An Extravaganza!

An Extravaganza!

Book Launch and Library Fundraiser
Saturday, May 21, 11:00 am
8 Newton Street
West Boylston, MA

Please join me as I celebrate the publication of my newest book for children, HONEYBEE RESCUE, with a library fundraising book extravaganza!

Why a fundraiser? Because Beaman Memorial Public Library is my hometown library and the librarians there have not only supported my reading life for the past twenty years, but also enthusiastically supported my career, buying copies of my books for the children’s room, sponsoring town-wide reads based on them, and hosting six book launches in the Stiles Room. But mostly because I want this hub of our community to be here forever.

Why should you come? Because it’ll be fun! I’ll be sharing a little bit of the story behind HONEYBEE RESCUE: A BACKYARD DRAMA and giving away a some rescue honey harvested and bottled by Jon Nelson, star of the book. Because books make great gifts–for graduates, for teachers, for yourself, for summer birthdays, for your favorite Little Free Library, for your kid or grandkid’s classroom or camp or after school program, for leaving on a public bench as a gift to the world. And because this will be an easy way for you to help support the library, too.

Copies of HONEYBEE RESCUE, filled with eye-popping images by local photographer Ellen Harasimowicz, will be available for sale and signing along with all my other children’s books. Proceeds will benefit the Beaman Memorial Public Library Endowment Fund.

To read more about the books that I’ll have on hand, check out this page.

I hope to see you on Saturday!

A Hometown Launch Celebration

A Hometown Launch Celebration

It’s finally here: launch month for Honeybee Rescue: A Backyard Drama, a new picture book from myself, photographer Ellen Harasimowicz, and Charlesbridge Publishing. To celebrate, my friends at Root & Press are hosting an evening launch event at their Worcester, MA store. Books will be available for sale and signing, of course, and there will be refreshments, raffles, and storytelling. I hope you’ll join us in-person to buzz up your hump day!

Wednesday, May 11 at 5:30pm
Root & Press, Cafe & Books
623 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA

Can’t make it in-person? Don’t fret! You can support the book and Root & Press by purchasing a copy through this convenient Bookshop link. And here’s a bonus treat: you can also order a copy of You’re Invited to a Moth Ball, the picture book Ellen and I released during the pandemic. All books ordered through this link will be mailed to directly to you.

Calling All Nature Lovers

Calling All Nature Lovers

Please join me and children’s author Maria Gianferrari for a celebration of nature, nature spaces, and nature books at Worcester, MA’s TidePool Bookshop on Sunday, May 22nd at 1PM. We’ll be chatting about our most recent nature books, HONEYBEE RESCUE (illustrated by Ellen Harasimowicz and published by Charlesbridge Publishing), and BOBCAT PROWLING (illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline and published by MacKids Books) and also celebrating urban wildlife and habitats. We plan to raffle off two goodie baskets to raise funds for our favorite local conservation group, Greater Worcester Land Trust .

Order books through Tidepool here and you will automatically be entered into the raffle. You can also buy books in person at the store during the week before the event or at the event itself. Additional raffle entry tickets can be purchased, 3 for $5. The raffle baskets include:

Grand Prize Nature Lover’s Basket
Signed copies of Maria’s picture books BOBCAT PROWLING, COYOTE MOON, HAWK RISING and WHOO-KU HAIKU
Pocket binoculars
Naturalist’s notebook
Massachusetts field guide to wildlife, birds, trees & wildflowers
AND … a virtual author visit from Loree & Maria!

Sweet Runner-up Basket
Signed copy of Loree’s HONEYBEE RESCUE
Signed copy of Maria’s BOBCAT PROWLING
Rescue honey from B.B. Apiaries (owner Jon Nelson is the star of Loree’s book!)
Honey dipper
Hershey kisses

We would love to see you there! If you use Facebook, you can RSVP for the event here.

Introducing …

Introducing …

My newest picture book for readers 5-8 years old–plus all their friends & family–is coming from Charlesbridge in May 2022!*

Honeybee Rescue, filled with eye-popping images by Ellen Harasimowicz, tells the story of beekeeper John Connery and the colony of honeybees that moved out of his backyard hive box and into his ramshackle garage. With a New England winter on the horizon, these bees needed a new home. But how does one relocate 70,000 honeybees and their honeycomb hive? Enter Mr. Jon Nelson, bee rescuer. This is a backyard drama you don’t want to miss.

Think this is a book for you or your favorite kid readers? Or your neighbors who keep bees? Or your parents or cousins or dentist? Perhaps the local library or elementary school? Pre-order a copy now so you can put it in their hands as soon as it’s available. (Pre-ordering a new book is one of the most helpful things you can do for your favorite authors. Truly!)

* All fingers and toes crossed that worldwide shipping delays and supply chain issues don’t impact this release date. I’ll keep you posted.

