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Spotlight on Science Writers: Dianna Hutts Aston


A select group of authors who have won or been finalists for the AAAS/Subaru SB&FPrize for Excellence in Science Books have been invited to write or record an introduction to one of their books. We have suggested a few guidelines, but the format and content have been chosen by each author and will be appropriate for their book's intended audience. Science NetLinks will include related classroom resources appropriate for students and educators at the end of each Spotlight on Science Writers post. You can read all the posts in this series here.
Dianna Aston on An Egg Is Quiet:

An Egg Is Quiet was the break-out book in my career as a children’s author. It’s about eggs, all kinds of eggs—birds, insects, aquatic animals, reptiles.

I didn’t realize I was writing science books until it won the AAAS/Subaru award for picture books in 2007. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m a science book writer!”

Other recipients and I were onstage when scientist Eric Dinerstein, author of Tigerland and Other Unintended Destinations, which won in the YA category, leaned over and whispered, “Why didn’t you include the platypus?” Gulp. I hung my head and laughed at the same time. Of all egg-laying creatures to leave out, the platypus—only one of two mammals to lay eggs—would likely have been the most interesting.

A Nest Is Noisy debuted this year, a book about all kinds of nests. This one includes the platypus nest.

Dianna Hutts Aston is the author of many award-winning books that librarians and reviewers have referred to as “lyrical science,” including An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy. The series, illustrated by Sylvia Long, continues with A Butterfly Is PatientA Rock Is Lively, and A Nest Is Noisy.

She lives in Port Aransas, Texas.

Along with illustrator Sylvia Long, she won the 2007 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Children's Science Picture Book category for An Egg Is Quiet.


  • Book/Author Resources
    • Listen to Dianna and illustrator Sylvia Long talk about An Egg Is Quiet.
    • You can learn more about Dianna and her books at her website.
    • You can see how Sylvia Long makes her artwork and some of her inspirations on her website.
  • Eggs
    • The Science of Eggs includes facts about eggs, a Guess the Egg Game, the AAAS Egg Activity Sheet, and suggested reading materials.
    • The AAAS Egg Activity Sheet (pdf) includes pictures to color and other activities.
  • Animals That Lay Eggs
    • Animals, from National Geographic Kids, provides a lot of information about a variety of wildlife and habitats. It includes information on many types of animals, including the platypus.
    • Learn All About Birds in this online guide to birds from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
    • provides a great deal of information about the world's most diverse organisms.
    • In this video, learn about the periodical cicada, whose eggs lie under the ground for many years before hatching.
    • Watch an interview with Dr. Michael Raupp, an entomologist, about the 2013 emergence of the Brood ii 17-year periodical cicadas.
    • A Touch of Class is an interactive activity in which students classify various plants and animals, including organisms such as a frog, jellyfish, venus flytrap, bat, human, and seaweed.
    • The Classify It! App is a more advanced game to test your knowledge of how various organisms can be sorted and grouped.


  • An Egg Is Quiet is the Science NetLinks lesson that accompanies this book.
  • Chronicle Books offers a Common Core-aligned teacher's guide (pdf) for this book and the other four books in the Aston-Long series.
  • The 2007–08 Chickadee Award booklet (pdf) lists classroom activities to accompany An Egg Is Quiet and their other prize-winning titles.
  • Reading Rockets shares a think-pair-share strategy video that focuses on An Egg Is Quiet.
  • Your students may find portions of this Cynthia Leitich Smith interview with Dianna interesting.
  • In the Hatching Chickens lesson, children carefully observe and care for eggs and chickens in the classroom.
  • More advanced students may enjoy learning about the scientific process by exploring how a bird can sit on his/her eggs without breaking them in the Big Egg Mystery lesson.
  • Through a series of activities, students will study the life cycle of a butterfly while noting its development as it metamorphoses from a caterpillar to a butterfly.
  • In this lesson, students lay the foundation for understanding extinction by asking the question, Where are the dinosaurs?
  • In the Dinosaurs 2 lesson, students learn more about dinosaurs by comparing them to animals that are alive today.
  • In this lesson, students explore what can be learned from fossils, how they are formed, and the difference between fact and theory.
  • This lesson is the second of a two-part series on how machines help people grow, package, transport, and store food.
  • You'll find even more egg resources in this collection compiled to accompany the White House Easter Egg Roll.
  • This lesson about animal diversity will help students understand the difference between actual physical attributes of animals and fictional ones.
  • In the Investigating Local Ecosystems lesson, students explore the habitats of local plants and animals to learn about how living things depend on one another.


This post originally appeared on Science NetLinks.