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Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My!

A collage of 12 colorful children's book covers

 

Welcome to Lyric Power Publishing, where we believe children’s books should be educational and entertaining. Our illustrations are unusual in the children’s book marketplace: They are vivid—to attract the reader to both the written word and the fascinating world of science. Science is interesting and fun when presented in delightful rhymes or engaging adventures,  No dry text books here! But don’t think these stories are only for children. Our fan mail indicates adults enjoy them equally and have also gained new knowledge.

We may be a small publisher, but we have a mighty mission:  Science education should not be boring! To that end, in addition to our fun, science-based books in print, we have developed our own activity sheets and bundled them into 12 to 47-page study-units. Our affordable, printable activity sheets, workbooks, flannel-boards and standups for Grades K-5 provide creative and fun opportunities to learn about ecology, reptiles, birds, mammals, habitats, predators and prey, plants, rocks, maps and directions. They include coloring pages and lessons on anatomy, life-cycles, crossword puzzles, cut-and-paste, word searches, spelling, vocabulary, math, and story-writing, and more.

Wouldn’t your children rather count iguanas or bats than apples and oranges? Our workbooks can be viewed at the Workbooks tab and are downloaded to be printed and used as many times as you’d like.

We hope you will enjoy all there is to see on the Lyric Power Publishing website. You can meet our authors and illustrators under the Home tab and see our books at the Our Books tab.

Thank you for joining us as we discuss our work and our insights on this blog, Tails, Tales, Adventures, Oh, My! If you’d like to receive our updates in your email, use the subscription box in the right column of any page but the Home page. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at iginspired@gmail.com.

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Keeping It Real–Very Real by Elaine A. Powers, Author

 

a tangle of mangrove tree roots
Mangrove tree roots image courtesy of M W from Pixabay

Even though I primarily write children’s books, I wrote a book called Silent Rocks about the declining population of Rock Iguanas on the Cayman Islands, and another about the Sonoran Desert’s Night-Blooming Cereus.

cover of book "Silent Rocks." white background, rock iguana pictured in natural habitat on island Cayman Brac
The population of the endemic Sister Island Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis) on Cayman Brac is in serious decline. These vegetarian lizards are an important part of the island’s ecosystem. The reduction in population is the result of human activity on their habitat and the threats can only be eliminated by human action.

I also write murder mysteries and one is set in south Florida in a small coastal town. A lot of the action takes place in the mangroves. In fact, one scene regards a resort hotel being built within the mangroves. I thought I had included sufficient details with the tangle of roots and the wildlife flitting in and out. Recently, I had the opportunity to stay in a hotel actually built within the mangrove trees.

Who was it that thought this was a good idea?

Besides the senseless destruction of the protective trees, there are the people-consuming insects that consider the insect repellent to be seasoning. Guests slog through the muck to get to the steps of the hotel. The salt air seems to corrode everything metal instantaneously. The nesting and resting birds squabble day and night. And then there’s the smell–the omnipresent odor of hydrogen sulfide, which can be compared to odor of rotten eggs.

It’s time for me to edit the landscape descriptions in my story and really bring the location to life. In the case of a very strong setting like this one, it takes on importance equal to the charactersThis has taught me to be certain to use all the senses when writing the locationMy new motto: Get the details rights!

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Claiming Who I Am by Elaine A. Powers, Author

A collage of 12 colorful children's book coversLyric Power Publishing represents three authors at this time, though my books make up the largest quantity of LPP’s published works. Perhaps the parents and grandparents reading this will consider giving one or two of our wonderful children’s books (that are enjoyed by adults, too) this Christmas. With these books, kids learn that science is fun!~~EAP

I recently traveled to a foreign country (a pretty common event for me).  On the immigration form, countries often ask for your profession. During my life’s work, I put biologist. I was a laboratory researcher. On one trip to Africa, I think that admission got me thoroughly searched. Upon my return, I declared I had purchased some sine wood carvings. Every item and the suitcases themselves were thoroughly searched. They suspected I had brought back some illegal samples of something. Nope, just a few nice carvings done by a local craftsman.

