June 20, 2016

Blog Tour: On Bird Hill by Jane Yolen +GIVEAWAY

Welcome to Day #1 of the On Bird Hill Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of On Bird Hill by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall (5/10/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Jane, Bob, and Brian Sockin (CEO and Publisher of Cornell Lab Publishing Group), plus 10 chances to win a copy of On Bird Hill and a window bird feeder!

Q&A with Jane Yolen
1. Many of your books feature bird themes. What inspired your interest in this topic?
I didn't start writing bird-themed books. I was born and grew up in New York City where it seemed the only birds on offer were pigeons, or as we kids of the time called them, "flying rats." Of course I now know differently and there are many kinds of birds (and bird stories) in the city. I am thinking Pale Male, a brilliant book about a hawk that lived and had a series of mates and lots of children in nesting sites on NYC buildings and in the Manhattan parks.

But then I met a handsome, dashing, brilliant young man named David Stemple who would become my handsome, dashing brilliant husband.

He had grown up in the mountains of West Virginia, and boy! did he know the woods, and, birds. He taught me, and eventually our three children how to identify birds, how to call birds, how to record them. (I am the least able in the family, but I try!!!)  David had a long relationship with Cornell's Library of Natural Sounds. And when he was dying, as a gift to him, they wired the room where he lay in a hospital bed to an outdoor microphone under our deck so he could be surrounded by bird song the last three months of his life! He had become a bird recordist and expert in bird dialects the last fifteen years, and he was also the prototype for Pa in my Caldecott-winning book, Owl Moon. There is now a family-funded scholarship in his name at Cornell to help young indigenous scholars. 

So when I was contacted by Cornell to do a book for their new line of children's books about birds, of course I jumped at the chance. On Bird Hill, illustrated by by the marvelous Bob Marstall, an illustrator friend of mine for 35 years, is the first of (at least) three books I am doing for them. The second will be out next year -- On Duck Pond, also being illustrated by Bob. And the third of our collaborations, On Gull Beach has already been written.

2. Why do you think experiencing nature is important for children?
We are, by being human, part of the world of nature. NOT to know it, not to learn how to walk softly through it, smell it, feel the feathers and fur of it, the wash of its oceans, the morning and night of it --is to become less than human. The best time to start is when you are small. It's not rocket science, folks. Unless you consider us on spaceship earth, and then it is!

3. What are the unique challenges of writing a picture book?
Getting down a story that is essentially a tone poem in as few words as possible. But, of course, not just any words -- the best words. That's one of the greatest challenges for a writer. Add to that, you know that what you write can and will change a child's life. Quite a burden and a mitzvah, Yiddish for a truly good deed.

4. What is your favorite bird?
Hands down -- the owl. All owls. But perhaps (in no special order) Great Horned, Snowy Owl, and Great Grey Owl -- all of which I have seen up close and personal in the wild. But there are lots others I love: quail, cardinal, the cuckoo for its song, all the raptors, the Northeast feeder birds. I could go on....

Stop by The Book Monsters tomorrow for Day #2 of the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:
June 20th – The O.W.L.
June 21st — The Book Monsters
June 23rd  — MamaPapaBarn
June 24th — Rockin' Book Reviews 
June 27th — Kristi's Book Nook
June 28th — Books My Kids Read
June 29th — Word Spelunking
June 30th — Cracking the Cover
July 1st — Can You Read Me a Story?

Loosely based on the old cumulative nursery rhyme/song “The Green Grass Grew All Around,” a nursery rhyme first published as a song in 1912. But in this version, it’s a boy and his dog who find the bird in a nest on a hill in a strange valley. Following in the footsteps of Jane’s highly acclaimed Owl Moon, winner of the prestigious Caldecott Award, On Bird Hill is a beautiful picture book with an enchanting story, fancifully illustrated by renowned artist Bob Marstall. On Bird Hill is sure to attract interest from millions of readers and fans of Jane’s popular classics.
About the Author: 
Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, which every budding young ornithologist owns, You Nest Here With Me, which is a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs. Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Janes husband, David Stemple, was both a well known bird recordist and a professor of computer science and he taught the entire family how to identify birds. Many of Jane’s books are about wildlife subjects, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Easthampton, MA. Visit her online at janeyolen.com.

About the Illustrator: 
Bob Marstall is the illustrator of nine nonfiction children’s books, including the The Lady and the Spider, which sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies and was a Reading Rainbow selection. Bob has also been honored with an ALA Notable; an IRA Teachers’ Choice; a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children; and three John Burroughs selections.

In addition, two of Bob’s books are included in the New York Times Parent’s Guide’s “1001 Best Books of the Twentieth Century.” Bob Lives in Easthamton, MA. Visit him online at bobmarstall.com.

About the Cornell Lab: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Our hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. birds.cornell.edu


  • One (1) winner will receive a copy of On Bird Hill and a Window Bird Feeder ($28.99) to get up close and personal with the birds in your backyard! Great for blends, peanuts and safflower, this durable feeder attaches right to your window pane with suction cups, allowing you to see every bird detail. It's easy to fill and easy to clean.
  • US only
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. It's always exciting to find a new bird book, but especially one by Jane Yolen. Thanks for the post.