Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ Flowers in the City

 I had the opportunity to visit Boston a couple weeks ago, and as I walked around (it is a city built for walking!) I noticed all the flowers. Blossoms of every color, shape, size... tucked into small gardens in front of apartments and lining the walkways of parks. 
hibiscus blooming in front of apartment
canna lily at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park
What do flowers add to your neighborhood? Color? Texture? A source of pollen and nectar for pollinators? Seeds for birds? Check out the flowers you see in your neighborhood gardens and parks this week. Take a close-up portrait of your favorite one. Or paint a picture, write an ode, or just enjoy its beauty for a few moments.

Archimedes Notebook is taking a break over Labor Day Weekend ~ See you next Wednesday!

Monday, August 29, 2022

Before you toss that banana peel....

Bananas are good for you. They are chock-full of tryptophan, vitamin A, potassium, and iron. Even their peels are nutritious. Earlier this month a press release from the American Chemical Society stated that banana peels are “… replacing pork in "pulled peel" sandwiches and getting fried up into "bacon." And now, researchers reporting in ACS Food Science & Technology show that incorporating banana peel flour into sugar cookie batter makes the treats more healthful.”

Wikimedia/ Anitamahotra
I eat a lot of bananas, and I know the peels had nutrients – that’s why I toss them into my compost bin. But no more! Apparently banana peels are packed with anti-oxidents:  polyphenols, carotenoids, and others that can help fight cancer-causing free radicals in your body. Banana peels are also a good source of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as magnesium, potassium, protein and, of course, fiber. Lots of fiber.

Banana peel "bacon" requires too many seasonings, but you can toss banana peels into your next smoothie, mix up a banana peel chutney, or make some banana peel curry. I’m thinking this faux pulled “pork” recipe might go well in a taco.

You don’t have to eat banana peels to reuse them. They are good for moisturizing skin and soothing mosquito bites (just rub the inside of the peel over the bite). And some people rub them over their leather shoes for a quick shine. Warning: they do nothing for muddy sneakers.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Reading, Writing, and Artithmechicks

In our area, families are taking in the last bit of summer vacation or shopping the back-to-school sales. In other places, students have been in the classroom for a couple weeks. And elsewhere, students may be counting down the days to September break. But no matter where you are in the world, school means Reading and Writing and Arithmechicks. Wait! What?

theme: math, coding, humor

Arithmechicks Take a Calculation Vacation: A Math Story 
by Ann Marie Stephens; illus. by Jia Liu 
32 pages; ages 3-7
‎Astra Young Readers, 2022  

10 chicks plus 1 mouse bounce to the beach. Mama leads the way.

It’s vacation time! And these chicks have lots of beach activities planned: sandcastle construction, volleyball, lounging in the sun, and some wave-riding. Even salty beaks and sandy feathers don’t stop them from having fun.

What I like about this book:
This is a great resource for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents who are looking for a fun way to introduce equations. Each page shows a different way to add – or subtract – the number of chicks, whether it’s climbing a tree for coconuts or falling off a surfboard. Back matter explains how to combine three numbers into math fact families:  2 addition facts + 2 subtraction facts = 4 facts in a family. There are more books in the Arithmechicks series; check out my review here.

What's Branching?: A Birthday Adventure! 
by Kaitlyn Siu; illus. by Marcelo Badari 
32 pages; ages 3+
‎Kane Miller Books / EDC Publishing, 2022

What’s branching? Let’s find out! We’ll help super robot Pixel plan a perfect party for Jet, and learn cool coding skills while we do. 

Jet loves being outside, so a party in the park sounds perfect. But what if it rains? Pixel makes backup plans: if it rains, then we’ll …..  In coding, writing backup plans using if/then statements  is called branching. We do this a lot in everyday life. Like planning a hike – and if it looks like rain, packing a poncho.

What I like about this book:
The graphics make it easy to understand the coding concepts introduced: branching, debugging a program. Back matter includes a simple matching game for if/then statements, a glossary, and a guide for teachers and parents. I also like that this book is part of a series (First Steps in CODING) and other books present algorithms, sequencing, loops, and more.