After I took early retirement, I put down “retired” as my profession, even though I was actively writing and trying to build my book business.

The author Elaine A. Powers head shot against a green background
(Made by the author’s proud website staff for her. She is also a wonderful employer.)

So, for the first time, on this last trip, I put down “Author” as my profession. I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to consider myself a professional writer. I have always loved science, and I recently realized that the enjoyment I get from writing and sharing about science has made my book business into a real business. I really, truly am an author.

Come join me in my adventure. Share your thoughts with me in a comment below and on Facebook here and here and here. Read my books that weave science into poetry and adventure tales, making science fun. Science should be fun! Check out Lyric Power Publishing’s workbooks, which tie into LPP’s books, and are so well made by a teacher’s teacher. We are very proud of them here. They are extensive, multi-subject with a focus–like iguanas! We say, “Why not do math counting iguanas?

a white and light blue book cover with an image of an iguana's headFor educators and homeschooling parents, LPP offers a 30-page workbook called My Unit Study on Iguanas designed for students in grades 2-4. It’s filled with fun and educational pages and puzzles, all about the iguana.

a light brown book cover with green lettering: Queen of the Night: Night Blooming Cereus, with illustration of a white flower
Biologist and Author Elaine A. Powers includes both scientific facts and the magic of this Southwestern Desert plant in her book, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT: THE NIGHT-BLOOMING CEREUS. Powers says being a musician helped her to weave into poetry the plant parts, the blooming cycle, the plant’s growing conditions, and its pollinators. This wonderful book about a very special plant in the Sonoran Desert is for all ages.

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Take a Hike! It’s Almost Nov. 17th by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Southern Arizona desert with mountains in background
Hiking in Catalina State Park, Southern Arizona

When I came across this national day, I confess two different things came to my mind. The first and most obvious meaning is to go outside and walk in a patch or expanse of nature. That is, in fact, the purpose of November 17 as a national holiday. You can take a short hike around your neighborhood, a day hike through a local wooded area, or enjoy a challenging hike, such as traversing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Hiking doesn’t have to be fast. I think hiking is better as a stroll. This allows getting in touch with plants and wild animals. Even seeing a little squirrel brings peace to a person’s mind. Nature is often referred to Vitamin N. Richard Louv wrote a book about it.

Of course, there is also the figurative use of the phrase. When two people have a disagreement, one might say, “Take a hike!”, meaning go away, leave, get out of here. Maybe this use wouldn’t happen as much if we got out in nature and took more hikes. Get your Vitamin N!

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What is it About the Ocean? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

turquoise and white ocean waves against an orange sunset
Image courtesy of Ruben Eduardo Ortiz Morales from Pixabay

What is it about the ocean that stimulates my muse? Sure, I can write at home in the desert, but I feel so much more creative with salty waves lapping at the shore, or crashing on the rocks. Maybe it’s the salty air blowing the cobwebs and dust of the mental doldrums from my mind. I have been noticing this more and more. I go to the ocean and I can’t write fast enough. There are times at home in Arizona where I have to fight for every word and then I throw most of it away.

Don’t get me wrong–I do love my desert home. Yet, somewhere in my soul, I need the ocean stimulus periodically. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, since my first book was inspired on an island while on a cruise. Curtis the curly-tail lizard of Warderick Wells climbed onto my sneaker and stayed there for a couple of hours! I don’t know if his adventure tale really happened to him, or if it was his dream, but when I got back to my cabin, his story poured out of me.

I am a biologist who now has 23 books in print! Children’s books based in science–even the fun rhyming books, and adventure tales, and especially, my pleas to save endangered species. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far, and I’m looking forward to wherever the waves of the muse take me, because I never know who I’ll meet that will inspire my next story.

What fun!

Here is Curtis’ second adventure tale. His new friendship is tested when his home island’s ecosystem is threatened.

