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Judith Jango-Cohen

Nonfiction Author and Photographer

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school visit

After 8 Years . . . a Reader’s Promise


Mateo as a second grader

After a school program, an excited second grader named Mateo came up to me and asked, “Have you written any books about conquistadors?”

I hadn’t, I told him. Then I suggested,
“If you are interested, you could do some research and write about them yourself.”

Eight years later, Mateo e-mailed to tell me that he had done just that.

Intrigued by Mateo and his writing project, I had a conversation with him.
Here are some snippets:

1. After eight years, what propelled you to begin researching and writing about conquistadors?

During Quarantine I had a lot of time to reflect, and so I made a list of things to accomplish. I had made a promise to begin this project, and I always keep my promises.

2. What did you enjoy most about this work?

When I was a kid I always wanted to learn more about the conquistadors, so accomplishing this long time goal of mine was a grand reward in the sense of making “childhood me” happy.

3. Is there anything about conquistadors that especially surprised you?

I think the thing that really surprised me was the exceeding amount of mutiny and betrayal found among them.

4. What aroused your curiosity about conquistadors?

I really think that my curiosity was originally sparked by Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated (my favorite show at the time). The show’s main mystery was the disappearance of the conquistadors, the founders of their town Crystal Cove. Back then, I really couldn’t tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Fact and Fiction:
Real-life animals who inspired monster myths

5. You told me that Real-Life Sea Monsters changed your feelings about reading. How so?

Before your book I hated reading. But your book changed my view. The incredible artwork grabbed my attention. And when you turned fiction to fact that really amazed me and made me enjoy reading more and more every day. It showed me something that I had not previously seen. Now I realize how much we can truly learn from books.

Mrs. Tigges, Mateo’s second grade teacher:
“I am so proud of Mateo.
It is a teacher’s dream to build a lifelong desire to learn.”

6. What are your favorite types of books?

I love history, fiction, science fiction, biographies, mysteries, adventure, monster horror, dystopian, survival, and science.

This is Mateo today.
He enjoys inventing–coming up with mechanical, logical and/or technical solutions–and is working on an A.I. assistant project.
Mateo’s parents: Florencia and Daniel,
to whom Mateo has requested that I dedicate this post.

Thank you for reaching out to me, Mateo.
We often do not know what influence our books have.
You are an inspiring person!

Meeting students, parents, and teachers is one of the best parts of my job!
I am looking forward to meeting many of you virtually this year, during school visits!

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Program/author visit video:
SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Photography website:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_223.jpeg

Silent Spring?


Marsh Wren in Cattails, Cistothorus palustris
Marsh Wren in Cattails, Cistothorus palustris

In this “silent spring” 

the birds still sing.

 

Red-winged Blackbird Singing, Agelaius phoeniceus
Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus

 

I miss being in the classroom with you.
But I am looking ahead to our gathering together 
to celebrate reading and writing!

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Program/author visit video:
SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Photography website:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_223.jpeg

GATOR AID


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_216.jpg

Alligators may be scaly,
but they’re warm and fuzzy mothers.

One lucky day in the Everglades, my husband and I discovered a mother alligator with two hatchlings. One baby was snoozing on her snout. The other was napping nearby on a log. Before you could say, Alligator mississippiensis, excited hikers crowded around, oooohing, ahhhhing, and clicking countless photos.

Alligator Babies
Hatchling alligators are about a foot long and are camouflaged with yellow stripes.

Her peaceful outing foiled, the mother–with baby aboard–drifted into the brush. But she didn’t forget her other hatchling.
Nudging the floating log with her nose,  she pushed it away like a stroller!

American Alligator Baby, Alligator mississippiensis
American Alligator Baby, Alligator mississippiensis

Although alligators have a ferocious reputation, they are attentive mothers.
They guard their nest for three months and protect their young for up to three years.
Fish, birds,
mammals, and even large alligators, enjoy snacking on eggs and hatchlings. 

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_220.jpg
Two hatchlings of different ages bask in the sawgrass.

Despite their mother’s devotion, only about one in ten alligator hatchlings will survive to adulthood.

Alligator Jaw-Hi-Sharpened.jpg
Alligator ‘s have more than 70 teeth. When one breaks, another grows it’s place!

For further exploration of crocodilians . . .

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_222.jpg  Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_221.jpg

I look forward to meeting some of you in the classroom.
Keep reading and writing!

AUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Program/author visit video:
SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Photography website:
http://www.agpix.com/cohen

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_223.jpeg

 

 

 

Science Snippet: Silver Swords and Fairy Slippers


If you had a silver sword and a fairy slipper, what would you do with them? They sound like magical objects in a fairy tale. But you could plant them in your garden . . . because they are both flowers.

