author spotlight, illustration, nature, read-aloud

Author Spotlight: Chuck Groenink

Chuck Groenink grew up in The Netherlands. Like all Dutch children, he experienced one of the best childhoods in the Western world, a time spent exploring & playing & learning through experience. Books and drawing were, of course, a big part of his life. Groenink graduated from the Artez Institute in Kampen, east of Amsterdam. He moved to the United States in 2010 and now resides in Portland, Oregon. He lives there with his wife, dog, cats, and chickens.

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book list, nature, science

List: Our Friends in the Garden

Tokyo Digs A Garden (Groundwood Books)
Written by Jon-Erik Lappano
Illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka

For ages: 3-7
Tokyo lives in an urban center choked by pollution and concrete. There used to be forests, streams, and grass fields here, but the people ate it all up with their construction. One day a mysterious old woman bikes by and gives Tokyo some seeds telling him that if he plants them, they will grow into whatever he wishes. Tokyo does so in his backyard, hoping for a garden. The entire city is covered in plants, vines, trees, and flowers the following day. Rivers have busted through and flow where streets once were. A modern fairy tale in a world where the specter of climate change and the loss of the wild grows ever closer.

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animals, family, nature

Book List: Going On a Camping Trip

The Camping Trip (Candlewick)
Written & Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann

For ages: 3-7
Ernestine has never been camping but is excited beyond description about it. Aunt Jackie arrives and takes the girl and her cousin out into the wilderness. We follow them on the car ride as they keep themselves amused and then when they help setting up the camping spot. Ernestine is met with some surprises though. When she goes swimming in the lake only to find there are fish there, very much unlike the pool at the YMCA. Ernestine deals with homesickness and some discomfort but finds camping is actually more fun than she imagined. Some s’mores and a star lit night help cap off the first of what will be many camping trips.

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