Beyond the Books:

Incorporate some math into your daily life. Use math language to talk about things like hanging the laundry: two socks on the line plus one more sock is ….. or stack blocks in a pyramid. 3 blocks on the bottom plus 2 plus 1 on top equals… And what happens when 2 block leave?  Check out this post for more books that incorporate math literacy.

Create some simple coding games. With this one all you need is a deck of cards, some toys, tape…. or you can make a grid and ask your friend to code a path around the obstacles.

We’ll join Perfect Picture Book Friday once they resume. It’s a weekly event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copies provided by the publishers.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ What's that Buzz?

Mullien is one of the "weeds" I allow to grow in my garden. It's a biennial, so it takes two years to grow. In its first year it produces a low-growing rosette of woolly felt-like bluish-gray leaves. It's in the second year that the flowering spike shoots up, bursting into yellow blooms. They take up a lot of room, but since the bumble bees love them, I let them grow in areas that have lots of unused space - like the bed where the pumpkins grow. All those vines! surely there's room for a mullien or three.

This week, listen to the insects buzzing around your flowers. Take a closer look to see who is visiting.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Bringing Back the Words

Words are important. At least, being a writer, I like to think so. Words connect us to ideas. Words connect us to our culture, history, family and community. And words connect us to nature. 

I was a kid who kept lists of nature words: names of the rocks we hunted for; names for the squirrels and birds I learned to identify; names for wild places hidden in vacant lots and parks around the city. Pooh had the Hundred Acre Wood; my friends and I had the Secret Forest – though it wasn’t very secret and only had a handful of trees. Something inside me felt that if I could name an animal, flower, rock, I might know it a little better.

So I was surprised, taken aback, even appalled to learn that a children’s dictionary was removing words about nature to make more room for words about technology. This started in 2007 when the Oxford Junior Dictionary deleted a slew of nature words: dandelion, acorn, magpie, otter – seriously? Who removes those cute, fluffy critters from a children’s dictionary? But the facts are that the children’s dictionary has a limited number of pages upon which to print words, and the words children are using (or being forced to use in school) are changing. In place of the nature words, they put in voice mail, broadband, BlackBerry – a now obsolete phone, not the tasty Rubus spp we continue to pick from prickly vines to this day.

This losing of nature words rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Teachers and scientists sent emails to the Oxford dictionary folks. And author Robert Macfarlane teamed up with painter, Jackie Morris to create a lovely book, Lost Words. I discovered this book in 2019 and fell in love with it. It’s presented as a “spellbook for conjuring back those lost words” – those words snatched from the language of children before they even had a chance to learn about conkers and newts, bluebells and brambles. The pages held not just poems, but spells that might – through the magic of being spoken aloud – bring back those lost words into a child’s language. Ours, too.

How we perceive and talk about the natural world affects how we relate to it, and that affects how we care for it. Or how we don’t. I sometimes catch myself talking about going out to the garden to chat with plants or listen to the bees. When I hear a bird song I don’t recognize, I often ask, “who’s that?” 

I think that having words to share our observations about nature and the ecology around us is vitally important. Not only does it give us a language to converse in, but it strengthens our connections to the natural world. These connections are critical, especially now. In the past 50 years, human activities have contributed to a loss of nearly 70% of the world’s wildlife.

Can we reverse our environmental losses by changing the language we use? I think so. What if, instead of “profit” we talked about “environmental sustainability?” Instead of “weeds” we used words like “dandelion” and “pussy toes” and “plantain?” What if, like wildlife rehabilitators, we released wild words, like "kingfisher" back into our lexicon?

The Lost Words folks have created a wonderful Explorers Guide for teachers and parents and curious naturalists. You can find it at the John Muir Trust website ( It is packed with activities across the curriculum ~ poetry, science, things you can do outside and things you can do inside. You’ll also find articles and other resources there.

And if you’re interested in becoming a keeper of nature words, here’s another book you might want to check out: The Keeper of Wild Words, by Brooke Smith. Check out my review here.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Dive Deep to Explore the Ocean

Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean
by Michelle Cusolito; illus. by Nicole Wong 
32 pages; ages 5-8
Charlesbridge, 2022    

theme: nature, ocean, exploratioon

Far away from shore, past beaches and coral reefs, the ocean’s surface conceals earth’s last unexplored wilderness.

