KidLit & Nature

I took 110 books to St. Olaf for the students to check out!

Last Tuesday, had the honor of guest lecturing at St. Olaf College in an ecology class taught by my friend, Kiara Jorgenson. The ecology topics class, “Biophilia,” is about the human attraction to and affection for other living things. One of their units is on children’s literature and nature and Prof. Jorgenson invited me to both collaborate with her on their children’s literature project, and share with them some kidlit history and demonstrate portions of their assignment (read-alouds, book selection, citations, activities, etc.). I brought 110 books from my personal collection that weren’t duplicates of St. Olaf’s pretty wonderful collection of board, picture, and chapter books. I was also able to read aloud three of my favorite books: May We Have Enough to Share (Richard Van Camp), The Girl and the Wolf (Katherena Vermette, pictures by Julie Flett), and Nibi’s Water Song (Sunshine Tenasco, pictures by Chief Lady Bird).

If you’d like to see the presentation I shared with the class, it is available online and downloadable PDF format.

On Thursday, I had the marvelous privilege of going with Prof. Jorgenson and her students to Dodge Nature Preschool and observing their 3-5 year olds in (very) muddy outdoor play. I got to taste some maple tree sap they collected and read two picture books with a small group at their teacher’s request! (In the Woods: Who’s been here? by Lindsay Barrett George, and Frog on a Log by Kes Gray with pictures by Jim Field)

Many thanks to Prof. Jorgenson, her students, and Preschool Director Amy Warzybok for a truly spectacular week!

Barcode Love!

I added personalized barcode labels to my entire children’s collection today! This will make checking books out to patrons so much faster. In related news, my back hurts and I need a nap!

If you want your own book barcodes: I ordered these from LibraryThing and added my website to the barcode to make it easier for patrons to tell who the books belong to. The barcode assignment took just a few clicks in my settings. Matching the physical labels to the books took a while, but it will be so worth it!

Lending Library Update – 2021

2021 was the first “official” year for the Lightbulb Heart Lending Library. Pandemic meant very few in-person storytimes (and then only with single families), a few online gatherings with Rock Reachout (Burlington, ON) and other groups, and Iots of lending!


Book cover of La Catrina: Emociones, by Patty Rodriguez

Board Book: La Catrina: Emociones, by Patty Rodríguez – so much fun! Día de los Muertos inspired illustrations about emotions by Ariana Stein.

Book cover of A Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang

Picture Book: A Map Into the World, by Kao Kalia Yang – this was a Very Hard Decision, as so many beautiful books came into my world this year. Gorgeous illustrations bring this story of loss, art, and neighborliness to life.

Book cover of Dear Treefrog, by Joyce Sidman

Poem/Poetry Collection: Dear Treefrog, by Joyce Sidman – Minnesota legend Sidman strikes again with this charming collection of nature poetry, lovingly illustrated by Diana Sudyka.

Book cover for Speaking Our Truth, by Monique Gray Smith

Middle Grade/YA: Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, by Monique Gray Smith – a brilliant and sensitive look at the legacy of residential schools in Canada, appropriate for grade school readers.

A complete list of 2021 acquisitions

While many titles were found used in thrift stores, yard sales, and tiny libraries, it certainly helped to be working for a bookshop for the first quarter of the year…a gigantic THANK YOU to Jaime Krakowski at Epic Books in Hamilton, ON for the generous staff discount! 🙂

I am also so very thankful to my generous donors! In addition to physical donations, $88 was re-donated to the Conscious Kid Anti-Racist Children’s Book Fund.

Board Books

  • Egg Board Book, Kevin Henkes          
  • La Catrina: Emotions – Emociones, Patty Rodríguez
  • The Story of Hanukkah, David A. Adler         
  • Together, Mona Damluji*

