Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

Meet Author and Storyteller Joan Marie Galat

Posted on May 22nd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts introduces Joan Marie Galat author and storytellerAlthough she started making books at the age of nine, Joan Marie Galat wasn’t published until the age of 12, when she became a paid weekly newspaper columnist. Today she is an award-winning and best selling author.

Joan shares her love of the stars in the Dot to Dot in the Sky series, which combines the science of the night sky with the ancient myths that give constellations and planets their names. Her first title, Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Stars, became a best seller within six weeks of its release.

Joan’s books for children explore astronomy, ancient myths and legends, light pollution, history, and nature. She writes fiction and non-fiction, including two books for Scholastic classified as “info-fiction fantasy story.” A prolific writer for all ages and relentless promoter of reading, Joan loves to use storytelling to connect with audiences. A highlight in her career involved presenting Korean translations of her books at an international book fair in Seoul.

Joan operates MoonDot Media, a communications business offering writing and editing solutions in broadcast, print, and multi-media. She is the contributing editor of a quarterly magazine called The Advocate. Her freelance jobs have encompassed writing radio and video scripts, an Internet cartoon, exhibit text, speechwriting, and much more.

Author Website
Author Facebook page
Author/Storyteller Twitter Account @joanmariegalat

The Discovery of Longitude Joan Marie GalatTell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?
My most recently published children’s book is The Discovery of Longitude, illustrated by Wes Lowe.

The story explores human struggle—something anyone can relate to. It offers all the elements of a great story: a challenge, hero, and conflict, followed by justice. Discovering how to measure longitude changed the world, in part because it created time zones. I’m proud to have taken a complicated subject and made it understandable and interesting to young readers.

The Discovery of Longitude is a picture book, intended for ages five and up. However, its story will interest anyone unfamiliar with the dangers of ocean travel before people knew how to determine their east-west location at sea.

The Discovery of Longitude at

The Discovery of Longitude at

I’m excited to share that I have a number of new titles scheduled for release in 2014 and 2015:
Dark Matters—Nature’s reaction to light pollution (Red Deer Press)
Branching Out: How trees are part of our world (Owlkids)
Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Aurora (Whitecap Books)
Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories of the Sun (Whitecap Books)
Cloud to Cloud in the Sky, Weather Science and Mythology from Around the World (Whitecap Books)

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

It took several years to get my first book published. When Dot to Dot in the Sky—Stories in the Stars was released, I was enormously pleased. The path to publishing taught me that it’s not enough to have interesting, well-expressed ideas. It’s also necessary to understand how the publishing industry operates.

I applied myself to understanding the needs of publishers and that helped me. Today I teach a workshop to aspiring authors called The Business of Getting Published. I also offer one-on-one consulting (virtual or in-person) to help people realize their writing goals.Dod to Dot Stories in the Stars Joan Marie Galat

My advice to aspiring authors:

1. Read current books in the genre you wish to be published. Analyze why award-winning titles are effective.
2. Remember that writing is about rewriting. Never submit your first draft.
3. Take rejection in stride and persevere. You only need to find one editor who likes your idea.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

I wanted to be an author since first falling in love with stories as a young child. Because I liked books so much, I wanted to make my own. At age 12, I was lucky to become a weekly newspaper columnist. I thank my father for always taking me to the library and my mother who is a fine proofreader. She surely saved me from having my early errors become public!

Tell us about your experiences sharing your book with children. Has anything unusual / endearing / funny / unexpected happened?

Sharing my books with children is an extremely rewarding part of this career. Young children are unfailingly honest, so it means everything when they tell you they like your books. After a recent astronomy presentation at an elementary school, a child came up afterwards to look at my books, and said, “This is the best day ever!”

School and library presentations

Joan Marie Galat offers school and library presentations, writing workshops, and residencies, including virtual presentations via Skype. She’s willing to travel to any location, budget permitting. Please contact her (see above) about funding possibilities.

Dot to Dot in the Sky Literacy
- Author presentations that build reading and writing skills

When it comes to helping students find the joy in reading and writing, the sky’s the limit for astronomy author, Joan Marie Galat. In a lively presentation that blends facts, storytelling, and writing tips, Joan launches reluctant readers into books.

Students of all ages find it hard to resist the lure of astronaut food, exploding stars, and black holes—topics that fascinate kids. Joan also intrigues young writers with ancient myths and her story of becoming a paid columnist at age 12. By the end of the presentation kids will be heading to the library to take out books.

Summertime Means Lots of Opportunity for Kids to Read and Do

Posted on July 11th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


cover art for The Kids Campfire Book

The lazy days of summer are perfect for reinforcing your child’s emerging reading skills. When you are out and exploring, take a child-friendly reference book with you and keep it nearby as you do some star gazing, bird watching, beach or nature walks.

