Thursday, April 11, 2013

Earth Day Celebration - Stephanie Lisa Tara


On Tour with CBB Book Promotions... 

I am happy to welcome Stephanie Lisa Tara for this fun Earth Day Celebration hosted by Candace @ Candace's Book Blog Book Promotions. She is sharing her collection of stories all at once and I rec'd print copies to review. It has been a pleasure reading her books with my little girl. Please welcome Stephanie to Colorimetry with me!



I've always believed that magic hides in special places. As a child, people would often stare at my bright red hair, which was very, very bright indeed.

Unfortunately, I developed a bad habit of making up rhymes about all of them, and they soon became funny characters. I didn't have much time to think about being different; fanciful lyricisms danced in my head, and no one was safe!


Since then, I've come to believe that storytelling has the power to inspire a deep love of language and learning. Words tripping off the tongue in somersaults that stick to your thoughts like taffy-- those are the things that stay forever in the mind.


I've lived in many special places: on a farm, in a city skyscraper, on a tropical beach, and in the beautiful country of France. Now I live in northern California, between the redwood forests and the sea. Even though I'm an adult, I'm still as silly as ever.


Many nice words have been used to describe my books, such as fun, engaging, delightful, and whimsical. Some folks say that I deliver timeless messages of love for kids and parents to share again and again; this makes me very happy. I hope that you'll enjoy my stories, too. Captivating children with language is something that I believe in, and I strive to live my life with this always.
--Stephanie Lisa Tara

www.StephanieLisaTara.com


Stephanie Lisa Tara's Personal Sites:





I'LL FOLLOW THE MOON:
One night in 2001, about a month after I brought baby Madeline home from the hospital, I noticed something quite strange on the beach in front of our south Florida home. It was late and Mom was tired, doing a last-one-of-the-day bottle feeding on the deck after a long day of new mom activities. As Maddie slurped down the final ounce of her formula with that familiar glup, glup, glup sound, I noticed dark, tiny shapes scurrying across the sand. What was this? I wondered and went down for a closer look. There they were! Baby turtles streaming out of hundreds of small nests, gentle rises in the sand were their markers. The babies made fanciful patterns in the sand as they dashed on little green legs in a remarkable race to the sea. I watched them hop, one by one, into welcoming waves that sparkled under the beautiful moonlight. "I'm coming Mama..." they seemed to be saying, and I realized that I was witnessing one of nature's sacred events, the love bond between mother and child. It is this precious feeling that inspired me to write I'll Follow the Moon, that came into being a few years later. 

With love, 
Stephanie Lisa Tara


Our Review:

This is our favorite book out of all of them. The baby turtle is so cute. We took a long time looking at every page and the beautiful pictures. The words are easy to read and so fun:  "I tap, crick, crack, I spin, I sway." We enjoyed the repeated line "I'm coming Mamma, I'll see you soon." It is just the kind of book that is fun to read over and over... and even little kids can "read" the repeated phrase. I love the theme of the book even better, if possible... and it's a true story! Lol. Baby turtles really do that!  What a treasure of a book. Everyone should have a copy of this book.

My copy has some fun extras... a fun bio on the author and illustrator and the above introduction from Stephanie. In the back there are some fun stories of how the book has been shared and some reviews quoted... and then... some lesson ideas for teaching about sea turtles for different ages AND a coloring page to copy. Seriously LOVE.  5 Stars



GWYNNE, FAIR & SHINING:


A traditional Connecticut childhood might have had something to do with my love of fairytales, Hans Christian Anderson, Grimm, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Mother Goose and Aesop lined the shelves of my bright pink bedroom to be sure. Stories told aloud for thousands of years…goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, gnomes, fairies, pixies, brownies, wizards, witches and mermaids teaching children with their clever moral-of-the-story endings. Why, they were a parent’s best friend. Passed down from one generation to the next, and shared in front of the hearth at the end of a long day sounded like bliss to me. And so my own daughter and I carried on the tradition, sharing tales aloud, and even creating some new ones of our own. Of princesses, castles, forests, and magic flutes. So I really must credit a preschooler with the story of Gwynne, a brave girl who believes she can do anything she sets her heart to doing. In today's neon digital world, it seems nice to reflect back to a simpler time, when imagination was all a child needed. Just one mom's opinion, anyway.

With love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara

Our Review:

We had mixed feelings about this story, so I'll share our pro's and con's since every reader likes different things. The book layout and illustration is sooooo great and beautiful. I squealed outloud looking at the prologue... a pronunciation guide for Gwynne and some background on Welsh Fairytales. :-D  The lesson plans at the end are awesome, too.

I don't like the "nasty knights". The adults are armored and mean. They want her to clean, like Cinderella, and she wants to dance to magical music. The solution is for her to run away and be rescued by animals and fairies. 

