Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10 for 10: Celebrating MAINE Authors

Welcome and thanks for stopping by to see my 2012 10 for 10 list! I can't believe another whole year has passed and we are once again celebrating this wonderful (and expensive) day for a third year!  It's so fantastic to have a day where picture books are celebrated across grade levels and contents. I love seeing all of the different themes and spins teachers take with their lists.

My spin this year to celebrate the amazing authors who call Maine home. I love my state...and I love that we have so many amazing authors writing (and sometimes illustrating) picture books that students love. I've chosen 10...or so...and highlighted one of my favorite stories written by each of them. I've also included links to their websites so you can get to know them better...if you don't know them already.

So in alphabetical order here are my favorite 10 (don't actually count them please) Maine authors who have represented our great state very well! 

Barbara Cooney

This beautiful book is also a biography of the author's great Aunt Alice Rumphius, who when she was a little girl, told her grandfather that she wanted to live by the sea, and visit foreign lands. Her grandfather also encouraged her to do something to make the world more beautiful. That she did, by planting wildflowers year after year.

Cathryn Falwell

At breakfast one morning, Anna discovers magic in her bowl of alphabet cereal. The letters in her spoon can be arranged to form several different words. She's a word wizard! This lively adventure is an wonderful introduction to a creative form of wordplay. A concluding note encourages children to become word wizards by collecting letters and words from newspapers and magazines to form their own anagrams.
Kevin Hawkes

Absolutely nothing exciting happens in Maine . . . nothing, that is, except for the birth of one giant baby. Toddie's a baby just like any other . . . sort of. The thing is, he's big—really big. That means really big diapers, really big teeth, really big everything. From new booties that wear out the knitter to a bath in the ocean (it's fun to play with boats!), Toddie goes through all the stages of baby's first year . . . it's just a little different for Toddie. Be forewarned that truly appreciate this book you really HAVE to read it with our wonderful Maine accent!

Dahlov Ipcar

In rollicking verse and wonderful illustrations, Dahlov Ipcar tells of all the hard work that goes into making a bountiful fall harvest.  Hardscrabble Harvest uses rollicking verse and Ipcar's distinctive illustrations to tell a charming story about the running battle between a farm family and the mischievous animals that plunder their fields. Crows peck at freshly sown seeds, ducks eat new strawberry plants, rabbits nibble on tender lettuces, and raccoons dine on ears of ripening corn. All summer long the young farmer and his wife are hard-pressed to protect their growing crops. But autumn comes at last, and the family is ready to celebrate its harvest bushels of red tomatoes, a cellar full of apples for cider and pumpkins for pie. Look for a surprise ending!

Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Rafferty wants to play with his mom, but Mrs. Fox is too busy painting. So Rafferty packs up his things and heads off in search of a new mother. Along the way he encounters some of his friends and their fun moms. At first, Rafferty enjoys hanging out with these different moms. But soon he comes to realize that his mom is the most fun of all. This story is one my kindergarten students always loved hearing again and again.

Cynthia Lord

  This interactive read aloud from one of Maine's Newbery Honor authors is guaranteed to be a hit with preschool readers. Hamster is out to find the perfect car for racing at the Four Paws Speedway. With the help of his rodent friends, and chiming in from your captive audience, Hamster  designs a pretty cool hot rod...but can it win the race?

Amy MacDonald

When Little Beaver, who is lonely and needs a friend, hears a voice from across the lake "echo" those same feelings he sets off to find a new friend. Along the way he encounters several pond animals who join Little Beaver on his search for the "lonely" animal. When they reach the other side the group meets the wise Old Beaver who explains the mystery voice to them.

Robert McCloskey

One of my favorite stories when I was young (and I wasn't even from Maine then) continues to be one of my favorite read alouds with students today. The story of Sal and her surprising encounter with a "child" of another kind while out picking blueberries with her mom never loses it's appeal with readers of all ages.

Lynn Plourde

This is a love letter to the state of Maine, lyrically and graphically celebrating its beauty from the wilds of Baxter State Park to the crashing waves of the Atlantic. All of the scenes featured in At One were inspired by award-winning author Lynn Plourde's experiences, including a visit by twin fawns to her backyard, a hike up Mount Katahdin, cross-country skiing by moonlight, and an encounter with a bear while camping. I use this one as a read aloud at the beginning of the Children's Literature course I teach. It causes readers to either be thankful that they actually live here...or if from away... will make you wish you did! 

Melissa Sweet

 Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations,  Melissa  tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.

Okay...remember you're not actually counting....

Matt Tavares

In this Junior Library Guild selection Matt makes Ted Williams’s life story accessible to a whole new generation of fans who are sure to admire the hard work, sacrifice, and triumph of the greatest hitter who ever lived.  As always, Matt illustrations are absolutely stunning! In the author's note at the back, Matt talks about how Ted Williams was his own father's hero ballplayer and how he grew up listening to the stories his father would tell about Ted's games.  Matt has definitely hit another "home run" with this one! Sorry...I couldn't resist!

Chris VanDusen

 This rollicking story written in perfect rhyme is very loosely based on an actual shipwrecked of the Royal Tar that happened off the coast of Maine in 1836.  When a circus ship runs aground off the coast of Maine, the poor animals are left on their own to swim the chilly waters. Staggering onto a nearby island, they soon win over the nervous townspeople with their kind, courageous ways. So well do the animals blend in (the two page spread of "hidden animals" is an additional bonus) that when the greedy circus owner returns to claim them, the townspeople conspire to outsmart the selfish man!

So there you have 2012 10 for 10 list. Okay fine!  I broke the's my 2012 12 for 10 list! But I ask you...which one of these Maine rock stars would you have left off?  See...not so easy is it? Be sure to visit each author's link to  find out more about them and their books. You might also want to check out  my 2010 Kindergarten List, 2010 Intermediate List, and my 2011 Community Building List.

Thanks so much to Cathy Mere (@CathyMere) at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek (@mandyrobek) at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for hosting this fantastic event! You can see all of the lists shared today at this really cool jog that Cathy put together. You can also follow and post on Twitter by using the #pb10for10 hashtag.


  1. Thanks for an excellent post with lots of authors to learn about! Perhaps I'll inspire my students to investigate Illinois authors!

  2. Fun to know that all of these authors are from Maine! Several new to me titles too! Uh-oh!

  3. Thank you! It's exciting to be in a top ten list. Kudos to my colleagues. Happy summer.

  4. What wonderful writers you have in Maine. I just found a Barbara Cooney book I didn't know about-Only Opal (Cooney illustrated it). I love Miss Rumphius, Blueberries for Sal, the new 'Balloon book', & thanks for telling about the others. I imagine I might never have seen At One otherwise. 12 for 10 is ok!

  5. I had no idea that so many of these titles were really set or connected to Maine. Miss Rumphius is an all time fav. Thanks for the recommendations.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  6. Lovely to be included here! Many thanks. We are all lucky to live and work in Maine.