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The Wonder of Words: Adventures with Author BETH FERRY


I was so blessed to add Beth Ferry to my life at the Shenandoah University Children's Literature conference last summer. At lunch, I was captivated by her sunny personality, her fierce love of language, and her ability to create picture books that really resonate with the elementary and early childhood crowd. I have used Beth's books when building STEAM connections with students and teachers alike -- and I am so happy that she agreed to join us for this conversation. This podcast episode explores Beth Ferry's love for words and the impact of her picture books on empathy, friendship, and environmental awareness.


00:43: Guest Introduction

Dr. Diane welcomes Beth Ferry, an acclaimed author known for books like Stick and Stone, Christmassy Cactus, and the upcoming Solar Bear

00:46: The Power of Words

  • Beth shares her favorite words, "anticipation" and "vehement," and discusses the joy of mastering and using impactful words.

  • Dr. Diane emphasizes the importance of vocabulary enrichment and recalls childhood experiences with words like loquacious (Thank you , Mrs. Ledbetter).

  • Beth reflects on the magic of words when used effectively in writing.

07:11: Journey to Becoming an Author

Beth discusses her love for reading, her journey from being an English major to becoming an author, discovering picture books

with her children, and her decision to pursue writing. 10:25: Writing Process and Stick and Stone

  • Beth's writing process, including setting word limits

  • Evolution of Stick and Stone and the joy of seeing it resonate with children.

12:36: Using Books in Professional Development

  • Dr. Diane shares an innovative professional development activity using Beth's book, Swashby and the Sea

  • Connecting books with important themes in teaching


14:35: Inspiring Teachers

  • Surprising ways teachers use Beth's books in the classroom.

18:11: New Books: Christmassy Cactus

  • Inspiration behind Christmassy Cactus, an unusual holiday story about belief, anticipation, and taking action.

21:51: Solar Bear and Environmental Activism

  • Solar Bear shines a light on environmental issues and the importance of inspiring awareness and action.

  • Dr. Diane and Beth delve into the challenge of addressing environmental issues in picture books and the role of literature in initiating conversations with young readers.

  • Beth emphasizes the significance of picture books in gently introducing important topics and sparking discussions.

25:43: Challenges in Education

  • Dr. Diane and Beth touch upon challenges in education, including time constraints for reading aloud in the classroom.

29:07: Current Projects


30:54 Finding Joy and Hope






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