Beyond Boundaries · Essays and tidbits from Nancy Bo Flood

Celebrating cultural connections, diversity, picture books and poetry

March 24, 2016

With Sylvia Vardell, Janet Wong and librarians Ally Garcia and Marianne Follis, I was part of the “Cultural Connections: Celebrating Diversity with Picture Books and Poetry” presentation at the Public Library Association conference in Denver in April 2016. Sylvia and Janet are poetic wonders I’m proud to team with.

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The Navajo Year by Nancy Bo Flood

Celebrate spring with The Navajo Year

March 22, 2016

The first day of spring previews another notable date for me. The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons debuted April 1, 2006. Happy 10th anniversary to a title I’m proud of.  

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water tap

Colgate takes water conservation message to a new audience

March 17, 2016

Every drop counts. That’s a simple, profound message about water’s future. Colgate should be commended for efforts to educate and inspire. For example, Colgate notes that 1 in 10 people in the world lack access to clean water. That’s half the American population. I want to see more corporations join the conservation effort. Thanks, Colgate!

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Shasta Dam threatens the Middle Water People

March 15, 2016

Raising the height of Shasta Dam means a 13 percent growth in California’s Shasta Lake. This supposed solution to create more freshwater resource for farms and cities will wipe out 40 ancestral sites of the Winnemem Wintu Native American tribe. Trying to irrigate the state’s future threatens a people’s culture and past.

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Dark future looming in Florida’s waters

March 10, 2016

Can you see water pollution on the move? Activist John Heim does. Heim has documented what he calls “the black line of death” moving from Florida’s Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River, then the Atlantic Ocean. Who might be the major culprit for destroying these once-blue pure waters? The answer is not so sweet.

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South Korea honors Lakota veterans

March 3, 2016

Recently, the South Korean government honored 15 Lakota veterans for their service during the Korean War. Each man earned that country’s Ambassador of Peace medal. May their stories of courage and devotion never die.  

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rio sonora

Rio Sonora: A water song of hope and change

March 1, 2016

In 2014, a chemical spill at the Grupo Mexico copper mine created an environmental nightmare. The Rio Sonora became a river of acid. Farming, the dairy industry, wildlife and municipal water supplies suffered. The musical storytelling group Ronstadt Generations mourns what has happened, but offers hope for the future,  honoring all that water was, and…

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cowboy chaps

Rodeo entrants look and feel good in chaps

February 25, 2016

Fringed pants with no seats. Seatless pants?!? What are chaps? This cowboy apparel has real uses beyond stylish looks. Here’s a tribute to chaps, with a definition for “chinks,” the mini-version of chaps.

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What’s that icy rodeo treat called?

February 23, 2016

Shaved ice. Shave ice. Snow cones. No matter what you call it, the treat tastes great on a summer day. At rodeos and elsewhere, the icy wonders are gobbled. Eating flavored ice has a long history, attracting famous, hungry fans.  

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Cowboy hats provide fashion and function

February 18, 2016

Young rodeo entrants might think of a cowboy hat only as a fashion statement. But back in the 1800s, it was used for comfort and protection. Take a look at hats through time.  

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Erosion’s collaborator for nature’s sandstone wonders

February 16, 2016

In 2014, scientists learned that sandstone landmarks like Utah’s Rainbow Bridge may have a simpler explanation than ever imagined. Gravity’s pressure may be the architecture for each sand structure. 

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A rich tradition of women photographing rodeo

February 11, 2016

While writing Cowboy Up! Riding the Navajo Rodeo, I became enthralled by the book’s rodeo photography, all taken by gifted photographer Jan Sonnemair. Because of Jan, I was delighted to see what author and historian Jan Cleere has created about another female rodeo photographer. Cleere’s new work is “Never Don’t Pay Attention” The Life of Rodeo Photographer Louise…

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Rodeo thrives, from south to north!

February 9, 2016

The Navajo nation is just one hotbed of weekly rodeo action during the season. Throughout North America, rodeo remains popular. One epic event happens in in Alberta, Canada: the Calgary Stampede. The Stampede began back in 1912. Here’s a sample of the constant national television coverage provided of the 2015 Stampede, lasting nine days.

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Women in rodeo: a decades-old tradition

February 4, 2016

Don’t think that rodeo just started being a sport for males AND females. Proof comes from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, founded in 1948. News from WPRA events is extra fun, considering that the women competitors want their horses get as much recognition as the humans!

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Sand to Stone and Back Again by Nancy Bo Flood

Discover Tony Kuyper’s unforgettable sandstone portraits

February 2, 2016

In my book Sand to Stone and Back Again, Tony Kuyper captured the amazing photos of nature’s artworks. Tony hasn’t stopped photographing landscapes. Here’s a great retrospective of his other outdoor discoveries.  

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sand bottle

Sand in bottles? Andrew Clemens made mind-boggling art

January 28, 2016

Andrew Clemens, an Iowa deaf mute, knew his sands. He collected colored sands (42 in all) from his own state to arrange into bottles forming pictures.  His few surviving artworks have sold for $25,000 and up. Learn more about the “sand man” and his creations.      

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A Cowboy’s Prayer extends beyond rodeo

January 26, 2016

On page 12 of Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, I share a version of “A Cowboy’s Prayer” I heard shared during the Grand Entry of a Navajo rodeo. The poem might have taken inspiration from Badger Clark. He was named South Dakota Poet Laureate in 1937. However he preferred the nickname “Poet Lariat.” Here…

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Do you remember this water song by The Beatles?

January 21, 2016

In 1966, John Lennon tired of people complaining about the weather. With Paul McCartney, the song Rain was born. See and hear it here, in one of three promotional films the group made for the song.  

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Water led Helen Keller to the world of words

January 19, 2016

Imagine not speaking. Not hearing. However, you still learn your first word. You feel it. That’s the power of water. Visit that famous water pump that introduced a new world to a young girl.

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A whole town made of sandstone?

January 14, 2016

Anyone who ever watched the cartoon The Flintstones knows that everything in the town was made of rock. How about Sandstone, Minnesota? Not quite. However, the town was named after the sandstone quarry at the edge of town back in 1887.

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A candy cane you’ll never be able to eat

January 12, 2016

In Sand to Stone and Back Again, I loved sharing my discovery of candy-cane columns. These striped sandstone creations would have been popular in December! Peek at a festive formation found in Nevada.

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‘The Beast’ moves and changes lives

January 7, 2016

In No-Name Baby, adoption becomes part of the story. In reality, some children face danger before finding new lives in new places. La Bestia, or “The Beast,” is a nickname for trains carrying immigrants to the U.S. border. Imagine riding not in, but atop, a train. Two books stand out. White Rabbits (Groundwood Books) is…

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Water music is enjoyed, above and below

January 5, 2016

Water makes me want to celebrate. It seems I’m not alone. Check out the joyous sights and sounds a floating orchestra discovers from an audience of whales. (Thanks to Linda Boyden for sharing!)

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Grand Canyon

The Navajo know not all rains are created equal

December 31, 2015

In Water Runs Through This Book, I note that the Navajo separate rains into “male” and “female.” Guess which kind of rain brings floods and other problems to places like the Grand Canyon? Sorry, boys!

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