But humans are curious. We want to know what’s in the ocean, so we dive in. We want to know what’s deeper in the water, so we create a way to carry air with us. We want to dive deeper … to know what’s at the very bottom of the ocean floor, so we build machines to help us to explore. 

What I like about this book: I like how the book takes readers on field trips to different depths. First we go snorkeling, swimming with fins and breathing through a tube that reaches above the water’s surface. This is where we can see corals and fish and maybe, if we’re lucky, a ray. Each spread takes us deeper into the ocean and introduces the technology used by explorers: atmospheric diving suits, submersibles, and really deep-sea submersibles.

I like that Michelle focuses on the diving that scientists do for research, and that she focuses on how the technology aids in unlocking the secrets of the deep. And I love that there is a vertical spread (turn the book so it is taller than wide) that illustrates the different kinds of diving technology used from sub-surface to miles below. Of course there is back matter!

I caught up with Michelle a couple weeks ago to ask her One Question:

me: Have you done any diving? And what cool things did you see?

Michelle: Yes. When I went snorkeling in the Caribbean in 2016, I was amazed by how loud it was on the coral reef. That experience worked its way into the book where you see two snorkelers glimpsing angelfish amongst sea fans and eavesdropping “on parrotfish crunching on corals.”  

 I also learned to scuba dive while researching for Diving Deep. The deepest I went was 12 meters (about 40 feet). During my certification dive, my instructor brought me to see an octopus in its den. I was so excited, I squealed through my regulator. That octopus sighting went directly into the book: “We fly among fishes and spy an octopus in its den.”

I would be thrilled if I ever got an opportunity to go down in a deep-sea submersible. I most want to see bioluminescence in the deep-sea.

me: I love how your experiences add so much to your book. Now you've inspired me to try snorkeling next time I get to a body of water larger than the bathtub.
Beyond the Books:

Build an underwater viewing scope so you can see what lives in the water near you. Maybe there’s a pond, or a stream, or (if you are lucky) an ocean. You can use a tall yogurt container or a plastic milk jug or a 2-liter soda bottle to make your viewing scope. Plus you need some plastic wrap and rubber bands and a pair of scissors. Here’s how to make one.

Go snorkeling even if you are nowhere near the ocean. This video lets you see what snorkelers see in the Caribbean. 

Michelle also wrote Flying Deep ~ you can read about that book and my interview with her here.

Michelle is a member of #STEAMTeam2022. You can find out more about her at her website,

We’ll join Perfect Picture Book Friday once they resume. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ Thistles


I've always liked thistles. Sure, they're sharp and prickly - and you wouldn't want to step on them with bare feet. But they are also soft and fluffy. Butterflies and bees visit the flowers, and goldfinches snack on their seeds. 

So this week let's take a closer look at thistles you find in your neighborhood. They're opportunistic, so you'll probably find them growing in "weedy areas" or along roadsides, old fields, or (in my case) the un-mowed back bit of the yard.

  • What color is your thistle? And does it have a fragrance?
  • What does the flower feel like?
  • Where do you find spines and prickles on your thistle? 
  • How long are the spines?
  • What insects do you find on the thistle flower?
  • Are there any insects on the leaves or stem?
  • What kind of seeds do thistles produce?
  • Dig one up. What sort of root does it have? (you may want to wear thick gloves for this!)

Monday, August 15, 2022

Three Lessons For Writers ~ by Nancy Castaldo

Writers never stop learning, and with every book we write comes more lessons. The lessons learned from my latest book, The Wolves And Moose Of Isle Royale, began decades ago. 

Every college student knows how anxiety-ridden it can be to plan your course schedule. What if you don’t get into your most-wanted class? What if your classes conflict with each other? What if you’ve been excited about taking a class and find it not offered? The last predicament happened to me. The Ecology class I had been eagerly anticipating was not offered in my senior year. How could this be? Ecology was what I hoped to pursue after graduation. How could I leave college without it? 

