A select group of authors who have won or been finalists for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize 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.
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.