A book cover with a Curly-tail lizard riding on the back of a Hutia, a rodent
Curtis Curly-tail and Horace Hutia become friends after the declining hutia population are brought to Warderick Wells Cay. But when the hutia damage the cay’s ecosystem, what will the scientists do? It’s a very difficult situation for the friends and the island. The reader puts him or herself in the shoes of the scientists and chooses the ending to the story.

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Does a Dead Scorpion Glow? by Elaine A. Powers, Author

image of a dead scorpion glowing in moonlight
Photo by Terry. Incredibly, even fossilized scorpions glow under UV light!

I was asked if dead scorpions glow by a friend who found a dead scorpion on his patio. I confess, I didn’t know. My guess was that the scorpion wouldn’t glow after death because, I hypothesized, the fluorescent chemicals were actively produced by the living animal.

The part of the scorpion’s body that glows is located in the exoskeleton, the hard, protective covering. Within the cuticle of the exoskeleton is the hyaline layer, which reacts to black light or moonlight. Interestingly, scorpions don’t glow right after molting. The cuticle must harden first. So, is the glowing material part of the hardening process; or is it incorporated into the cuticle during the hardening?

Not much is known about the glowing material.

What is it made of?

Why do scorpions have it?

Several hypotheses have been put forth:

  • Detection of UV light and visible light, so they know when and where to hide.
  • Sunblock.
  • Prey attraction and confusion so they are easier to catch.
  • Communication with other scorpions.

But, back to that original question: Does a dead scorpion glow? Surprisingly, it does!

Lyric Power Publishing is proud of its comprehensive, educational and fun workbooks, like the one below, My Book About the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, a fellow desert dweller of the scorpion;

image of children's workbook cover, with picture of western diamondback rattler and a listing of the activity sheets insideActivity sheets and coloring pages include the rattlesnake description, lifecycle, parts, facts, traits, and diet; cut and paste, compare and contrast, learning about graphs and charts, word search, and a crossword puzzle. It’s a jam-packed rattlesnake workbook!

and it’s science-based children’s books written in rhyme. Learn everything you need to know about rattlesnakes in this fun-to-read book with vibrant, exciting illustrations.

A brown book cover, with a circle with blue sky, with a rattlesnake popping out of the circle, title: Don't Make Me RattlePeople fear rattlesnakes because they don’t understand them. Come inside and learn about these amazing snakes, how they help people, and why the rattlesnake should be respected, not exterminated.

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It’s National Parents as Teachers Day and National STEM/STEAM Day

boy and mother with book on table about turtlesEveryone knows that parents are their child’s first teachers. From teaching them how to say mommy or daddy, to counting on their toes, to learning how to walk, parents are the most important teachers of children. As kids grow into adults, they still look to their parents for guidance. On November 8, we’re celebrating that relationship.

While parents are teaching their children, they should include science.  After all, November 8 is also National STEM/STEAM Day. Don’t know what those letters stand for? STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Math. Education in these four areas is critical for the future. STEAM includes the equally important Arts, including humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media.

At Lyric Power Publishing, LLC, we encourage both kinds of learning, investigative and creative, and we like to make learning fun! Check out our books here and our workbooks here, and enjoy learning about science!

A light blue book cover with images of freshwater turtle and green sea turtle

38 Pages of Turtle Facts, Traits, Diet, Survival, Label the Parts, True or False, Cut and Paste, Reading Comprehension, Color by Math, Write the Differences, Vocabulary, Word Definitions, Cause and Effect and More!

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November is Full of Unique Celebrations! by Elaine A. Powers, Author

a company logo for author Elaine A PowersNovember is an exciting month for me. It includes National Author’s Day, to celebrate your favorite authors and perhaps try reading the work of a new one. Humility should prevent me from doing so, but may I suggest the science-based books by Elaine A. Powers? LOL.

