What Are You Doing to Help Mother Earth?

23 04 2012

I thought I’d devote some time this week to promoting a fellow author I admire not only for her writing, but also for her commitment to the environment. Her latest book, Stakeout, was a finalist for the Green Earth Award this year.

Bonnie J. Doerr not only writes green, she lives green. Her home is a log cabin set in a patch of woods in North Carolina. Bonnie J. Doerr's cabin in North CarolinaBonnie has carved out a space for herself to garden. You can see some of her lovely landscaping in this picture, but to truly appreciate what she’s done, you need to look at the before and after pictures of her garden space (see below). It’s difficult to believe that these pictures are of the same place. Bonnie’s hard work and green thumb are evident. In the first picture, she’s hard at work planting her garden.Picture of Bonnie J. Doerr plantingThen in the next picture, here’s how her garden grows. Amazing! Bonnie brings the same dedication and passion to her writing and to her environmental activism. So I asked her to write a blog post in honor of Earth Day.

By Bonnie J. Doerr

During Earth Week I’m reminded more than ever about why my writing took off in the direction it did. A deep appreciation of nature and the need to be immersed in the outdoors on a regular basis has defined my mental health for as long as I remember. I’ve been astounded to learn how many people are missing the gene that connects them to nature. In recent years my astonishment has turned into alarm. This dissociation from nature, I believe, is in many ways at the core of our environmental crisis.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin, 2005), defines this as Nature Deficit Disorder. As a result of a lifetime indoors, children have limited respect for their immediate natural surroundings. According to Louv, “An increasing pace in the last three decades, approximately, of a rapid disengagement between children and direct experiences in nature… has profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the Earth itself.”

Watch the wonder and delight on a young child’s face when first observing a nest of eggs hatching, a tadpole growing into a frog, or a bean sprouting and reaching for the sky, and you know how much joy children naturally find in nature. We are wired to appreciate nature’s gifts. To nurture that appreciation, before it is lost to modern day society, can be soul saving.

Without first having experienced something, how can we come to care for it? So it seems tragically understandable that a lack of association with the natural environment leads to ecological abuse, or at the very least, taking our natural environment for granted.

I began to write poetry first, then short stories. But by the time I drafted my first novel, the die was cast. Each piece of writing had brought me closer and closer to natural settings, to crimes against the environment, and finally to where I am now—writing ecological mystery/adventures. I realize not every child can visit a wilderness, or explore a National Refuge, but every child can feel like they have when immersed in my novels. Teens can learn how much fun it is to be outdoors, how sensitive the environment is, and how they can set a good example for the adults in their world. They can virtually join other teens as they work to improve the Earth and save its creatures. It’s one small thing I can do to inspire environmental stewardship.

This month the Girl Scouts of USA are featuring Bonnie at their site. You can learn more about Bonnie and her novels on her website and by reading a recent interview. You can also see more about Bonnie’s work on her videos, which are posted at the Leap Books blog. And even better, Bonnie’s books are on sale the rest of this month for 40% off the paperbacks: Stakeout is only $7.79 and Island Sting is only $7.19.

Here’s one video of Bonnie’s work to whet your appetite:

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Flyleaf Authors: Soul Enchilada and Island Sting

12 05 2010

I thought I’d share a bit about the authors I’ll be signing with this weekend. With such a long list, I’ll highlight them 2 at a time. First up will be David Macinnis Gill and Bonnie J. Doerr. Interestingly enough, both of them are teachers and have written YA novels.

If you haven’t already done so, check out David’s website. I’m not going to say any more and spoil it for  you, but I think it’s one of the coolest I’ve ever seen.

David Macinnis Gill
Soul Enchilada, a BBYA 2010 and Kirkus 2009 Best Book
Black Hole Sun (August 2010)
from Greenwillow Books, an imprint of   HarperCollins
www.davidmacinnisgill.com
Bug Smoot, on her own at 18 after all her family members died off one by one, broke, about to lose her cruddy apartment and her job delivering pizza, finds that fate has dealt her one more blow. Apparently her grandfather had sold his soul to the Devil for a Cadillac, but when he died he somehow escaped collection. So now the Devil’s minion, Beales, wants the car and Bug’s grandfather’s soul, and if she can’t deliver, he’ll take hers instead. But Beales may have more on his mind than a simple repo job.

David Macinnis Gill is the author of the YA novels, Soul Enchilada and the forthcoming Black Hole Sun, from Greenwillow/Harper Collins. His short stories have appeared in several magazines, including The Crescent Review and Writer’s Forum. His critical biography of young adult author Graham Salisbury, Graham Salisbury: Island Boy, was published by Scarecrow Press. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English/creative writing and a doctorate in education, both from the University of Tennessee.

Watch David’s book trailers below.

Bonnie J. Doerr
Island Sting (Leap Books)
www.bonniedoerrbooks.com
book trailer:   www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54xiWa8IDc

When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she’s tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits—mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans? Island Sting includes notes on the endangered Florida Key deer and the National Key Deer Refuge.

A lifetime educator, Bonnie J. Doerr has taught students from kindergarten to college in eight states. Degrees in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, led her to write ecological mysteries. Her novels celebrate caring, involved, “green” teens who take action with attitude and a touch of romance. Bonnie is a member of the Class of 2k10, a group of exciting MG & YA debut authors who are working together to promote their novels.

See Bonnie’s book trailer and one from the Class of 2k10 below.

DAVID’s

BONNIE’s

CLASS OF 2K10’s





Banned Books Week

7 10 2009

Somehow Banned Books Week passed me by. It’s not the only thing I missed. Juggling so many projects causes me to totally lose track of time. But I did want to give a shout out to this Banned Books Week topic at Lily Stone’s blog: Should This Cover Be Banned?

When I was a librarian, I always got excited when Banned Books Week arrived, because I loved putting up Banned Books displays and hearing people say, “That was banned?” Then they’d stare in horror at some of the classics, and many of their favorite titles.

Once when I was putting up a Banned Books display in a case at a nearby mall, a man almost physically attacked me because I put a Bible in the shelf. He elbowed me aside and snatched the Bible. A tug of war ensued; I wasn’t about to let him steal library property.

I tried to “talk him down” by sympathizing with his distress. I agreed the Bible should have never been banned. Nor, I pointed out, should the other books. As I talked, he reluctantly loosened his grip, and eventually went away muttering that people who banned books should be shot. Not exactly my intent, but I did manage to get my point across.

IslandSting_300

Now I’m championing another cause: a banned book cover. Lily Stone’s blog gave most of the facts. Some teachers don’t want this cover in their classrooms because of the bullet holes and blood.

Should you ban a book cover as too violent  if the story’s about endangered Key deer being poached? And what about the educational value author Bonnie J. Doerr packed into its pages? As a former Science teacher, Doerr wants to get teens excited about caring for the environment. She’s planned lessons to relate the novel to many different areas of the curriculum. Wouldn’t it be a shame if this message never reached the intended audience?

I love Banned Books week because it represents freedom of choice–a privilege supported by the U.S. Constitution. Let’s allow our writers and artists to create by appreciating their visions rather than banning them.