re not alone. Not too long ago, I didn’t know what it was either.

I’ve since learned it’s an action your character is doing while they’re talking.

Yeah, it’s not exactly an earth-shattering revelation and is something you’ve probably been writing naturally anyway, it’s just now you know there’s an actual name for it.

Not only does this writing trick have a name, it also has four good reasons why you should be working actions beats into your dialogue.

4 Reasons To Use Action Beats When Writing

1. Action Beats Break Up The Boring

When an action beat pairs with your dialogue, it breaks up the usual he said/she said monotony of dialogue tags.

Dialogue tag:
“Hi,” Jenny said.

Action beat:
“Hi.” Jenny lifted her hand, waving her fingers in Carla’s face.

Action beats will also break up long passages of dialogue, puts…

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