I came across this beautiful, inspiring, and educational book by a Boston-based author and HAD to create a giveaway for it. You will LOVE the book Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife by Sarah Grace Tuttle, illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford! Read my review and interview with the author, and then scroll down to find out how to win a prize pack that includes this book as well as Tuttle's newest book releasing this week: Dot, Stripe Squiggle!
Have you ever seen a dandelion blooming between the sidewalk cracks or watched birds fight midair while you strolled through the city? Witnessing nature at work, especially when you’re surrounded by the man-made world, is a beautiful thing! In our hustling, bustling world, we sometimes miss these simple fascinations, but nature is all around us, even in the most unexpected, hidden places of a concrete jungle.
In her book Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife, Sarah Grace Tuttle’s rhythmic poetry opens readers’ eyes to the wondrous, natural moments that happen all the time. Raccoons pillaging trashcans, red-winged blackbirds defending their homes, ants fighting on the pavement—if you just look, you’ll witness it. Coupled with Amy Schimler-Safford’s beautiful artwork that vibrantly depicts the action of the poems, this book will delight nature-lovers of all ages!
Hidden City is a treasure trove of lessons for children. Not only are the poems great models for children’s writing, but also the poet uses her degree in Environmental Studies to ensure each poem’s content is well-researched and teaches about the natural world. Dive deeply into one poem and learn all about the species mentioned, or enjoy the entire book in one sitting—both are perfectly acceptable ways to love this book! As both a teacher and a mom, I’ll be revisiting this book frequently in the years ahead.
Before I give you the details about how to enter the prize pack giveaway for both this book and Tuttle's book being released this week titled Dot, Stripe, Squiggle, I am lucky enough to share with you an interview with the author! The interview gives you insight into Sarah Grace Tuttle's processes-- perfect for sharing with your budding writers! I asked a few of my burning questions, and here are Tuttle's responses:
Wike Baby: You have degrees in Environmental Studies, English, and Writing for Children. You obviously love both nature and writing. How does nature inspire your writing?
Sarah Grace Tuttle: Every time I spend time outside I find something to be curious about. That curiosity leads to questions… and questions lead to book ideas. When I write a book, I need to be fascinated by the concept enough to devote years to developing it. With nature, there is always something new to learn, or some interesting detail to add to the manuscript. So, I guess you could say nature inspires my writing in two ways—by sparking initial ideas and by sustaining my interest in a concept.
WB: As a teacher in the city, I often bring my students to our beautiful school garden to write poetry. What is your process like for writing nature poems?
SGT: I love writing in gardens as well! (That’s actually one of the workshops I offer for school visits.) I have two main ways to write nature poems: journaling and research-based. Journaling poems are when I take a notebook to somewhere I can observe nature, and sit and write based on what is going on around me. Those poems are full of my emotions and thoughts in the moment, and I revise them then and there until I’m happy with them. Research-based poems (like the ones in Hidden City) usually start as a memory or a question. Then, I research to fill in details and answer the question. Revisions for research poems can take days, weeks or even longer.
WB: On your website, you share that you have been telling stories since before you could write them down. I love the story of your grandmother scribing your oral stories in pen on construction paper. Over what period of time did you write the poems that are found in the book?
SGT: Hidden City was a concept I had for a very long time, but I only started writing the poems for it in my final year of graduate school. In fact, it was one of my mentorship projects for my MFA in Writing for Children. I continued working on the poems long after my mentorship was over. I think it took roughly two years for the poems to be ready for submission to publishers.
WB: The poems in your book highlight the excitement and beauty of nature all around us--even in the least expected places. I have so many favorite poems from your book. What is your favorite poem in the book and why?
SGT: You know, I get asked this question a lot… and the truth is, I really don’t have a favorite poem in the book. But, I do have a favorite story behind one of the poems! “Defending Home” is based on the red-winged blackbirds I used to watch at a park near where I grew up. I remember so clearly realizing that I could learn why those birds made a noise just by watching what was going on around them. It was my first experience with scientific observation, and it started me on my path towards Environmental Studies and writing about nature. So, “Defending Home” has a special place in my heart, because to me it is the poem about where everything started.
WB: Most people have a spot in nature that holds meaning for them. Wike Baby recently held a children’s writing competition, and this was one of the questions: what is your favorite place in nature?
SGT: This is a hard question! That park I mentioned above is pretty special to me… but I think some of my favorite places in nature are the ones I interact with on a regular basis. I love getting to know a spot through the seasons, to learn about all the plant and animal species in it and see how things change over time. So, I’m going to say that my current favorite place in nature is my backyard. I look out at it every day when I write, and it always makes me happy.
WB: It must be exciting to have your first book published! I see that your next book is expected to be published in the fall. Can you tell us a little about your upcoming book Dot, Stripe, Squiggle?
SGT: Yes, it’s very exciting! And, thank you for asking about my next book as well. Dot, Stripe, Squiggle is a fun board book for very young children that teaches some basic shapes and patterns (I bet you can guess which ones!) using portraits of sea life. Personally, I think Miriam Nerlove’s paintings are stunning. Dot, Stripe, Squiggle will be released this week on August 21st!
THE GIVEAWAY (UPDATE: The Giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to our winner: @finatastics.)
Before you run out and buy this book for yourself, enter the Wike Baby book giveway and see if you can get it for free! Only one lucky person will win, so if you don’t win, I highly recommend you add this to your bookshelf. It will make a great gift for a child or a teacher!
Here’s how to win a prize pack that includes the book Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife with a personalized with a message from the author Sarah Grace Tuttle AND her newest book Dot, Stripe, Squiggle:
Follow Wike Baby on Instagram @WikeBaby, like the post about the book, and comment with the name of someone else who would like the book. Each new comment with a new person tagged is another entry to the contest.
Follow Sarah Grace Tuttle on Twitter @sarahgtuttle and like and retweet her post about this giveaway. This will count for an entry.
The runs from August 20, 2018 at 8 am to August 27, 2018 at 8 am EST. A winner will be picked at random on August 27th, announced in Wike Baby’s Instagram and Facebook stories, and notified through direct message on Instagram or Twitter by August 31st.
If you win, you’ll be asked for personalization details for the book and for your mailing information so you can receive the prize pack!
No purchase necessary. The giveaway will run from August 20, 2018 at 8 am to August 27, 2018 at 8 am EST. You must be a United States resident over the age of 18 to win. This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Instagram or Twitter.
HOW TO ENTER: To enter you can (1) follow Wike Baby on Instagram @WikeBaby, like the post about the book, and comment with the name of someone else who would like the book. Each new comment with a unique person tagged is another entry to the contest. AND/OR you can enter by (2) following Sarah Grace Tuttle on Twitter @sarahgtuttle and liking and retweeting her post about this giveaway. This will count for an entry. As per Twitter rules, multiple retweets do not count for additional entries. No automated or “bot” entries will be accepted on either platform.
WINNER SELECTION/NOTIFICATION: One winner will be selected at random on August 27th, 2018. Winners will be notified by August 31st, via direct message on the platform where the winner entered. Failure to respond within 48 hours may result in disqualification and an alternate winner may be chosen.
PRIZE and ODDS: One winner will receive a “prize pack” which includes a copy of the books Dot, Stripe, Squiggle and Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife personalized by the author. Odds of winning is dependent upon the number of entries.