Friday, June 10, 2011



Where has mother gone? Mothers don't leave. Mothers stay, forever. Mothers are like redwood trees, those special forever trees that grow hundreds of feet high and live for thousands of years. Mothers read storybooks aloud. They know the power of a story. Power that can even make the wrong-beats of a child's heart go away.

Maybe the monarch butterfly was right? Perhaps they should make the journey. The one that was too long, and too far, for a girl with a wrong-beating heart. Yet there was someone in the redwood forest that Eliza just knew could help. Not just any someone. Another mother. The first mother. The one, Eliza's own mother had spoken of. Great Mother Redwood. The very first, the oldest and wisest redwood tree of them all. She, who started the forest thousands of years ago, might know where mother had gone. It seemed impossible. To find one who had never been seen, one who had only been spoken of? Yet. Mothers dont leave. They are like redwood trees. They stay, forever.

Eliza decided she must try. She would put one foot in front of the other, slowly. She would take small steps. She knew the butterfly would be patient alongside her. Down the path. To the forever trees.

To find Great Mother Redwood.



My ten year old daughter and I often hike through the redwood forest which is just outside our home, here in Northern California. One of our favorite spots in the forest is a magical occurrence called a redwood fairy ring. Mother redwood reproduces by throwing off roots, sprouts, burls from her body. Child-redwoods form a circle around her, they are her, created from her very body. The children are as ancient as the original mother. This ring of trees is said to have a very powerful energy and magic. And I can certainly declare that when Maddie and I sit inside a fairy ring...we definitely can feel it.

With Love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara
San Francisco
June 2011



Albino Redwood Trees

At first sight, you may not quite believe your eyes. From a distance, these trees look like young redwoods flecked with snow or frost. But as you get closer, you realize that the tree itself is white. These white redwood trees are rare albinos, also called ghost trees. One of the biggest, a thirty-foot tree that is one of the easier specimens to find, is called the Christmas Tree. It's also one of the prettiest. Like albino animals, albino redwoods do not have pigmentation, so their needles are white, not green. About fifty albino redwoods are believed to exist. They range from trees that resemble little clumps to ones that are seventy feet tall. There are six albinos in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, in the Redwood Empire on the Northern California coast.

Friday, December 3, 2010

KINDLE EDITION - I'll Follow the Moon!

I'll Follow the Moon has become an ebook! Now available in amazon dot com's kindle store, with free downloadable applications for ipad, iphone, ibook, blackberry, android and more.

New author forward:

One night in 2001, about a month after I brought baby Madeline home from the hospital, I noticed something quite strange on the beach in front of our south Florida home. It was late and Mom was tired, doing a last-one-of-the-day bottle feeding on the deck after a long day of new mom activities. As Maddie slurped down the final ounce of her formula with that familiar glup, glup, glup sound, I noticed dark, tiny shapes scurrying across the sand. What was this? I wondered and went down for a closer look. There they were! Baby turtles streaming out of hundreds of small nests, gentle rises in the sand were their markers. The babies made fanciful patterns in the sand as they dashed on little green legs in a remarkable race to the sea. I watched them hop, one by one, into welcoming waves that sparkled under the beautiful moonlight. "I'm coming Mama..." they seemed to be saying, and I realized that I was witnessing one of nature's sacred events, the love bond between mother and child. It is this precious feeling that inspired me to write I'll Follow the Moon, that came into being a few years later.

With love,
Stephanie Lisa Tara

Monday, February 23, 2009

President Obama, Global Warming, and Snowy White World to Save

Our new wonderful president, a champion to the global warming cause and an advocate to climate change has asked us all to embrace this challenge. Awareness tools are essential to teach, inspire and motivate our children through the coming crucial years of change. Join me in making this challenge come to fruition!
-Stephanie Lisa Tara

President Obama Addresses Climate Change & Energy Independence
Jan 26: In an early morning statement and signing event, President Obama said, "This moment of peril must be turned to one of progress," and signed his first two Presidential Memoranda aimed at defining a path to energy independence. In what he called, "a down payment on a broader and sustained effort to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," he directed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for carmakers' 2011 model year. In his second memo he directed U.S. EPA to review the California waiver request, previously denied by the Bush administration, that would pave the way for California and some 16 other states to raise emissions standards above and beyond the national standard. President Obama said, "Instead of serving as a partner, Washington stood in their way. The days of Washington dragging its heels are over."

In his opening remarks the President said, "These are extraordinary times, and it calls for swift and extraordinary action. At a time of such great challenge for America, no single issue is as fundamental to our future as energy. America's dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced. It bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism. It puts the American people at the mercy of shifting gas prices, stifles innovation, and sets back our ability to compete. These urgent dangers to our national and economic security are compounded by the long-term threat of climate change, which, if left unchecked, could result in violent conflict, terrible storms, shrinking coastlines, and irreversible catastrophe. . .

