Tag Archives: Sea dragons

An Overview of My Reading at the Blair Library

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So many of my best ideas come from research that at every school I visit, I introduce myself by by describing the library where my research begins: the Blair Library (a.k.a. the Fayetteville Public Library) in my hometown, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Fayetteville Public Library was the recipient of Library Journal's 2005 Library of the Year Award. Photo by me!

Today I read “Sea Horse, run!” at 10:30 am in the Walker Community Room at my favorite library. A wonderful audience filled with children, parents, and educators heard my dramatic reading (yes, I sang Coral’s part!), then I launched into how I created my new, award-winning picture book. I’ve written a few blog articles about some of the topics I discussed such as…

Rewriting the end of “Sea Horse, run!”. (Spoiler Alert!!!) This post includes the video I showed during my presentation. You’ll see step by step how I research and draw characters for the book.

The Power of Three. The number “3” defines story structure and is an important number in children’s stories.

 

 

One thing I forgot to discuss during my presentation is why Coral sings in the story. Read Coral as Greek Chorus to find out.

I brought markers, boxes of crayons, and copies of activities for the kids. Several children came up the stage and colored the pictures while I read the book.

Activity for SEA HORSE, RUN!         Activity for SEA HORSE, RUN!     Dot-to-Dot Activity

You can check out a copy of “Sea Horse, run!” at the Blair Library (a.k.a. the Fayetteville Public Library), or purchase a hardcover in Fayetteville at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street, French Quarters Antiques on Block Street, or Barnes & Noble across from the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Fayetteville's Blair Library.

Blair Library became the first building in Arkansas to register with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program. The library received its LEED silver certification from the USGBC in December 2006. Read more or visit  Fayetteville’s Blair Library online at: www.faylib.org.

Want to learn more about me (Tammy Carter Bronson)? Visit my personal blog or read a recent post that sums up 2011 so far: “Summer 2011 in Review.”

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Ribbon

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My latest video demonstrates how I created my character, Ribbon, for “Sea Horse, run!”. It takes 6 minutes to view, but it’s worth it. You’ll see real ribboned sea dragons at the Minnesota Aquarium as well as the step-by-step process I use to draw, paint, cut out, and design a character for the book. As an added bonus, I’ll show you exactly where I hid Ribbon on every page in the story.

Ribbon is a ribboned sea dragon. Specimens are usually greenish-yellow like the sea grasses they hide in. Ribboned sea dragons are found in waters northwest of Australia. They can grow to be about one foot in length. Ribboned sea dragons are more tropical than their southern relatives, the leafy and weedy sea dragons.

     Weedy Sea Dragon     

Sea dragons are classified in the family Syngnathidae (pronounced sin-NATH-ih-dee). Every animal in this family is a fish. Syngnathdae is Greek for “fused jaws” because the mouths of fish in this family do not open or close. About 330 species of Syngnathidae have been classified. At least thirty-seven species are sea horses, three species are sea dragons, and the rest are pipehorses or pipefishes.

Corals and Sea Horses

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Why are corals important to sea horses?

Many species of sea horses are entirely dependent on their coral environment for protection. Sea horses can change their color and texture to mimic the corals they are attached to which means the corals provide the perfect hiding place from predators. Since corals often protect sea horses, I thought it would be a nice reversal in “SEA HORSE, RUN!” to have my hero, Sea Horse, protecting his best friend, Coral.

Sea Horse & Coral

Sea Horse looks yellow like his best friend, Coral.

Also, many species of coral and even some coral reefs are endangered around the world, so it was easy to imagine Coral needed to be protected in the story. But protected from what? That was the hard part. I knew the danger needed to be concrete for young readers, so I chose a sea dragon because the word ‘dragon’ definitely excites the imagination!

Sea Horse and Sea Dragon

Sea Horse and Leafy. Leafy is a sea dragon!

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

How are corals named?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

Do coral polyps have eyes?

Fish Gallery

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Sharks, eels, sea horses, and sea dragons are all FISH!

With over 31,000 species, this is the most diverse group of vertebrates (animals with spines).

Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.