Summer 2021 PAL Showcase

This is such a lovely group. I was so honored to be part of the SCBWI Summer 2021 PAL Showcase in July.

My interview starts about 9:50, but if you are interested in finding out about some wonderful children’s book authors, I encourage you to watch the whole thing.

#kidlit for Young Birdwatchers: Who Is Singing?

Today we are thrilled to feature a picture book for young birdwatchers, Who Is Singing? by Janet Halfmann and illustrated by Chrissy Chabot.

Have you ever heard a bird saying Meow or Caw? Did you know what kind of bird it was from the sound it made?

Who is Singing? presents the sounds made by twelve common birds, from cardinals to robins in a fun Q and A format.

For each bird, the first page asks who is making the particular sound?

The answer is on the next page.

The format “Take a bow (name)” and the words for the song repeats for each bird species. Repetition like this helps young readers figure out letters and words — eventually leading them to read fluently — while at the same time they are learning the names and songs of local birds.

In the back, Janet Halfmann has a list of “Birdsong Fun Facts and Notes” for readers who want to learn more. For example, she mentions birds often sing more than one type of song. She also has an activity suggestion to come up with your own words for bird songs you hear.

Who Is Singing? is a perfect introduction to birding that begs to be read aloud. Pick up a copy and before long your budding ornithologist will be talking to the birds.

Related Activity Suggestions

Find out more about the inspiration for the book at Janet Halfmann’s website.

Activity:  Take a bird-listening hike.

Go for a walk around your neighborhood or local park, and keep an ear open for birds. Just listen or you can try to identify the different kinds. Besides gaining an appreciation for your local wildlife, a recent study has shown that listening to bird songs can be good for your health (US News and World Report).

Can’t get outside? Try listening to this video of bird songs of common birds from around the world. You can use it for Janet Halfmann’s suggestion to make up your own words for how bird songs sound.

(I love that they give the common names in many languages. )

For many other bird-related activities, check out the bird activity category at Growing with Science.  And, be sure to check out our growing list of books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids.

Ages:  3-6
Publisher ‏:   ‎ Pen It! Publications, LLC (July 21, 2021)
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1954868375
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1954868373


Disclosure: The book was provided as an electronic ARC  for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Writing List Poems

List poems are lists of related things arranged in such a way as to convey an idea or story.

List poems have been around for a long time. Sei Shonogan was a Japanese writer/poet who wrote list poems. She lived around the year 1000. People still read a collection of her writings called The Pillow Book.

Here is an example of one of Sei Shonogan’s poems:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own examples of list poems:

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Things that I smell on my morning walk:
Wet dogs
New grass
Car exhaust
Dryer sheets from someone’s laundry
Breakfast cooking on Sunday mornings

Things I hear on my morning walk:
Dogs barking
Leaf blowers
Cars and trucks on the main street
Birds singing
Ducks quacking
The sound of my two feet on pavement

Kenn Nesbitt’s website has more detailed instructions and examples.

Now write a list-inspired poem!

#50preciouswords Challenge: Beetle Small Talk

Vivian Kirkfield hosts a children’s story writing challenge each year. The idea is to come up with a story in 50 words or less.

Of course I thought of insects.


Beetle Small Talk

By Roberta Gibson

A lightning bug is a beetle,
Flying in the night.
No worries about getting lost
It carries a flash light.

Gently touch a milkweed beetle,
It will give a squeak.
Bet you didn’t know an insect
So very small could speak.