Lesson one – Be persistent

Fortunately, I didn’t have to. I pleaded my case to my advisor, the chair of the science department, and my small, women’s college went into action. They hired an adjunct professor to teach the class. There were four of us who loved every minute of it.  Why am I telling you all of this? Well, that class had a profound impact on my career and directly led me to write The Wolves And Moose Of Isle Royale decades later. That professor introduced me to the wolf and moose predator/prey study on Isle Royale and researcher, Rolf Peterson. 

Lesson two - Be ready for opportunities.

Sometimes writing stories begins long before our fingers touch the keyboard. Sometimes they lay dormant just waiting to rise to the surface as this one did for me. But while this story was waiting to be told, I followed the ongoing research on Isle Royale, and when new developments took place, I was ready to dive into this book project. 

Lesson three - It takes a team for each story to be told. Build a great one!

That said, my writer friends in the region kept me apprised of local news stories that I didn’t see on national media. They became valuable team members for my book. 

When I reached Isle Royale and was able to interview Dr. Peterson, the story came full circle decades after it all began. 

Would I have written it if I wasn’t able to take that ecology class? Would I have been able to access a local point of view if not for friends in the field? I don’t know. What I do know is that sometimes lessons line up to provide us with what we need to tell our stories. I can’t wait to share this one with my readers. 

Nancy Castaldo , a founding STEM Tuesday team member, has written books about our planet for over 20 years including The Story of Seeds, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia.  She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also served as Regional Advisor Emeritus of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2022 titles are When the World Runs Dry (Jr Library Guild Selection), The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale (Scientists in the Field) and Buildings That Breathe. Visit her at or follow at @NCastaldoAuthor.

You can read my reviews of some of Nancy's previous books here: When the World Runs DryBack from the BrinkBeastly Brains; and Sniffer Dogs.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Mole and Vole are Friends

Expedition Backyard: Exploring Nature from Country to City (A Graphic Novel) 
by Rosemary Mosco; illustrated by Binglin Hu
128 pages; ages 5-9
‎Random House Graphic, 2022

Mole and Vole are friends, much in the way the Skunk and Badger are friends. Or Frog and Toad. They each have their cozy home and they go off on adventures together.

Vole’s attitude toward adventuring is … well, let’s hear Vole explain: “We could swim across a stream full of hungry fish…. We could climb the tallest tree in the forest and sway with the wind!”

Mole is the sort who carries along a sketchbook and prefers an adventure on the tamer side. “What if we went looking for a Swamp Milkweed flower?” Mole would love to draw one!

So Mole grabs their leaf-bound sketchbook, and the two friends set off. In five chapters, Mole and Vole share adventures in the forest near their homes, inside a house, and in the city… a place they didn’t intend to explore, but ended up there by accident. 

What I love about this book: Each page is divided into a few large panels, making it easy to follow the story. Some pages present a single illustration, such as a page from Mole’s sketchbook, and each chapter includes a spread that shows a birds-eye view of their adventure for the day. In the city park, we can follow their route around the trees, see the birds they meet, and even “hear” their calls – via the magic of speech bubbles.

I like that no matter where they are, they find nature to explore. They even go on a night adventure, and meet a whole new cast of friends. 

And of course, I love that there is back matter! In this case, it’s hands-on activities, including how to draw Mole and Vole, keeping a nature journal, getting involved in a community garden, and more.

Beyond the Books:

Make a simple nature sketchbook. All you need is paper, cardstock for the cover, a twig (in a pinch a pencil will do), a thick rubber band, and a hole punch. Here's how to do it.

Try your hand at creating your own graphic nature story. Learn how to make a 4-panel comic here. And you can find printable comic sheets here and here

Rosemary Mosco writes and illustrates the bird and moon science and nature cartoons. Her recent picture books are Flowers Are Pretty Weird! (reviewed here) and Butterflies are Pretty Gross! (reviewed here)

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ Textures


There are so many things to see on trees: leaves, insects, bark, and lichens! The thing I like about lichens - aside from the fact that they are funky fungi - is the diversity of textures. You can touch them gently and feel that some are bumpy and crusty, some are bristly, and some are smooth and leafy.