When sitting around a campfire, encourage story-telling or pull out a book of spooky stories and a flashlight. Snuggling up around a fire is the perfect place to listen to spine-chilling tales.

At home, provide easy access to supplies of crayons, pencils, lined and unlined paper. Keeping a summertime scrapbook or diary will encourage your child to do some writing and/or illustrating.

cover art for The Kids Night Sky

Look for books on CD or download audio books. Long drives are so much more pleasant when everyone is listening to an engaging story. I can still remember where we were driving when we heard the amazing recording of Cressida Cowell’s hugely entertaining  How to Train Your Dragon (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III). The miles simply flew by as our entire family created a fabulous memory.

Finally, don’t forget the all-important trip to the library. For young children, look for a mix of rhyming books, alphabet books and other not-to-be-missed picture books. For older children why not find some books of science experiments or art projects to go along with some chapter books?

The Kids Campfire Book, Official Book of Campfire Fun at

The Kids Campfire Book, Official Book of Campfire Fun at

The Kids Book of the Night Sky at

The Kids Book of the Night Sky at



There’s an Alphabet Book for Every Child

Posted on May 28th, 2007 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts Suggests Alphabet Books for Preschool

Having an alphabet book (or two, three or four!), is one way to make your home literacy-friendly. Today I will look at five diverse alphabet books… Just looking at the titles and cover art gives us a hint of the broad range of style and content that alphabet books can encompass.

Storytime Standouts writes about alphabet book, Do Your ABCs Little Brown BearDo Your ABC’s, Little Brown Bear written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Margie Moore
Alphabet Book published by Puffin; Reprint edition

Beginning with Do Your ABC’s, Little Brown Bear we discover a way to help a child learn her alphabet. On a walk with Papa, Little Brown Bear looks for things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. I enjoyed the sweet interaction between Papa and Little Brown Bear. It is hard to imagine any family sharing the book without embarking on their own alphabet exploration. Appropriate for children aged three and up.

Do Your ABC’s, Little Brown Bear at

Do Your ABC’s Little Brown Bear at

Storytime Standouts writes about alphabet book, Northern Lights A to ZNorthern Lights A to Z written and illustrated by Mindy Dwyer
Alphabet Book published by Sasquatch Books

Northern Lights A to Z will appeal mainly to older children (aged five and up) particularly those who have a special interest in the night sky or legends. Beautifully illustrated, the author seamlessly mixes science and myths and shares her knowledge in an engaging, accessible format. I can still remember the emotions I felt when I saw the aurora borealis. This special alphabet book captures the extraordinary experience beautifully.

Northern Lights A to Z at

Northern Lights A to Z at

Storytime Standouts writes about alphabet book, A is for AfricaA Is for Africa written by Ifeoma Onyefulu
Alphabet Book published by Puffin; Reprint edition

A Is for Africa features gorgeous photographs of people and things found in south-eastern Nigeria. Best for children aged five and up, I was struck by the author’s respectful tone and the way her photographs draw us into the atmosphere in the community. Although written in an alphabet book format, one can easily imagine an older child using this book to learn about life in an African village.

A Is for Africa at

A is for Africa at

Storytime Standouts writes about alphabet book, C is for CabooseC is for Caboose written and illustrated by Traci N. Todd
Alphabet Book published by Chronicle Books

When my boys were young, books about trucks and trains were very much “top of the charts” as far as they were concerned. C Is for Caboose features a mix of bright, bold illustrations and archival photographs. This will appeal most to children who are already fascinated by rail travel and enjoy historical photographs.

C Is for Caboose: Riding the Rails from A to Z at

C is for Caboose at

Storytime Standouts writes about alphabet book, Stargazer's AlphabetStargazer’s Alphabet Night-Sky Wonders from A to Z written by John Farrell
Alphabet Book published by Boyds Mills Press

For older children (aged six and up), Stargazer’s Alphabet is “out of this world.” Featuring fabulous photographs of the Milky Way, Jupiter, Mars and more, this book uses a terrific format to its best advantage. Large pages each feature a rhyme: “V is for Venus, a lovely dazzling disk“, a factual paragraph plus photos, maps and diagrams. Great for families where the youngest child can enjoy the rhyming text and older children (and adults) can read detailed explanations. Featuring a glassary and the author’s thoughts on space, the breadth of the material covered will make this a valuable family resource for many years.

Stargazers Alphabet at

Stargazer’s Alphabet at

Some more information about learning the alphabet and alphabet books

Special Alphabet BooksLearning letter activities, games, printables, and alphabet picture booksClothespin Letter Match is an easy-to-make alphabet matching activity from Storytime Standouts

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