Picture Books

  • A Different Pond, Bao Phi*    
  • A Map into the World, Kao Kalia Yang          
  • A Stone for Sascha, Aaron Becker     
  • Aaron Slater, Illustrator, Andrea Beaty*                                            –          
  • All Because You Matter, Tami Charles          
  • Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon, Kat Zhang*     
  • Another, Christian Robinson 
  • Bright Star, Yuyi Morales
  • Can Bears Ski?, Raymond Antrobus   
  • Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, Amanda Gorman         
  • Cicada, Shaun Tan*   
  • Dear Treefrog, Joyce Sidman 
  • Divorce Is the Worst, Anastasia Higginbotham         
  • Dog Loves Drawing, Louise Yates   
  • Fairy Tales and Fables, Gyo Fujikawa
  • Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls, Anita Ganeri    
  • Franklin’s Flying Bookshop, Jen Campbell     
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, Natasha Yim*
  • Grandad’s Camper, Harry Woodgate
  • Hand Over Hand, Alma Fullerton*    
  • Hear My Voice/Escucha mi voz: The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States, Warren Binford   
  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, Virginia Hamilton        
  • How to Find a Fox, Nilah Magruder  
  • Hush Hush, Forest, Mary Casanova   
  • I Dream of Popo, Livia Blackburne    
  • I Sang You Down from the Stars, Tasha Spillett-Sumner      
  • I Want to Be, Thylias Moss  
  • I’m Bored, Michael Ian Black
  • Ida, Always, Caron Levis        
  • It Fell from the Sky, Fan Brothers      
  • Jayden’s Impossible Garden, Mélina Mangal
  • Ladder to the Moon, Maya Soetoro-Ng        
  • Lovable Lyle, Bernard Waber*          
  • Lyle Finds His Mother, Bernard Waber*                   
  • Lyle, Lyle, crocodile, Bernard Waber*           
  • Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys, Jane Yolen      
  • My Hair is Magic!, M. L. Marroquin  
  • My Two Border Towns, David Bowles           
  • Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, Anastasia Higginbotham   
  • Not One Damsel in Distress: Heroic Girls from World Folklore, Jane Yolen 
  • Ohana Means Family, Ilima Loomis* 
  • Old Turtle, Douglas Wood*   
  • Oscar Otter, Nathaniel Benchley
  • Our Favorite Day, Joowon Oh*         
  • Over and Under the Canyon, Kate Messner  
  • Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma, Joanna Ho        
  • Rhoda’s Rock Hunt, Molly Beth Griffin          
  • Running The Road To ABC, Denizé Lauture   
  • School’s First Day of School, Adam Rex         
  • Something Happened in Our Town (A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice), Marianne Celano       
  • Sootface, Robert D. San Souci
  • Spring Stinks: A Little Bruce Book, Ryan T. Higgins   
  • Ten Beautiful Things, Molly Griffin    
  • Ten ways to hear snow, Cathy Camper                                             
  • Téo’s Tutu, Maryann Jacob Macias   
  • The ABCs of Black History, Rio Cortez
  • The Bare Naked Book, Kathy Stinson
  • The Eight Knights of Hanukkah, Leslie Kimmelman  
  • The Fog, Kyo Maclear*                                              
  • The Heart and the Bottle, Oliver Jeffers        
  • The Huge Bag of Worries, Virginia Ironside  
  • The Most Beautiful Thing, Kao Kalia Yang*         
  • The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read, Rita Lorraine Hubbard   
  • The Rough Patch, Brian Lies  
  • The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin     
  • The Serpent Slayer: and Other Stories of Strong Women, Katrin Tchana    
  • The Wind and the Trees, Todd Stewart         
  • Treaty Words: For As Long As the Rivers Flow, Aimée Craft
  • Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged!, Jody Nyasha Warner     
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro, Monica Brown*                                                
  • Watercress, Andrea Wang*  
  • What Happened to You?, James Catchpole  
  • What Will You Be?, Yamile Saied Méndez
  • Where Are You From?, Yamile Saied Méndez          
  • Where Happiness Begins, Eva Eland 
  • William’s Doll, Charlotte Zolotow      
  • Wishes, Muon Thi Van*         
  • Your Name Is a Song, Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow   
  • Zonia’s Rain Forest, Juana Martinez-Neal     

Chapter Books/Middle Grade/YA

  • A Boy Called Bat, Elana K. Arnold      
  • Bat and the End of Everything, Elana K. Arnold        
  • Bat and the Waiting Game, Elana K. Arnold  
  • Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, Rich Wallace
  • Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson 
  • Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our Cities, Cylita Guy, PhD*
  • Song for a Whale, Lynne Kelly *
  • Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, Monique Gray Smith
  • The Beatryce Prophecy, Kate DiCamillo        

* = gifted to the library

Much love to everyone who has supported Lightbulb Heart in 2021 – here’s to staying safe and getting back to in-person storytimes when it’s once again wise to do so! If you’re in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area, the Lending Library is here for you!



I am so excited to support the Kickstarter Campaign for the Aeris Körper 2022 season!

Help us pay these artists!

We have FIVE days left to raise $12,000 (CAD). These funds will be used to pay artists in a number of upcoming projects in the 2022 Aeris Körper season. We have a VERY long way to go — would you consider supporting us?

The beautiful people pictured here (L to R: Alten, Mayumi, Shannon, Jody, Mikaela; on Zoom: me, Sid, Raphael, Dedra) joined us for a workshop of FANCY CAT, a children’s interdisciplinary art piece I wrote and am developing with AERIS KÖRPER and we could not be more thrilled about how it came together! 😻

SHOW ME – original audio short

Artist Soapbox asked me last Autumn to contribute a piece of short fiction in fundraising support of their new creative work Jesus Pancake. I’d been toying with the idea of a magical realism spin on two true family narratives and thought this was the perfect vehicle. The resulting piece, Show Me, has been recorded as an audio drama!

Note for my usual audience: SHOW ME is not intended for children.

Rural West Texas, August of 1966. A skeptically hopeful fifteen-year-old returns home from church camp determined to uncover definitive proof of the existence of angels. The outcome of her act of faith yields lasting ramifications.

Many, many thanks to Tamara Kissane and Aurelia Belfield for still considering me a North Carolina playwright and inviting me into this project; and to collaborators Paige Purgar (Narrator), Marleigh Purgar-McDonald (The Girl), Rachel Klem (director), Griffin James (production manager), and Jasmine Hunjan (sound designer).

If you enjoy supporting artists and have the means, please consider helping to fund Jesus Pancake on IndieGogo or joining me in my support of Artist Soapbox in general.

Show Me art by Artist Soapbox