** Can’t wait to learn more about honeybee rescue-ing? Check out this article I wrote about Jon Nelson and his work, published in the the online literary journal Multiplicity.

Summer Projects

© Loree Griffin Burns
© Loree Griffin Burns

That there is a photo I recently took in my garden. The baskets are filled with turnips, under them sit the weeds I haven’t managed to clear yet and behind them the paste tomatoes desperately in need of staking. This garden is the number one reason I have not blogged much since May.

The number two reason? I’ve been working on finishing up this book.

The number three reason? I’ve been working on a new Scientists in the Field book.

I’d tell you more, but I’m working on a website update (it’ll coincide with the publication of these two books next year) and getting ready for our family vacation, too!

But sometime soon, when all these summer 2013 activities have been enjoyed to their fullest, I plan to share the details here. Until then, I hope you are having yourself a fabulously wild summer!

My Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a blog meme designed to get authors and illustrators talking about their works-in-progress My friend Kathy Erskine blogged about her Next Big Things last week (yes, Kathy has TWO books on the horizon) and then tagged me so that I could join the fun. Thank you, Kathy!

So, here we go …

1.  What is the working title of your book?

The working title has been Special Delivery: A Butterfly Story for years, and I am really, really, REALLY attached to it. Unfortunately, there has recently been talk of changing it.  Apparently someone else is working on a children’s book with the same title, and that someone may beat me to publication. Bah! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

2.  Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wrote about the genesis of this book a while ago, in a post on my blog. The short version is this: in 2008 I took my kids to the Butterfly Garden at the Museum of Science in Boston; I found the idea for this book just hanging out there, on a ficus tree.

3.  What genre does your book come under?

Special Delivery will be my first picture book. It’s nonfiction, of course, and illustrated with full color photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz.

4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a move rendition?

The main characters in Special Delivery are tropical caterpillars, pupae, and butterflies. There are a few cameos by the farmers who live and work at El Bosque Nuevo, a butterfly farm in Costa Rica, and by Lea Morgan, the Assistant Curator of the Butterfly Garden at the Museum of Science in Boston. These folks are super cool, interesting people and I think they should play themselves.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Special Delivery shares the surprising and far-flung life story of the tropical butterflies on exhibit at your local museum or zoo. Did you know that most of these butterflies spend their caterpillar lives on farms thousands of miles away? Where they are raised en masse like a crop of carrots? It’s true!

(I know. I know. Four sentences. I couldn’t help it.)

6.  Who is publishing your book?

Special Delivery will be published by Millbrook Press in spring 2014.

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Because this is a work of nonfiction, and because I originally envisioned it as a longer book, my first draft was actually a 20-plus page book proposal. I started writing it while I was still in Costa Rica, living and researching at El Bosque Nuevo. (You can see my ‘office’ in the righthand photo above.) I finished it about three months later in my boring, old home office. (No photo necessary; it doesn’t compare.)

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m sort of stumped on this question …

The imagery reminds me of books like Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden, by George Levenson and Shmuel Thaler and Nic Bishop’s visually stunning Frogs. The text, however, is more personal, a true-life story along the  lines of Owen and Mzee, by Isabella & Craig Hatkoff or Tara & Bella, by Carol Buckley.

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Plainly and simply: curiosity. Once I realized the butterflies in that museum exhibit were ‘born’ in Central America, and that they’d been shipped to the museum in the belly of a jumbo jet, I was hooked. I had to tell their story.

10.  What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Ellen and I traveled to Costa Rica twice to research this book. Both times we lived at El Bosque Nuevo, where we were able to embed ourselves in the work of raising a crop of butterfly pupae. I will never, ever forget those trips. Especially the little bat who lived in the shower!

Thank you for reading about my Next Big Thing. Now I get to tag a couple writer pals to share their Next Big Things. I’ve got two amazing nonfiction writers in mind, and since neither of them keeps a blog, they’ve agreed to let me host their Next Big Thing posts here at A Life in Books. As if that weren’t cool enough: their new books involve dolphins and spiders. Stay tuned!

Citizen Scientists news


The past few months have brought some nice accolades for CITIZEN SCIENTISTS, each of which makes me proud and very, very grateful. Thank you to the teachers, librarians, scientists, reviewers and children’s book lovers who make these awards happen …

  • It was awarded an AAAS/SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books (Hands-On Science category). You can read more about this award and all the 2013 finalists here.
  • The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) named it an Orbis Pictus honor book. You can read about the Orbis Pictus winner, the Orbis Pictus honor books, and more NCTE Recommended titles here.
  • The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) included it on their list of Outstanding Trade Books for Students K-12. Access the complete list here.
  • The New York Public Library included it on their 2013 list of 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing. You can see that complete list here.