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Children's Books and Descriptions


When you have a big family, reunions can be loud and chaotic. But as this cheerful book demonstrates, they can also be tons of fun! From canoeing down the river to getting chased by bees to telling ghost stories around the campfire, the reunion is filled with adventures for the whole family, even the pets! But when the vacation comes to an end, will everyone be able to keep the memories they've shared? With sunny illustrations by Sara Palacios, Marc Harshman's winsome story evokes all the joys of summer vacation and family togetherness.

Published by Quarrier Press, Mountain Christmas is a West Virginia Santa Claus story featuring lavish illustrations by Cecy Rose. The book chronicles the arrival of Santa Claus in various and familiar places throughout the Mountain State. 


Living far in the country, the fear of fire can be very real.  My wife and I were living on Sally's Backbone in Marshall County in 1984.  One winter evening, our car caught fire.  It was cold, and there was a foot of snow.  The blazing auto was very close to the house under some spruce trees.  I used that real fear to guide my creation of the tale of a chimney fire.  Having lived on a farm and presently heating my own house with wood, I was easily able to borrow the rest of the details to invent the plot.

This is a true, autobiographical account of a blizzard recalled from my childhood.  This was also the title of a related poem that my wife suggested might make a picture book.  It was this tale I sent off to my editor almost immediately upon the acceptance of "A Little Excitement."


The core of this tale comes from my co-author, a true Appalachian storyteller, Bonnie Collins.  Having shared the storytelling stage at the Vandalia Gathering (West Virginia's premier folk life celebration), where we also judged the state liar's contest, Bonnie has been both friend and inspiration.  Several years ago, my wife and I were asked to interview Bonnie for "Goldenseal" magazine.  It was in the course of this interview that I heard this amazingly delightful tale and realized at once that it had great potential for becoming a children's picture book.  It features inspired pictures from Toni Goffe.


A line of poetry came to me one afternoon as I was scribbling in my notebook:  "There may be a million stars but there is only one sky."  I still don't know where those words came from but it is from that line that "Only One" had its birth.  I have no doubts but that this was a gift.


This book draws part of its plot from recollected family tales and documents I inherited from my grandmother, especially her father's postcards from his years in the logging camps of the American Northwest early this century.  Although I did not set out to tell a tale about alcoholism, it does, nonetheless address this illness and inasmuch as it does, I have hoped with something like hindsight, that it provides true testimony and caution, as well as hope.


In 1991 my family left Sally's Backbone where we had lived for nearly a decade.  It was a bittersweet move.  One afternoon, shortly after we had resettled in town, I found myself wondering what it might feel like for a kid to have to make a move similar to the one I had just made.  The details were fresh and still all around me.  I went from there.


I have long been Friends with the fine American poet Jared Carter, among whose many accomplishments include winning the Walt Whitman Award.  One afternoon, Jeb, a Hoosier like myself, was sitting on my back porch in Moundsville and asked, "Marc, you've written a lot about your Appalachian home.  When are you going to write a real Hoosier tale?"  I jokingly replied, "about basketball or tornados?"  But somehow Jeb's prompting stayed with me, and the possibility of surprising both he and myself by taking up that little joke.  That's where the story started.  Later, Nancy Springer and  Anna Smucker would provide important criticism that helped me get said what I wanted to say.  The book was finished in the Black Mountains of Wales in the summer of 1992.


Like "Only One," I believe this book came as a gift, although I actually do not recall its inception.  Unlike the earlier book, however, this one was not immediately accepted by my editor.  I always liked the idea, worked it through some significant revisions, and just kept sending it around.  Then, Judith Whipple at Cavendish read it and love it at first sight.  So had I.


What can you find in an autumn garden?  A harvest of bright colors, and lots to explore!  Come share a day of big orange pumpkins, shiny purple eggplants, juicy red apples, and bright blue skies - a day of fall fun and abundance.  Marc Harshman and Cheryl Ryan love to work in their prizewinning organic garden.  Wade Zahares recently planted an apple orchard on his farm where he lives and works in southern Maine.


A simple text and soothing, picturesque illustrations by Mary Newell DePalma make this a perfect story for young children eager to travel the roads and see the variety of sights making up America.  "And all the good roads/ always lead you home."


One bakery has many different breads; in one school there are many children.  This unique book uses a busy city neighborhood to teach the concept of one versus many.  The same author-and-artist team that created the evergreen title "Only One" takes children on tour of shops, the firehouse, and more via a simple, soothing text and extraordinary woodblock illustrations.  At the book's end, readers see how many neighborhoods can come together to make one city, showing how each one of us is part of something bigger.  Booklist also recommends adding this to core collection:  "Peace, Not War."


A Little Excitement

Snow Company

Rocks in My Pockets

All the Way to Morning

WV Department of Education and the Arts    1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, The Culture Center,    Charleston, WV 25305
Ph: (304) 558-2440    Fx: (304) 558-1311
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