"Year after year, decade after decade, we've chosen delay over decisive action. Rigid ideology has overruled sound science. Special interests have overshadowed common sense. Rhetoric has not led to the hard work needed to achieve results and our leaders raise their voices each time there's a spike on gas prices, only to grow quiet when the price falls at the pump. Now America has arrived at a crossroads. Embedded in American soil, in the wind and the sun, we have the resources to change. Our scientists, businesses and workers have the capacity to move us forward. It falls on us to choose whether to risk the peril that comes with our current course or to seize the promise of energy independence. And for the sake of our security, our economy and our planet, we must have the courage and commitment to change. . .

"Today I'm announcing the first steps on our journey toward energy independence, as we develop new energy, set new fuel efficiency standards and address greenhouse gas emissions. . . First we must take bold action to create a new American energy economy that creates millions of jobs for our people. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan before Congress places a downpayment on this economy. . . Second, we must ensure that the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow are built right here in the United States of America. . . Third, the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

On the California waiver question the President said, "California has shown bold and bipartisan leadership through its effort to forge 21st-century standards, and over a dozen states have followed its lead. But instead of serving as a partner, Washington stood in their way. This refusal to lead risks the creation of a confusing and patchwork set of standards that hurts the environment and the auto industry. . . And that's why I'm directing the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately review the denial of the California waiver request and determine the best way forward. This will help us create incentives to develop new energy that will make us less dependent on the oil that endangers our security, our economy and our planet."

On global climate change, he said, "Finally, we will make it clear to the world that America is ready to lead. To protect our climate and our collective security, we must call together a truly global coalition. I've made it clear that we will act, but so too must the world. That's how we will deny leverage to dictators and dollars to terrorists, and that's how we will ensure that nations like China and India are doing their part, just as we are now willing to do ours. It is time for America to lead because this moment of peril must be turned into one of progress. . . We will not be put off from action because action is hard. Now is the time to make the tough choices. Now is the time to meet the challenge at this crossroad of history by choosing a future that is safer for our country, prosperous for our planet, and sustainable. . ."

Lisa Jackson, the new EPA Administrator also signaled possible actions related to the California waiver in her memo to EPA staff on Friday (January 23) [See WIMS 1/23/09] when she said, "EPA must follow the rule of law. The President recognizes that respect for Congressional mandates and judicial decisions is the hallmark of a principled regulatory agency. Under our environmental laws, EPA has room to exercise discretion, and Congress has often looked to EPA to fill in the details of general policies. However, EPA needs to exercise policy discretion in good faith and in keeping with the directives of Congress and the courts. When Congress has been explicit, EPA cannot misinterpret or ignore the language Congress has used. When a court has determined EPA’s responsibilities under our governing statutes, EPA cannot turn a blind eye to the court’s decision or procrastinate in complying."

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee immediately announced that she would hold a press conference at approximately 6 PM today (January 26) to discuss President Obama's announcement asking EPA to review the Bush Administration's denial of California's request for a Clean Air Act waiver to address global warming emissions from motor vehicles. She said, "When it is granted, the waiver will allow California and 18 other states - representing more than half the U.S. population - to regulate tailpipe emissions of global warming pollution from motor vehicles."

Access a White House posting on the President's announcement (click here). Access the complete transcript of the opening address (click here). Access links to a video of the speech (click here). Access links to the Presidential Memos which should be posted soon (click here). Access a statement from Senator Boxer (click here). Access various WIMS-eNewsUSA blog posts on the California waiver issue (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]

Friday, March 28, 2008


Author Interview with Stephanie Lisa Tara

by Stephanie Lisa Tara
Global warming is melting the arctic. Once the arctic sea ice has vanished, the majestic polar bear will vanish too. Snowy White World to Save, by Stephanie Lisa Tara, is a lyrical tale told in gentle verse, which traces a mother bear's struggle to raise her cubs in a melting world. The book received the U.S. Book News/Best Educational Children's Book 2007 Award.

1. How did you decide to illustrate the problem of global warning using polar bears in Snowy White World to Save?

I decided on a direct yet gentle approach to inform honestly and respectfully, the metaphor of mother and children comes naturally to me as a mom. As such, I am ever amazed at my daughter's uncanny awareness, children are such smart little sparkly beings. My experience has been that addressing things in truth seems to work in earning their respect. As an author, I like to (write) speak to children on their level and inside a most loving space. I decided to use short lyrical phrasing - 2 poetic beats per line, this gentle cadence and meter softly intuits a quiet truthfulness that seems to resonate on several emotional levels -- " faraway dots are seals on the ice/Mother pounces, once, twice//Mother and cubs run far away, Mothers fierce pride/hot on this day. "

2. Ice caps are melting and glaciers are disappearing. Do you think young children understand what is happening to the Polar Bear's “Snowy White World?” How do you think young readers will react to the polar bear's plight?