Storytelling is a part of all human cultures. Today, authors provide us with entertainment, as well as information. November is also National Family Literacy Month. Celebrate by sharing books with your family members. Read to each other. Read with each other. Lyric Power Publishing offers workbooks filled with comprehensive, educational and fun activity sheets that could be colored together and enjoyed by the entire family.

Reading can build up an appetite, so while you’re making yourself a meal, cook something for your pets, because National Cook for Your Pets Day is also in November. Most of my pets’ meals are freshly prepared raw fruits and vegetables. However, once in a while, I do cook butternut squash for my iguanas and tortoises. It is nice and soft and they enjoy it immensely, shoving their faces into the squishy, tasty pulp.

head of rock iguana eating cooked squash

Once they have eaten their fill, they scrape off the residue; after all, they don’t want to be seen with squash on their face!

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Marketing Books and Meeting Interesting Folks in Tucson by Elaine A. Powers, Author

Image of Empire Ranch signEven though I would love to have someone else do the marketing of my books, doing it myself allows me to discover interesting sites in the Tucson area.  One such place is the Empire Ranch. I met some of the volunteers at the Western Writers of America conference and they thought my books would be a good fit for their gift shop.

The Empire Ranch is located on the road to Sonoita in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The mission of the Empire Ranch Foundation is, “Acting in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The purpose of the Foundation is to protect, restore and sustain the Empire Ranch historical buildings and landscape as an outstanding western heritage and education center.” The combine two interests of mine, conservation and historical preservation.  Back in New Jersey, I was part of the Union Forge Heritage Association. The ranch was established in the 1860’s. 

The gift shop is looking to expand to include more items about animal and plant conservation. I’m honored to be included. They’ll be selling the Don’t series and Queen of the Night: the Night-blooming Cereus.

*Learn about the Night-blooming Cereus, Peniocereus greggii, the mysterious cacti
that bloom all together only one night per year
*An Amazon #1 Book in Children’s Botany Section
*See the Desert Southwest in a new, fun way
*Scientific facts written in rhyme are easy to remember
*Enjoy spectacular illustrations of Cereus, the Sonoran Desert and its wildlife

a light brown book cover with green lettering: Queen of the Night: Night Blooming Cereus, with illustration of a white flower
Biologist and Author Elaine A. Powers includes both scientific facts and the magic of this Southwestern Desert plant in her book, QUEEN OF THE NIGHT: THE NIGHT-BLOOMING CEREUS. Powers says being a musician helped her to weave into poetry the plant parts, the blooming cycle, the plant’s growing conditions, and its pollinators.

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Do Lizards Scurry, Skitter or Scamper? By Elaine A. Powers, Author

a children's book cover, blue and white, with several curly-tail lizards on the cover
Captured by poachers, Curtis Curly-tail finds himself on a boat full of native animals being smuggled out of The Bahamas. As he struggles to help the other animals escape, he realizes he may not be able to save himself.

Writers are continually encouraged to use active verbs. A verb is a word that shows action.  A verb can be either active or passive. A verb is active when the subject of the sentence is doing a specific action. For example, ‘The iguana ate the leaves.’  The passive voice of the same sentence is, ‘The leaves were eaten by the iguana.’

Verbs should also convey information about the action. Did the iguana walk over to the leaves or did she run or leap? So, choosing the correct word is important. Which brings me to the topic of this blog:  When describing the movement of a lizard, does she scurry or skitter?  I always thought a lizard scurried, as you will read in my books, like Curtis Curly-tail is Lizardnapped pictured above, but a friend suggested that a lizard skitters. What’s the difference between the verbs?

To scurry is defined as moving in a brisk pace. To skitter also means to move rapidly, but with frequent changes in direction.  So maybe my friend is right in saying that the characters in my books are skittering.

But wait, what about the verb, to scamper? A lizard could scamper with quick, light steps from fear or excitement.

There are so many interesting verbs I should be using in my books.  This was an interesting language study lesson for me.

Check my future books to see how my lizards move! Will they scurry, skitter or scamper?