This week take a closer peek at the trees in your neighborhood. Do they have lichens growing on their bark? If so:

  • What kinds of lichens do you see? Write notes or draw them in your nature notebook.
  • What colors are the lichens?
  • How would you describe their texture?
  • Are there two (or more) kinds growing together?
  • Take a closer look with a hand lens or magnifying glass.
  • What do you suppose ants think about as they walk through a lichen patch?

Monday, August 8, 2022

For the Love of Snails ~ by Marla Coppolino

I've had more slugs in my garden this year than ever. So when I found a slug hanging out atop a dandelion after a rain, I asked Marla (a snail expert) whether it was nibbling the flowers or trying to keep its foot dry. One question led to another and finally I asked if she'd maybe just write a little bit about snails for this blog. I'm so happy she did.
Peer down into a patch of weeds, under a decaying log, or sift through some topsoil, and you might have the chance to meet the often-misunderstood underdogs of the animal kingdom: the land snails.

Why snails, and what exactly are these squishy, slimy creatures, you ask? As a malacologist specializing in land snails and an artist who likes to draw them, I’m happy to tell you. 

I first discovered snails as a young child. I remember turning over the stones in my backyard, where I discovered the universe of tiny snails that lived beneath them. I was intrigued that they led a seemingly mysterious life and had a beautifully coiled shell. I had to learn more, and so began my lifelong quest.

Slugs are snails too, except that they evolved to not need a shell, or some have a drastically reduced bit of shell under the skin behind the head. So when I refer to snails, I really mean snails and slugs.

by Marla Coppolino
In their hidden lives, native snails do lots of unseen good for the ecosystem. First, they act as clean-up crews, making meals out of leftovers like old, rotted mushrooms, dead plants, and even dead animals. You’re more likely to find them if you do a careful search in their natural habitats, like meadows, undisturbed woodlands, and limestone outcrops, where they glean vital nutrients from these materials, like calcium and magnesium. 

In turn, snails and slugs become food for many other animals of the food web. Firefly larvae feast upon them, salamanders snack on them, even some mammals – like chipmunks and squirrels – munch them. For many birds, snails are an essential source of nutrients important for laying viable eggs.

Some snails and slugs can be real garden pests, but you’re unlikely to find the native snails in your vegetable garden. Snails that have been introduced from other lands are the ones with large appetites, doing much damage to your Swiss chard, cucumbers, strawberries, and other veggies and fruits under the dark cover of night. As much as I like to help others learn about the benefits of native snails in the ecosystem, so many questions come my way about how to get rid of garden pest snails. I’m not the expert here, but I can share one trick: I pick the little buggers off my veggies by hand every morning and drop them off at least 100 feet from the garden. Labor intensive, yes, but there’s minimal damage to my garden.

Why do I like to look for, talk about, write about and draw snails so much? Maybe it’s because they need someone to be their megaphone. Spending time with snails reminds me to slow down in life, in a good way, to stop, ask questions, and stay curious. I hope these amazing animals can do the same for both my children and adult audiences. 

Marla develops online courses at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, mostly to help people learn about birds, how to be stewards of nature, as well as fun things like drawing and painting birds. She enjoys researching and pulling together scientific information in a way that's broadly understandable and fun to learn. Marla also drew the illustrations for The Sound of the Sea, by Cynthia Barnett (W.W. Norton & Co. 2021). You can find out more about her art at her website,

Friday, August 5, 2022

It's Raining Mushrooms!

Mushroom Rain 
by Laura K. Zimmermann; illus. by Jamie Green
32 pages; ages 4-8
‎Sleeping Bear Press, 2022

theme: mushrooms, nature, 

Without warning, they appear. Mushrooms!

Ever since I’d heard the title, Mushroom Rain, I’ve wanted to read this book. And I’m so glad I did! Page by page, Laura Zimmermann introduces readers to the wild and sometimes crazy-looking mushrooms that live around us. She highlights the insects and animals that chomp, scrape, and otherwise feast on fungi. And she takes readers underground, to where the mycelium spreads and reaches from tree to tree. 

