Photo Credit: Steve Jenkins.
Robin Page on A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl:
My interest in doing a book about chickens began when a friend sent me pictures and drawings of her new chicks. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina with chickens (and many other farm animals), and I remembered being entertained by the way these birds act. And I’ve always admired the way they look.
Initially, I used a simple question and answer format for the book — it was a way to include a lot of interesting facts about chickens. I presented a few spreads and a rough draft to my editor, Andrea Welch, at Simon and Schuster. It was after she suggested that perhaps it needed “more of a shape? More of a narrative backbone?” that the solution presented itself.
I recalled a time when my husband (and frequent co-author) Steve Jenkins saw a neighbor walking up the sidewalk with her Plymouth Rock chicken following close behind, like a well-trained dog. This particular chicken had a habit of showing up at other people’s houses, and a neighbor was leading her back home. I began reworking the book, starting with the phrase "A Chicken Followed Me Home."
As always, it is important to have editors and other people to bounce ideas off of — one little statement or question can make all the difference.
Robin Page grew up on a farm in Caswell County, North Carolina, with dogs, cats, chickens, cows, pigs, and a horse. She currenly lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and frequent collaborator, Steve Jenkins. Together, they've written 16 books, including the Caledcott Honor Book What Do You Do with a Tail like This?, Move!, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, and Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World, which won the 2009 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books for the Best Science Picture Book.
Her book, A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl, was the winner of the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books in the Picture Book category.
- Visit Robin's website to read about the books she's written and illustrated, find out more about her, look at pictures from her books, and learn about how she makes a book.
- Read a Spotlight on Science Writers post from 2015 about Sisters and Brokers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World, Robin's award-winning book with her husband Steve Jenkins.
- American School of Dubai students recorded a video interview with Robin and Steve, who were visiting the school as part of their Visiting Authors program.
- If the information about chickens in Robin's book makes you think you might like to raise them, read this Spotlight on Science Writers post with Melissa Caughey, author of A Kid's Guide to Keeping Chickens.
- You might also enjoy this Spotlight on Science Writers post from Dianna Hutts Aston, author of An Egg Is Quiet, about different types of eggs, including those laid by chickens.
- At BackYard Chickens you can learn about breeds, read articles and reviews, and ask users poultry-related questions in the forum.
- My Pet Chicken is another site where you can ask experts questions, learn more about what's needed to raise a flock of chickens at home, and find useful products.
- Kindergarten students at Sargent Park School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, hatched chicken eggs in their classroom and then recorded a video to show what they learned. You can watch it here.
- A 4th-grader recorded this video, A Child's Guide to Keeping Chickens. She talks about how to care for chickens, from raising them as pets to caring for their eggs to using them for meat.
- If you want to see what's happening inside the egg between when it's laid and when the chick emerges, this video shows you.
- Science NetLinks has written a lesson for grades K-2 to accompany this book, A Chicken Followed Me Home.
- Follow that up with Hatching Chickens, which helps students understand the importance of carefully observing and caring for eggs and chickens in the classroom.
- In the Big Egg Mystery lesson (3-5), students will learn about the scientific process by exploring how a bird can sit on his/her eggs without breaking them.
- Urban students may not always be aware that the food they buy in the grocery store originally came from a farm. Crops 1: Where Does Food Come From? helps with that.
- If your students are interested in other aspects of farming, the two-part lesson series Farming 1: Farm Machines and Farming 2: Packaging and Transport explores how machines help people grow, package, transport, and store food.
- In An Egg Is Quiet, students learn about eggs and observe and describe changes in a variety of simple activities involving eggs.
- Science NetLinks has also created a lesson to accompany Robin and Steve's book, Sisters & Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World.
- You can find Robin and Steve's design office here. It includes their books together, as well as design work they've done for clients.