I've done many public readings. The amazing response the children have is one of immediate attention, concern and empowerment + hope....traits not always readily forthcoming in adults. Instead of the kids being scared or depressed, I have been overwhelmed by their sheer "let's all fix it" attitude. In large to small reading groups - they all raise their hands and are excited at the prospect of ‘many small hands together can make a big change'. They call out new ideas to 'lessen the gases' and use smaller amounts of electricity. I have found a serious joyfulness in wanting to help the bears, and be creative in working together and with adults. It's magnificent.

3. The beautiful verses add to the story and compliment the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Alex Walton. Did you work together with the illustrator to make the story come alive? Do you write all your books in rhyming verse style? Are you also a poet?

Alex and I spoke at various times through out the process, but I must say - the beautiful thing about working with someone who understands how I think is that their artistic expression is symbiotic to mine. That is the magic that manifests with Alex Walton, he read my words and then made them sing without anything more from me than an occasional chat about how we feel about our book. Yes - I use poetic verse to lull, soothe, entertain my little listeners, its a bit of a nod back to an older time when parents and children would spend long hours together reading by firelight. Poetry has a magical ability to be both memorable and pleasing to the ear. I've said that children's verse sticks like taffy to one's thoughts...think back to children's verse you love, it's still stuck in your head, isn't it?

4. The issues of climate change, global warming, disappearing habitats and dwindling food supplies is a big, serious topic for young children. The "birds-eye" view from above of the polar bears on their quest for food is amazing. The search for food ends at a garbage dump. What do you think a young child will take away from the story in regard to this theme?

Children that hear this story have expressed remarkable things, as I've lightly touched upon. They show concern, and a desire to make a change. I have had the occasion where a child has asked: "Why did adults let this happen?" -- a very candid and brilliant question. I love this. It shows deep thinking and awareness. My answers are all mindfully hopeful. People err, people make mistakes. But because we are human we also have the ability to correct our mistakes. This is the truth and it makes sense to kids. Kids are always full of hope. They all want to do all the things we list at the back of the book, and they come up with new ideas to save energy. One little boy said we should create a "polar bear zoo" somewhere in the world - keep it cold and like Noah's Ark - bring all the polar bears of the earth there to live and be saved. Not a dry eye at that library reading! I take away from this comment an overwhelming exuberant feeling, children just never stop believing and hoping and wishing. It's beautiful.

5. The last page of the book gives a hopeful message and some good ideas how everyone can start to fight global warming. What additional ideas would you pass on to families to save the Polar Bears “Snowy White World” -- and their own?

Great folks like you really encapsulate it all, working together to make a change in the world. Kids do care - they know they will inherit the earth. Mother Nature loves her children and I do believe we can reverse the damage. There are many other wonderful people that have written books. lAl Gore recently published a kids' version of Inconvenient Truth . Lori David's Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming is another good book. I simplified what small kids can do, but the list is very long and topping it is learning, awareness, and knowledge. So many good folks -- famous people like Sharon Stone, the actress/activist, have gotten behind this cause along with the United Nations. Getting involved, reading, joining groups like Kids Care Clubs and other organizations such as the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) or Climate Crisis will keep you informed about new ways to continue to make a difference.

6. Living in Northern California- land of the tall redwoods and lots of natural wonders, have you encountered other wild animals who share the same plight as the Polar Bears -- their homes and food sources at risk due to climate change? If so, tell us about them.

Oh yes, global warming will heat and evaporate the oceans. Therefore "fog" which rolls off the ocean to feed/nourish/moisturize the redwood forest will greatly suffer, starving the trees. A terrific organization, Save the Redwoods, published an article last year that covers this question quite thoroughly. Fog is the blood of the redwood forest - supplying almost half their water-nourishment. I am presently at work with Alex Walton on a new book about Charlie and the great redwood forest which looks at the redwood forest ecosystem. No exact publish date, but we examine the creatures of the majestic redwoods, and the forest's longevity. Banana slugs, chipmunks, owls, foxes, squirrels, deer are some of the inhabitants. All the creatures of the forest that depend on the trees will suffer if the trees suffer. Mother Nature makes it very simple, everything depends on the prosperity and fruitfulness of everything else. I wonder if humans believe in this philosophy!

