Writing stories that make us bigger on the inside
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I will have lots more to share about this book over the next few months. For now, I will just say that I am delighted to be teaming up once again with Cathrin Peterslund on Here: The Dot We Call Home (Paraclete Press, 2022).
Here: The Dot We Call Home is a simple and enchanting book that invites children to see themselves as both descendants and ancestors, and caretakers of our beautiful planet.
This is my home. I live here. But I am not the first…
When a child finds clues that others have lived in her house before her, she begins to wonder about them, and about those who will come after her. The more she wonders, the more her sense of home expands, stretching to include an entire planet.
With her thoughtful approach and her unique ability to make big concepts engaging and personal to children, Laura Alary invites readers along for the ride, zooming through time and space to the outer reaches of our solar system for a new perspective on the planet we share. The child marvels: How can something so big seem so small? But also: How can something so small seem so big? Overwhelmed by the mess that humans have left behind, in the end she realizes that there is only one thing to do: start where she is.
In spare and simple words, Here: The Dot We Call Home helps children begin to think of themselves as both descendants and ancestors, and to comprehend that people of every place and time share one home, and the task of looking after it.
Publication date is September 6, 2022 but you can pre-order the book now: https://paracletepress.com/products/here-the-dot-we-call-home?_pos=2&_sid=48229208a&_ss=r
Happy Book Birthday to Sun in My Tummy!
This lyrical introduction to photosynthesis is also a book about mindfulness (and mindful eating), gratitude, and the intricate interconnectedness of the natural world.
It is beautifully illustrated by Andrea Blinick and published by Pajama Press. The publisher has created a free downloadable teaching guide to make the book more user-friendly for teachers. You can find that on the Pajama Press website here: https://pajamapress.ca/resource/sun_in_my_tummy_teaching_guides/
And to bring some warmth to your morning, here is our Sun in My Tummy playlist!
One of the joys of writing is the people you meet.
Over a year ago I was getting ready for the launch of my (then) new book, Breathe, and was thinking about who might consider writing a endorsement for it. At the time I had just discovered that one of my favourite writers, Brian McLaren, had written a children’s book called Corey and the Seventh Story. This made me think that he might be sympathetic to my own aims of writing thoughtful books for children. Asking people to read and endorse your work can be a bit scary, but I decided it was worth a try. To my delight, Brian not only wrote a beautiful endorsement for Breathe, he also mentioned my book Mira and the Big Story on his blog. Those acts of generosity make a big difference to writers like me who are trying to get their work out there.
Another thing Brian did was introduce me to another Brian–Brian Allain, who is the creative force behind Writing for Your Life, an organization that helps support and promote writers of “books with substance and soul.” When Brian invited me to join him in conversation about my path to publication, and my two newest books (Sun in My Tummy and The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything) I was delighted. For me, words always come more easily when I write than when I speak, but Brian made me feel so welcome and relaxed I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him.
You can listen to our conversation here.
To learn more about Writing for Your Life: https://writingforyourlife.com
I find it both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking when reviews of a new book begin to come in. So you can imagine the delight I felt when I learned that Sun in My Tummy had received a starred review from Quill and Quire!
After describing Sun in My Tummy as a “radiant picture-book homage to our nearest star and main source of energy on earth” the review goes on:
“Unfolding at a leisurely pace, this kitchen table conversation covers a lot of ground, which includes plant life cycles, food webs, and photosynthesis. The rhythmic second-person narration is immediately immersive and full of relatable, child-friendly comparisons: “Not long ago, these oats were a field of swaying grasses. Before that, seeds, snuggled deep in the dark earth, like you in your blankets. What woke them? The sun!”
Scientific concepts are presented in easy-to-understand, lyrical language. Nature is full of surprises, and the chemical process that plants use to transform carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight into sugar – which in turn fuels life – is described with beguiling awe and infectious enthusiasm: “Food from thin air!” As the hungry little girl tucks into her bowl of oatmeal and blueberries, delicious prompts like “Is that the taste of sunlight?” encourage inspection, reflection, and sensory engagement.”
You can read the whole thing here: https://quillandquire.com/review/sun-in-my-tummy/
A few weeks ago I received an invitation to participate in a project–a new online platform for sharing books. That sounded like my cup of tea.
I have always loved browsing bookshops and wandering through the stacks in libraries, scanning the shelves to see what catches my eye. Often a book on one topic will lead me to others. That is how Shepherd works, except in an online environment. Authors are asked to share their favourite books on topics or themes they are passionate about. As you browse, you get to know more about the writers you love, and at the same time learn about new books you might enjoy.
My contribution is “Best Books for Children About Gardening as Community Building” (guess which of my books is featured ). With two new books on the way this spring I may get a chance to contribute more.
Please check my page. You might find your next favourite read!
You can find it here: https://shepherd.com/best-books/gardening-as-community-building
What a treat to open this post from the 49th Shelf on their most anticipated spring books for young readers and find not one, but BOTH my new books mentioned in the first paragraph.
The Sun in My Tummy (Pajama Press) and The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything (Kids Can Press) will launch in April and May respectively. I am thrilled that they are both included among so many other wonderful books by Canadian artists and illustrators.
You can read the blog post here: https://49thshelf.com/Blog/2022/03/14/Most-Anticipated-Our-2022-Books-for-Young-Readers-Spring-Preview?fbclid=IwAR2Rcm1ABKuHjqrNBowWZkEmOSNeGhNPpBgb2YolzR-0rqphAmfrmNdYLEI
Make Room has a little sibling!
Back in 2016 Paraclete Press published my book Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter. Last year they invited me to take up the challenge of transforming it into a board book for the littlest listeners. This was a far more difficult process than I had imagined as it involved paring an almost-2000 word text back to 200 words. But I hope that you will find the newer version to be just as meaningful and useful as the original.
Make Space for Jesus launched today and I was delighted to have a chance to discuss it with Glenys Nellist, author of many lovely books for children (including one coming out from Paraclete Press in 2024). Glenys and I have connected before through social media, but this was our first opportunity to speak in person (albeit at a distance) and it was such a pleasure. Our host was Rachel McKendree from Paraclete Press–gracious as always!
You can watch the interview here.