The theme is to believe in yourself, "that's what magic's about". I liked that along with the rhyming words which have a dancing cadence. Overall, this book is a lot of fun with some parts that weren't our favorites. 3 Stars. 


SNOWY WHITE WORLD TO SAVE:

"What is global warming, Mama?" asked my five year old one day in 2006, "the polar bears, are they in trouble?" I was stunned. How does a parent answer such a question? I did the best I could. Al Gore's wonderful film and book, 'An Inconvenient Truth' had come out, and all the world was talking about this topic. "Yes, humans need to be more responsible," I said to my child, “we need to care about all creatures on the planet; humans and animals." One amazing thing about children is their ability to understand new concepts instantly. Maddie jumped up—eyes wide and heart open, declaring, "Yes, Mama! What can I do to help!" As do all the children I read this story to, at schools, museums and aquariums across the nation. The causes of global warming can be debated by the powers that be, but I do believe as parents and educators, we can make our kids gently aware of what is happening in their world, about issues that they themselves hear about every day. Further, we can empower them with hope as the next generation that can make a difference. Snowy White World to Save, is just such an attempt. Mother bear and her cubs in the Arctic tell the global warming story sensitively, across an array of panorama watercolor paintings. A “Help the Bears” page at the ends lists all we can do to help. Endorsed with a message from actress/activist Sharon Stone.

With love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara
Our Review:
I love the art in this book. Love. The polar bears are so real looking, just like a nature film. The baby polar bears are so cute. When we realized we were looking at whales under the ice, it was a wonderful surprise. I love the art. 5.5 Stars, love.

The story dipped for me when the mamma bear caught a seal and... the blood ran into the ocean over the ice while crows looked on. The story turned dark and serious, which... is actually the focus of the book. "Oh, what can be done?"  My daughter didn't mind the blood. There are no grisly seal bits, or anything. She accepted the entire story along with the desire to help the bears. Made me wonder if we don't protect our kids from harsh facts more often than necessary!

I wished that the follow up pages addressed the polar bears as well as global warming, but I see how their situation is a great way to bring up the bigger problem. The Polar Bear story is a 5 for me... and the Global Warming story is a 3 for me (I think there are two stories here, not one), so my overall is 4 stars.


LITTLE LIBRARY MOUSE:
A Saturday afternoon at the San Francisco library's story hour is always wonderful, whether six or or thirty six, and my daughter Madeline and I go often.  One day, the librarian read a few pages from several different books, explaining that many different sorts of books live in the world—folktales, fairytales, fables, legends, myths, fantasy, biography, poetry, history, for instance. Afterward, every child in her circle bounded up and raced for the shelves. Mine filled her arms with books we got into line to check them all out. "Mama, what if all these books could be inside one book? Easier to carry!" she said to me. Of course it was a simple child's request, similar to, “what if all the food groups could be inside one food Mama? Easier to eat!” but it did get Mom thinking.  What if children’s storybook genres could be represented in one book? What of a mouse could lead the way? Little Library Mouse was born that very day, a six year old’s whim. "On a sentence we sail!" said little Maddie. And it’s true, we do.

With Love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara

Our Review:

Ha! What a great idea!!  The library closes at night and the mice come out to play... exploring all the stories they find in the books at the library!

My daughter and I spent a lot of time on each page talking about what stories were represented. More than half of the story is told in the illustrations. She loved looking for the tiny footprints on each page and showing me all the details in the pictures. 

Some of the words were hard for her to read, like "iridescent" and she just passed over some of the concepts, like "Cherries, like words, are delicious as hooks." Why would a hook be delicious? I wasn't able to explain it before her attention wandered. 

Overall, I like this book a lot. It really focuses on the delight of stories in general, not to mention encouraging creativity in story-making. 4.5 Stars. 


ELIZA'S FOREVER TREES:

My eleven-year-old daughter and I often hike through the redwood forest located just outside our home here in Northern California. One of our favorite spots in the forest is within a magical natural phenomenon called a redwood fairy ring. A mother redwood reproduces by throwing off roots, sprouts, and burls from her body. Therefore, her children grow in a circle around her, and they are one with their mother, created from her very body. This ring of trees, called a fairy ring, is said to contain a very powerful energy and magic. I can certainly say that when my daughter Maddie and I sit inside a fairy ring, we can feel the magic. And, to be honest, it was not long before I started seeing Eliza peeking at me from behind the redwoods. I saw she was looking for something. Something very dear to her, I realized she was seeking her own mother. Then I immediately realized—Great Mother Redwood would be able to help. Of course. Yes, Great Mother Redwood—she, who started the redwood forest a million years ago. Her fairy ring of children-trees around her. Yes, help was close by. Indeed!

With Love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara
San Francisco





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