What I like about this book:
I love the spare, lyrical language Laura uses to show the diversity of mushrooms, and how animals interact with them. There are delicate umbrellas, cupped nests, spooky mushrooms that glow in the dark. They have smells that range from bubblegum sweet to rotten. I love how Jamie Green’s illustration capture the essence of fungi of all types.

And (of course) I like the back matter. Laura does, too, and she shares yummy tidbits of information about where mushrooms live, who eats them, and how their spores help create rain. She encourages readers to notice and wonder about the mushrooms they come across, and lists more resources for curious naturalists. And of course she includes a hands-on activity.

Beyond the Books:

Check out this trailer of Mushroom Rain on youtube.

On Monday, Laura took over this blog to talk about how curiosity drove her to write this book. You can read her post here. And check out her interview over on the GROG Blog.

Grab a coloring page or word puzzle here. There’s also a teacher’s guide filled to the brim with activities.

Make a spore print. First, go find a cool mushroom growing in your yard (or some place where you have permission to pick a mushroom). You can follow these instructions for making a spore print from the North American Mycological Association, or you can watch this video from the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. Remember to wash your hands when you are finished.

We’ll join Perfect Picture Book Friday when it resumes. PPBF is an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Explore Outdoors ~ Early Morning Discoveries

The last half of July was so hot that I had to head out early in the morning to get my walk in. Often, the valley was filled with a layer of cloud and the air was deliciously cool. The early morning dew clung to spiderwebs like pearls on thread. They looked like lace.

This week get outside an hour earlier than usual and take a walk around your block, or even around your yard.
  • Does the air feel different compared to later in the day? How?
  • Do bird calls, cars, and other noises sound different?
  • Does early morning smell different than your normal get-out-and-explore time?
  • Can you see the moon, or planets?
  • What do you discover first thing in the morning?

Monday, August 1, 2022

Curiouser and Curiouser ~ by Laura Zimmermann

Laura and Tivy
When I think of STEAM, I think of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Without curiosity science wouldn’t exist. And wonders? You don’t need a white rabbit to tumble into those. The natural world is filled with them. Take fungi. They are bizarre and mysterious life forms with new mysteries uncovered with each new finding.

As a scientist and professor, I gravitate to STEAM topics. I’m always down one research rabbit hole or another. The e-books my university students and I created for children in Uganda, Ghana, and Sierra Leone led me to nonfiction writing for children—a path that created new rabbit holes that have led to the most unexpected places. 

For example, Mushroom Rain. Reading Beatrix Potter’s journal led me to mushrooms, which primed me to read articles about them and drew me to one, in particular, on how mushrooms help create rain. I had fallen into a world every bit as weird and wonderous as Wonderland.

In writing nonfiction picture books, I share things about the natural world that excite me and I hope will encourage my readers to follow their curiosity. For me that often begins with spare, lyrical language to draw readers in. For Mushroom Rain, Jamie Green’s wonderful illustrations captured that vision and took it in a direction more magical than I could have imagined. 

The back matter builds on this by adding more details and ways to engage with the material. Back matter is where my research side shines through. I love it. With a sparse story, I use backmatter to further explain things and fill in the blanks. I want to provide support to build young readers’ understanding. Then I consider what else my readers may want to know and what will spark them to discover more. I include fun facts and STEAM activities to help make that happen.

Reviewing Mushroom Rain, Jen Forbus wrote, “Together Zimmermann and Green prove how fascinating—and beautiful—science and nonfiction can be.” And there is nothing more wonderous than that.

You can read a wonderful interview with Laura over at the GROG blog. And I'll be reviewing her book here at Archimedes this Friday.

Laura K. Zimmermann is a college professor by day and children’s writer by night. She has a PhD in developmental psychology and has published numerous academic articles as well as nonfiction stories in children’s magazines. Mushroom Rain is her first picture book. When she’s not writing, Laura can be found teaching and conducting research at Shenandoah University or wandering through nature with her Goldendoodle, Tivy. You can find Laura online at and on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest at @LauraK_PBwriter.