Jeannie Brett is in the Nook today answering questions about her newest book!


WILD ABOUT BEARS came out in the spring and is an adorable nonfiction selection perfect for kids interested in up-to-date information about the eight bear species alive on earth today! ***The Nook is giving away a beautifully signed copy of the book  — after reading Jeannie’s interview just post a comment about your favorite bear species to enter to win! The giveaway winner will be announced on September 15th! (CONTEST CLOSED)***

1. Hi Jeannie! I had no idea there were only eight bear species on Earth! They are all amazing, but I have to ask… do you have a favorite bear species?

Ah, yes. I have been fascinated by the Spectacled bear for years! They are especially appealing with their facial markings that look like spectacles. You know, a bear wearing glasses! Someday I would love to visit the cloud forests of Peru and imagine that I spy a spectacled bear in its crudely made nest, way up in a tree munching on bromeliads. Most likely I wouldn’t see one because they are very shy and there are few left in the wild. But I can imagine!

pg 16 bears copy 016-017

2. You wrote AND illustrated WILD ABOUT BEARS, which makes me wonder: did you create bear sketches and paintings first or do your research and writing first?

I created rough sketches and also some detailed art when I worked on the concept of the book along with a bit of writing from my first batch of research information. The book went through many changes before becoming what it is today. It was a long process both with the illustrations, the research and editing. So to answer your question…I worked on both, back and forth.

brown bear IMG_0807 copy

3. When I got your book I was still under the impression that Panda Bears were not ‘true bears’ and I had to do a little research to confirm. I love how quickly science can change human understanding! Did you learn anything while researching that surprised YOU?

YES! I found that there was a lot of conflicting information about bears. I was lucky to meet a bear conservation expert and the executive director of Great Bear Foundation (a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the eight species of bears and their habitat around the world). She graciously was willing to check my bear facts. It was incredibly helpful to have people in the know check my facts AND my illustrations! My publisher, Charlesbridge Publishing also does a thorough job fact checking.


4. I LOVE your illustrated habitat index in the back of the book. Where did that idea come from?

Being a visual thinker I have always been a fan of illustrated glossaries. Originally I had a glossary filled with flora and fauna of the different bear habitats. It was a bit much. I tend to get carried away with detail. I do think it’s a great way for kids to get more information from a book and have a springboard to other research.

My son was a reader of non-fiction when he was in elementary school. I think he would have loved the glossary in Wild About Bears when he was a boy.


5. What do kids ALWAYS want to know when you do school visits?

First of all, I LOVE visiting schools! It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with the kids that read my books. Sharing my books, art and love for nature and animals is a thrill for me. I always learn something new from the students as well.

What do kids ask? They always ask if I will draw for them. “You bet!” is my answer.

The other question that kids always ask is, “Are you related to Jan Brett?” Proudly, I answer, “YES! She is my sister.”

6. I know you are doing a book on decorated horses next — can you give us a peek?

Yes! Decorated Horses will make its debut in the spring of 2015. The wonderful Dorothy Hinshaw Patent is the author. I finished the illustrations in late spring of 2014. I can’t wait to see it in printed book form.


I loved drawing horses as a child and I still do. I spent a lot of time researching for my illustrations, sketching and re-sketching, and then on to the final art in watercolor on 300 lb. hot press paper.


I love that this book includes many cultures, places and different ages in history.


Our beloved horse Bailey served as inspiration! In fact, my dedication in the book is to Bailey.


Thank you for all the wonderful words and images, Jeannie! To learn more about Jeannie and her books you can visit her website, Facebook and twitter!

***Don’t forget to enter to win a signed copy of WILD ABOUT BEARS by posting a comment below!***

Stars, by Mary Lynn Ray & Marla Frazee

I love the winter sky!

While so many of our days’ hours are dark, it seems a shame to spend them all inside. I’ve spent some wonderful moments snuggled up in one big winter coat with a drowsy kiddo. You don’t need to know the names of the stars, planets, and constellations for that time to be magic, but it helps. The words themselves are a beautiful lullaby, whether you’re crunching across snow, littered leaves, or smooth sidewalks. The names can be sung, whispered, and giggled. Moon, meteor, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus. Spica, and Saturn. Sing them all while the earth makes it’s turn, round its axis, round our sun. It will be fun!

I’ve been using‘s stargazing guide and the month ahead looks to be lovely.

If you have early, EARLY risers like mine you might catch the Quadrantid Meteor Shower before dawn on January second and third.


On January 23 you can view the bright star, Spica, quite close to the Moon, with Mars looming above at around five in the morning EST.


And at sunrise, on January 28, we will see Venus close to the slender crescent of our moon!


Happy gazing,

❤ Robin

P.S. – We’ve been love, love, loving, STARS, by Mary Lynn Ray and Marla Frazee. Go catch a copy!


Charlie Russell, Tale-Telling Cowboy Artist

Russell Book Cover LVHarris where_the_best_of_riders_quit

Hi everybody! Today I’m interviewing Lois Harris, author of Charlie Russell, Tale-Telling Cowboy Artist. She’s written three lovely biographies of North American artists, perfect for use in the classroom. Charlie is a wonderfully appealing character, a painter, sculptor, and storyteller. I love that when he went west to be a cowboy he brought along a tin of beeswax for making little figures. I was so inspired I tried my hand at a little wax sculpting too!

1. Hi Lois, you have written three books about artists, which makes me wonder, are you an artist too?

I’m not a visual artist, but I’ve enjoyed looking at art since I was a girl and spent many Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Many of my friends are artists. I like being with creative people.

2. Do you have a favorite Charles Russell painting, sculpture, or story?


When I was researching for my book, I visited Montana where Charlie lived most of his life. In Helena, the state capitol, I saw the original oil painting of Laugh Kills Lonesome at the Montana Historical Society. Charlie was a working cowboy and his picture tells a story. It’s a moonlit night after a long day herding cattle, and cowboys gather round a crackling campfire under the big starry Montana sky. The firelight throws light on the cowboys and a horse while the cook wipes a pot. You can imagine someone is telling a funny story like Charlie used to. He was a great storyteller. He chose Laugh Kills Lonesome as the painting title because those cowboys weren’t lonely when they laughed and shared stories. I liked this picture so much, I selected it for a double spread (two pages) in my book.

3. Is there an interesting fact about Charlie that is not in the book?

Charlie became a famous artist, and his paintings and sculptures sold for a lot of money in Europe, Canada, and America. He could have lived anywhere, but he chose to stay in Montana. Charlie liked nothing better than getting together with his old friends. Charlie did not let fame or money change him and knew what made him happy.


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