Indian blanket, Indian Blanketflower, Sundance, Firewheel, Gaill
Firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella

Six of these “look-alike” plants are pictured below. After studying their shapes and colors, try to guess their names. Then click on the photos for the answers–and for information about these interesting plants.

NAMES

Shrimp Plant   Rattlesnake Grass

Silver Sword   Bleeding Heart

Paintbrush   Fairy Slipper

Bleeding-heart, Bleeding Heart, Venus's car, Lady in a bath, Dut

Big Quaking Grass, Great Quaking Grass, Large Quaking Grass, Qua

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid, Venus's slipper, Calypso bulbosa

Haleakala silversword Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_110

Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata

Here are two other fun activities:

1. Chose one or two of the plants above and write a fairy tale about magical “look-alikes.”
2. Make up your own “look-alike” flower. Draw it and name it. Then tell where it lives and give three interesting facts about it.

To see more exquisite flowers you can visit  my husband’s and my photography website at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

View my program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

Read or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

Student Nonfiction Websites


Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_105

Here’s an innovative way to delve into nonfiction writing. Have your students create their own websites. After my visit to a third grade class, the inventive teacher, Mrs. Braham did just that.

Her students drew on their own experiences, choosing topics from sewing to soccer to computers to cats. Then, with the technical support of their media specialist, Mr. Pirollo, the children got going on their websites. Their results are showcased on http://weebly.com .

I was amazed at the great work of Mrs. Braham’s  students! They honed their nonfiction writing techniques, exercised their creativity, and as Mrs. Braham says, learned how to integrate technology into the curriculum.

Congratulations, children! Thank you for sharing your work! Below is a brief note for each of you. Hope you have lots of reading and writing time this summer.

Zachary: Thank you for teaching me about Chromebooks. 
Vincent: Hope you and your Dad have fun wrestling this summer.
Katie: I love your video about the homeless dog who was rescued.
Maeve: Excellent advice about not overfeeding and not tapping the fish tank–common mistakes.

Alligator Gar
Alligator Gar

Nadia: Great job: narrative opening, lots of cat information, fun captions, and adorable videos.
Caroline: Hope you and your “gaga” have fun “sewing with compassion” this summer.
Richard: What an exciting opening to your homepage. I see you’re a soccer whiz.
Lauren: I loved the section about emotions and the picture of the retrievers hugging.

Canoeing with Pet Dog
Canoeing with Pet Dog

Maeve: Great simile for explaining how to hold the violin bow. Have fun practicing this summer.
Joseph: Thanks for teaching me about all those wrestling moves. But I will take your advice and not try them at home.
Jonathan: I’m glad you didn’t give up after your first year playing basketball. Keep having fun.
Elizabeth: Great job with the Do’s and Don’ts of cat care.
Ismael: Now I know why dogs sniff so much. Have fun with your two pups this summer.
Hayden: You created an interesting introduction, with your narrative and steam train video.

Jupiter Locomotive, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory Summit, Utah
Jupiter Locomotive, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Promontory Summit, Utah


Rebecca: I loved your photos of the snow monkeys hugging and the baby eating the banana. 
Hawa: Wow! After reading about hero dogs I was “blown away.”
Morgan: I hope you keep “doing your best” practicing gymnastics and writing stories.
Paul: That was a hilarious video of the black lab chasing the bubbles.
Vanessa: Excellent job explaining about gymnastic clothing and equipment. 
Christopher: Great simile–comparing the wrestler, Triple H, to a bulldozer.

Thanks again, children and Mrs. Braham. Maybe one day I will be reading your books!

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_14

You can view my school program/author visit video at:

SCHOOL PROGRAM / AUTHOR VISIT VIDEO

Author_visit_program_school_Mass_nonfiction_100

View or download my school program/author visit brochure at:

Hiker in Borrego Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, BoAUTHOR PROGRAMS/VISITS BROCHURE

See my husband’s and my photography at: http://www.agpix.com/cohen

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Mindy’s Writing Wonderland

For authors, parents, teachers & everyone who loves children’s books.

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

Marie Lamba, author

Some thoughts from author and agent Marie Lamba

Mrs. Jennifer Cimini, M.Ed.

Positively passionate 4th grade teacher, mom, being myself and helping others!

Sam Kane's Corner

Educating for an interconnected world one story at a time

NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

A service of New England SCBWI. All opinions expressed belong to the individual bloggers and commenters who are solely responsible for their content.

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