Title Of Book: Turtle Without a Home
Time length to read: 4-6 min
Age recommend: 4 and up
Authors: Dr. Sharon Gaston & Richard Halttunen
Illustrator: Dr. Sharon Gaston
Publisher: Creative Minds Publications
Best place to purchase: Turtle Without a Home Website (Click here for direct link)
Happy Spring everyone! And to bring in the springtime joy, I have a book filled with lots of springtime like quality in it! The book, Turtle Without a Home, by Dr. Sharon Gaston & Richard Halttunen, is about a little turtle that is on a journey to find a different home after the river he swims in comes up to be trashed and polluted. On his quest, he encounters several animals and bugs to see if he could join their homes, only to find himself out of luck in the end. He finally comes across a butterfly who guides him to a beautiful nature spot that is taken care of by an elementary school and it turns out to be the perfect home for turtle.
I thought that this was a very creative and cute book. It has a great story, that has many great messages in it. It teaches kids to not give up hope when your feeling like you won’t achieve something, and it also shows children the importance of keeping the environment clean so that it doesn’t pollute animals homes. The illustrations in this book, done by one of the author’s herself, are very colorful and resemble that of crayon like coloring, which is different, but I thought it was kind of cool. I think that children will relate to the pictures because of that.
This book is excellent not just for parents, but teachers as well. This book would do well in a elementary classroom setting. In fact, on the authors’ website (www.turtlewithoutahome.com), there is a link that you can go to to read more about a special teachers guide they have that connects with the book. It’s supposed to show teachers who are interested in environmental things they can teach students and would make an excellent activity to do on earth day. So if your a teacher, I’d check that out on their website!
For more information on this book or the authors’, you can go to their website Turtle Without a Home.
I was also able to do an author interview with the authors of this book! Hope you all enjoy!
Author Interviews with Dr. Sharon Gaston and Richard Halttunen
Tell us a little bit about yourselves:
We are both Elementary school teachers in Northern Virginia. Rich teaches third grade and is affectionately known to the school community as “Mr. H.”He bases his teaching style on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and the use of his own books and plays. Rich believes that education should be meaningful and fun. Sharon is a Reading Specialist who understands the power of literacy and its effects on all that we do. She is a professional storyteller who has written and illustrated her own alphabet books and a series of character education books based on stories her mother used to tell her as a child. You can learn more about Sharon’s other books at http://www.drsharongastonbooks&storytelling.com We both are members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).
What do you do when you’re not writing?
As stated earlier we are full time educators in Northern Virginia. Rich directs a very popular after school drama club, enjoys riding his bike, hiking and being in nature. Sharon enjoys summer vacations at the beach, writing and doodling in her journals, walking for exercise, book club discussions and going out to dinner and laughing with friends.
What inspired your both to write this book?
Sharon was inspired to write her first book at age 8 because of the t.v. show “Land of the Lost”. Sharon and Rich were inspired to write Turtle Without a Home when Sharon’s school was moving to a new location. There was no pond at the new location to move the turtles to. I told Rich about the Dilemma and we laughed and I said, “The poor turtles are without a home.” Rich said, “That’s a book title!”
Where did you get your ideas?
Rich always says just wake up and walk out the front door. Ideas are everywhere. They come from everyday and past experiences. Sharon says that children can inspire a lot of book ideas.. I wrote a story entitled The Rainbow Pumpkin because of what a student told another student who had no idea what color he wanted to color his halloween pumpkin. The little girl said just as eloquently, “Like Ms. Gaston always says, use your imagination.” She went on to tell her classmate, “Make it a rainbow pumpkin. That’s creative.” I went home that evening and wrote a story about a rainbow colored pumpkin who was not accepted by other vegetables in the garden because he was not only one color. I was inspired by a 6 year old.
Is there a certain message in your book for your readers?
Rich and Sharon want everyone, especially children, to know that taking care of animals and the environment ultimately teaches respect for each other. Everyone can do something to be good stewards of the this planet. Sharon also created a teacher’s guide for the book to extend this idea.
Are there any books that inspired you to write?
We are both huge Dr. Seuss fans. Our favorites are The Lorax, The Sneetches, The Better Butter Battle and The Zax. He was so far ahead of the crowd in his thoughts on the environment, racism, war and progress. The way that he could bring these massive, world issues and sit them at children’s feet in a way that was entertaining but educational was a masterful talent. Rich had been greatly inspired by Thoreau’s Walden and I recently read Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson that was so moving and poignant.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to write?
We believe that ideas for writing are everywhere. Just wake up and go about your day. Write about what moves you whether it’s happy, sad, morbid or thrilling. Get your thoughts out on paper. If you like to draw, keep drawing and develop your own style.
Do you have anything you would like to tell your readers?
Remember to always be a part of a solution and not a problem. Walk in the positive!