Green Earth Book Awards

Andri, me, Phil, Tiffany, Eliot, and Melissa at the Ward Museum Photo courtesy Salisbury University
Andri, me, Phil, Tiffany, Eliot, and Melissa
Photo courtesy Salisbury University

My little life in books is very, very busy these days and I’m having lots of great experiences … even if I am not finding time to blog about them. In the past two weeks I’ve visited three schools (waves to the super students at Runkle, Upham, and Winthrop elementary schools), delivered one keynote lecture (cheers to the Rhode Island Science Teachers Association), and spent an entire weekend celebrating readers, writers, and planet Earth with people who care deeply about all three.

For this last event, the environmentalists at The Nature Generation and the children’s book-saavy faculty of Salisbury University teamed up to put on an amazing Read Green festival and to award the 2013 Green Earth Book Awards. It was such an honor to cheer the winners of a literary contest for area students, to work with students at Salisbury Middle School, to see Ellen Harasimowicz‘s photos on display at the Ward Museum of Waterfowl Art, to accept a Green Earth Book Award for CITIZEN SCIENTISTS, and to speak with teachers and teachers-to-be at the Read Green conference.

On top of all that Read Green goodness? I got to hear Eliot Schrefer speak about ENDANGERED, his National Book Award nominated YA novel. (Aside: it’s a must-read, folks.)  I met Tiffany Trent, chicken-raiser, beekeeper, and author of the environmentally-themed steampunk YA novel THE UNNATURALISTS. (Yes, I bought myself a copy. Yes, I am excited to read it!) I bonded with author friends old and new, including author Melissa Stewart, photographer/author Shelley Rotner, Icelandic rock star Andri Magnason, and teenaged author/illustrator/environmentalist Olivia Bouler.

I am holding these people and all of my Maryland moments close as I type this morning; it truly was an unforgettable weekend. (I haven’t even mentioned my afternoon with the wild ponies of Assateague! A thousand thank yous to Patty Dean and Ernest Bond for those memories.)  The event that sums the entire Green Earth experience best for me, though, is this one …

On Friday night, at the Green Earth Book Award ceremonies, I was serenaded by Phillip Hoose. Okay, he didn’t sing to me exclusively, he sang to everyone in the room. Still … his rendition of the song he co-wrote with his daughter Hannah, Hey, Little, Ant, captured the mood and the magic of this evening so perfectly that I doubt I will ever forget it. Here’s a sip of that moment for you: a previously recorded audio of Phil and Hannah performing Hey, Little Ant. (Go ahead, click over and scroll down and click again and enjoy it. You won’t regret it. Trust me!)

So … it’s been a whirlwind. And things around here aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. It’s planting season in Massachusetts, and I’m busy starting seeds and bedding asparagus and pruning vines. I’m learning how to manage my bees (yes, they survived the winter!) and my daughter and I are embarking on a new husbandry adventure: chickens. I’ll be visiting with students in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York over the next two weeks, too. Life is busy. Life is good. Spring has sprung. I’m embracing it all. I hope you are, too.