Living far in the country the fear of fire can be very real. My wife and I were living on Sally's Backbone in Marshall County in 1984. One winter evening our car caught fire. It was cold. There was a foot of snow, and after midnight. The blazing auto was also very close to the house under some spruce trees. I used that real fear to guide my creation of the tale of a chimney fire. Having lived on a farm and presently heating my own house with wood, I was easily able to borrow the rest of the details upon which I could invent the plot.


This is a true, autobiographical account of a blizzard recalled from my childhood. This was also the title of a related poem that my wife had the good sense to suggest might make a picture book. It was this tale I sent off to my editor almost immediately upon the acceptance of A LITTLE EXCITEMENT.



The core of this tale comes from my co-author, Bonnie Collins, a true, traditional Appalachian storyteller. Having shared the storytelling stage at the Vandalia Gathering (West Virginia's premier folk life celebration) where we also judge the state liar's contest, Bonnie has been both friend and inspiration. Several years ago my wife and I were asked to interview Bonnie for "Goldenseal" magazine. It was in the course of this interview that I heard this amazingly delightful tale and realized at once that it had great potential for becoming a children's picture book which, with Toni Goffe's inspired pictures, it did.


A line of poetry came to me one afternoon as I was scribbling in my notebook: "There may be a million stars but there is only one sky." I still don't know where those words came from but it is from that line that ONLY ONE had its birth. I have no doubts but that this was a gift.



This book draws part of its plot from recollected family tales and documents I inherited from my grandmother, especially her father's postcards from his years in the logging camps of the American Northwest early this century. Although I did not set out to tell a tale about alcoholism, it does, nonetheless, address this illness and, inasmuch as it does, I have hoped, with something like hindsight, that it provides true testimony and caution, as well as hope.



In 1991 my family left Sally's Backbone where we had lived for nearly a decade. It was a bittersweet move and one afternoon shortly after we had resettled in town I found myself wondering what it might feel like for a kid to have to make a move similar to the one I had just made. The details were fresh and still all around me. I went from there.



I have long been friends with the fine American poet, Jared Carter, among whose many accomplishments is the winning of the Walt Whitman Award. One afternoon, Jeb, a Hoosier like myself, was sitting on my back porch in Moundsville and asked, "Marc, you've written a lot about your Appalachian home. When are you going to write a real Hoosier tale?"
"About basketball or tornadoes?" I jokingly replied.
But somehow Jeb's prompting stayed with me, and the possibility of surprising both he and myself by taking up that little joke. That's where the story started. Later Nancy Springer and Anna Smucker would provide important criticism that helped me get said what I wanted to say. The book was finished in the Black Mountains of Wales in the summer of 1992.


Like ONLY ONE I believe this book, too, came as a gift, although I actually do not recall its inception. Unlike the earlier book, however, this one was not immediately accepted by my editor. But I always liked the idea, worked it through some significant revisions, and just kept sending it around. Then Judith Whipple at Cavendish read it and loved it at first sight.
So had I.



What can you find in an autumn garden? A harvest of bright colors, and lots to explore! Come share a day of big orange pumpkins, shiny purple eggplants, juicy red apples, and bright blue skies---a day of fall fun and abundance.

Marc Harshman and Cheryl Ryan love to work in their prizewinning organic garden.

Wade Zahares recently planted an apple orchard on his farm where he lives and works in southern Maine.



A simple text and soothing, picturesque illustrations by Mary Newell DePalma make this a perfect story for young children eager to travel the roads and see the variety of sights making up America. “And all the good roads / always lead you home.”


One bakery has many different breads; in one school there are many children. This unique book uses a busy city neighborhood to teach the concept of one versus many. The same author-and-artist team that created the evergreen title Only One takes children on a tour of shops, the firehouse, and more via a simple, soothing text and extraordinary woodblock illustrations. At the book’s end, readers see how many neighborhoods can come together to make one city, showing how each one of us is part of something bigger.
BOOKLIST also recommends adding this to core collection: “Peace, Not War.”



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