7. What special things do you and families in Mill Valley do to fight global warming in your community?

As a town, I'm proud to say that Mill Valley echoes the general San Francisco social awareness vibe, and is a uniquely compassionate group of caring folks who embrace loving politics and consider Mother Nature at the top of their importance lists. We are a very spiritual bunch of people. Most of us care deeply about working together to change the world. Specifically, there are a lot of carpools. We try to use less electricity, take showers not baths, and we especially focus on living harmoniously in nature with our children. It's a learning tool which fosters a love of nature and thereby a desire in children to want to preserve and save it. We take lots of nature hikes all over northern California -- Muir woods and the high Sierra Nevada mountains in nearby Lake Tahoe . We tidepool at Stinson beach. We try to watch as many sunsets as we can. We call nature our playground, and the sun our friend. I want to move into an entirely green house with solar panels and other accoutrements -- perhaps some day!

8. Are you planning to write more books on this subject?

Books that spread social awareness are just the greatest tools and gifts that we give our children. After the success of Snowy White World To Save, I had briefly thought about the plight of the Antarctic penguins - at the other pole, but a couple of wonderful books have already come out that describe this story.

My first book, I'll Follow The Moon, spotlighted the tenuous journey of the endangered green sea turtle, which I am proud to declare - has finally been protected by some federal laws from fisherman, thanks to such wonderful groups like the NRDC. I'll Follow The Moon describes the inimitable sand-to-sea journey of baby sea turtles, traveling home to the sea by the light of the flickering moon. I played upon the metaphor of "mommy" with the maternal draw of the moon to illustrate this phenomenon in nature, which seemed to resonate with moms out there as we were awarded the "Mom's Choice Award" as well as Canada 's prestigious "Chocolate Lily Award".

My book calendar at present includes the redwood forest book as seen through the eyes of chipmunks who illuminate the mysteries of these majestic trees, and another book in the works, called tentatively, 'Bat Song' - illustrates echolocation in bats, a very misunderstood species. So I'd say keep on the lookout for chipmunks and bats!

FamilyCares and Kids Care Clubs thank Stephanie Lisa Tara for her efforts to help children understand environmental problems and providing ideas on how they can help. Check out the suggestions and resources at the end of her book.

We look forward to her next book, whether it is about chipmunks or bats!

© 2008 FamilyCares. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

CHILDSAKE (a referral site for children's books on nature & environment) honors Snowy White World to Save

Striving to make this world a better home for the future of all children....CHILDSAKE inspires and educates children about the natural world and the environment.

"Let a man once begin to think about the mystery of his life and the links which connect him with the life that fills the world, and he cannot but bring to bear upon his own life and all other life that comes within his reach the principle of reverence for life ..."

"Reverence for Life" by Albert Schweitzer


Environmental Themes : Global Warming
Animals : Mammals

This large format picture book with beautiful watercolor illustrations offers young children a glimpse at the Arctic world of the polar bear and the impact of global warming. The short verses vividly depict how a mother bear with her two cubs thrive in this pristine, icy world and hunt for food; but as the ice floes melt, they are forced to seek food from piles of garbage. The book concludes with an upbeat note that kids can take action to save this "snowy white world" of the polar bear, listing a number of simple everyday actions to help stop global warming as well as websites to learn more about this important issue.

To learn more about global warming and polar bears visit:
Polar Bear SOS
NRDC's website on Global Warming
World Wildlife Fund's Polar Bear Tracker, and
BioGems website Polar Bears on Thin Ice to find a Kid's Polar Action Guide.

Grades: Preschool to 2nd

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Holidays! And, Armchair Interviews on Snowy White World to Save...

Reviewed by Diane Snyder

"Snowy White World to Save addresses the issue of global warming and the affects on one bear family as their world of ice and snow begins to melt.

In a simple rhyme, the story of a typical day in the polar bear family’s life is told but the beauty of their world disappears as the ice melts and food is no longer available. The bears are forced to seek out garbage dumps for things to eat.

This is a beautifully illustrated 10×13 inch book in cool whites, grays and blue colors that projects the pristine world of the Arctic animals. However, the plight of the bear and her cubs are illustrated in a sad and jarring contrast of browns and reds as they forage for food in the human settlement.

If you are a responsible parent interested in the environment, ecology and the future of the earth and if you are trying to instill that interest and responsibility in your children, this is a book that will help. There is a section in the book that gives children a list of the things they can do to help keep our planet healthy and some web site sources for the adults to explore. What a wonderful and gentle way to introduce to our children their responsibility to the earth and its environment.

Stephanie Lisa Tara has garnered literary praise for her previous children’s books, and I feel certain Snowy White World to Save will also receive the attention it deserves.

Armchair Interviews says: A children’s introduction to global warming.

Author’s Web site:

From our armchair to yours..."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Manhattan greetings! Event success!

What a wonderful time we are having in New York City, what an honor to meet all these wonderful authors - and most especially - Peter Glassman (owner of Books of Wonder)...what a fantastic person, dedicated and amazing! Pure joy....