The Climbing Tree Wins Writer’s Digest Competition

I am incredibly honored to learn that The Climbing Tree, my first children’s book, has been awarded First Place in the Writer’s Digest 28th Annual Self-Published Book Awards in the category of Early Readers / Children’s Picture Books. The 28th annual competition was open to all English-language self-published books and attracted more than 1,800 entries in eight categories.

I’ve been reading Writer’s Digest for decades and, when I noticed it had a competition for indie authors, I almost didn’t bother entering; I figured it would be such a long shot for a first-time children’s book author. When I set out to write and publish my books, it was because I wanted to create something special for each one of my granddaughters. Working with them on the stories and seeing them hold their stories in their little hands was reward enough.

So–THANK YOU! Writer’s Digest, and thank you to Eleanor, my muse, and Marrieta Gal (a pseudonym for the brilliant Marija Stojisavljevic), whose beautiful illustrations bring the story to life.

A woman holds an owl as two little girls look on in amazement.

Raptors Find a Rapt Audience

Don’t you love the look on the face of a child when she’s introduced to another wonder of nature? My granddaughters had a rare opportunity recently to learn about raptors from Nikki Stamps, a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator and master falconer who nurses these beautiful birds when they are in need of special care. As director of Bird in the Hand conservancy, Nikki has provided life-saving medical treatment and nursed literally hundreds of raptors back to health, so they can fly free again. She also gives demonstrations to audiences of all ages, hoping to inspire in others an appreciation for these magnificent birds of prey.

We grownups were as in awe as the children as Nikki brought out three different kinds of owls and talked to us about raptor biology and conservation. It reminds me that learning offers lifelong joy, and the more we learn the more we thirst for knowledge and understanding. Children take to learning instinctively. All they need from us is encouragement and moments that open the world to them.