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Monday, February 28, 2011

Jewel Sample's Review of Trout Are Made of Trees

When I posted about transforming the unexpected it got me to thinking about what is transformed in streams. Today I am going to share with you what April Pulley Sayre found out about Trout. She was so excited about her discoveries that she wrote Trout Are Made of Trees.

How does this transformation happen? The author explains the process of how the ecological cycle-of-life interactions help to form the perfect nesting and hiding place for trout and eventually how the process moves along the food chain to feed animals and people. So, are trout made of trees? You will have to read the book to find out.

What I liked best is how the author extends learning by incorporating other aquatic discoveries throughout the story to keep the reader interested, as well as offering riparian conservation challenges for readers to consider in the back of the book. The challenges encourage you to put your thinking cap on and further investigate other natural habitats.

Kate Endle’s realistic illustrations are an entertaining collage of nature discoveries. My most favorite illustration depicts the children investigating their collection of specimens with a scientific book, which is encouraging modeling of children’s ability to discover things on their own. Although my first and second graders did not understand all of the words, artistically, I discovered the children came up with ideas to make a collage with their nature collections and use leaves for fish bodies. Please post your ideas when you read Trout are Made of Trees.

Trout Are Made of Trees is recommended as an excellent ecological life-cycle resource for elementary grade level reader.

Trout Are Made of Trees reviewed by Jewel Sample--Award-winning author of Flying Hugs and Kisses. To learn more about Jewel Sample visit her at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Transforming the Unexpected

It is fun to just take a day and write something unusual. Something most people would not have thought about. So for today’s writing challenge, collect one or two objects from around your house that you could use your imagination to transform into something. Write about the transformation process in a poem or a story.

Examples of objects, brick of cheese for a rat or scouring pad for a nail file or the refrigerator as a big mouth-eating monster.

Here is my attempt to write about object transformation of a bar of soap.


White soap



In murky bath water

Squeezing it between

Fingers and palm

The white frog leaps

Back into the white

Porcelain pond

Words ripple and


Over brain matter

The hand fishes

And feels the undercurrent

The eyes hunt

Piercing the white

Undiluted swells

Looking for the

Amphibious creature

To rear its head

Plug pulled

Gurgle, gurgle


Muddy white scum

Lays on the porcelain pond floor

Fully exposed

Melted smaller

Extraordinarily shaped


My white soap

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finding Joy in This Very Moment is Good Enough

My challenge for today was to write about a moment of joy I had experienced today.

After spending much of my day doing genealogy research, I decided to watch Oprah’s Australian extravaganza in hopes of seeing something that I could say was a joyous moment. I loved seeing all the beautiful Australian sites. Truly God smiled when He formed Australia. But I wasn’t awe struck.

I loved the special guest moments with Oprah. For years I have dreamed of having my Oprah moment. My dream moment was meeting her while hiking in Telluride, Colorado and Oprah telling me she had read my book and loved it. I don’t know why this experience was so important to me. Maybe to get that affirmation from someone who seems to be socially valued and who values others as well. Maybe it’s the excitement of chatting with a celebrity about the challenges of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) families. Maybe it’s a little of both. But the Telluride dream is something I can live without and it doesn’t consume my everyday thoughts. I have learned that living a wholehearted life is to purposely find a joyous moment and to take that moment in with your whole heart, mind and body. Finding a joyous moment isn’t always easy to do.

Then today when I saw Oprah and a few of her loyal TV friends walk to the top of an Australian bridge, it totally blew my socks off. It was the most breath-taking risk I have ever seen her do. I thought to myself I have done some risky things, like go to the top of the St. Louis Arch and feel it sway. Or ride in a rubber raft down a Colorado River hanging on to the raft ropes with all of my strength, but Oprah’s bridge walking experience tops it all.

Indeed, Oprah’s bridge walk topped my most joyous moment of the day, until I looked out of my living room window and saw a juvenile Redtail Hawk swoop across my backyard close to the ground as if it was looking for prey. Momentarily I stopped breathing, as I watched the hawk perch itself high upon a limb in a neighbor’s cottonwood tree. Then I heard myself exhale with a huge “aaaah-h-h-haaa.”

I alerted my husband about this unusual occurrence. We both looked out several windows to see if we could get a better look at this gorgeous creature. Then within several seconds, the hawk flew up into the grey clouded sky and out of sight. I then realized that I had forgotten all about Oprah’s Australian bridge walk still playing in the background; waiting for the helicopter pilot to take their momentous picture.

I looked out my window for the next couple of hours to see if the hawk returned, but it didn’t. I knew then that my joyous moment would not be repeated today. The sheer joy of seeing a hawk in flight is good enough.