Beyond Boundaries · Essays and tidbits from Nancy Bo Flood

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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No more thirsty lawns! Xeriscaping is the answer.

December 29, 2015

Not all plants are greedy water gobblers. Xeriscaping is the art of planting only drought resistant, low-water-use plants, which can cut water consumption by 60 percent. Here’s an introduction to the art of “dry” landscaping:

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Rodeo excellence begins with the right lariat

December 24, 2015

In Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, entrants may get to know their favorite lariat almost as well as their horses. Is a rope just a rope? Not in rodeo!

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Young rodeo competitors seek a trophy they can wear

December 22, 2015

In Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, young entrants learn that champions are rewarded with decorative belt buckles. In the early days of rodeo, many contestants were former boxers. If a boxer could win a belt, why not award a rodeo winner with a buckle?

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Coconuts sustain Warriors in the Crossfire

December 17, 2015

Find a coconut, find hope. That’s how Joseph and Kento respond to stockpiled coconuts, all while worrying about food and freedom. Modern cooks might deal with the coconut differently, turning their kitchens into workshops.

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Ghost crab materializes in Warriors in the Crossfire

December 15, 2015

Joseph and Kento find their island of Saipan becoming a World War II battleground in Warriors in the Crossfire. As they hide on the beach, a ghost crab is one of the first surprises they encounter. The ghost crab stays hidden most days. When it emerges, the crab’s look and behavior make it one memorable…

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Italian marble links past and present in No-Name Baby

December 10, 2015

Sophie’s grandfather’s World War I death was marked with a small headstone of Italian marble “from our homeland,” said her Nonna. The famous marble has a history dating back centuries.

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No-Name Baby highlights olive oil’s magic

December 8, 2015

In No-Name Baby, Nonna and Aunt Rae treat a bottle of olive oil like a magic potion. The family baptized their new baby with the prized oil sent by a relative in Italy. These days, people still use olive oil for a lot more than salad dressing!

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Will water bring an unhappy ending to the story of Shishmaref, Alaska?

December 5, 2015

Climate change. Climate disruption. Coastal erosion. What does it all mean? To the people of Shishmaref, Alaska, it means EVERYTHING.

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Brownstone staircase

Marveling at the mystery of sandstone

December 3, 2015

“From one grain of sand, I became a mountain.” Those words are part of my tribute to sandstone in Sand to Stone and Back Again. Beginning in the late 1800s, New York City began forming the same way a mountain range would, using a sandstone variety known as “brownstone.”

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Meet the Monument Valley ‘mittens’

December 1, 2015

Between the borders of Arizona and Utah, two wind-carved sculptures look like giant, matching mittens. The pair provided inspiration for Sand to Stone and Back Again. In fact, these buttes have been movie stars!

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An author’s thankful Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015

I’m thankful to teachers, librarians, booksellers, fellow authors and (most of all) readers on this day we give thanks. May you feast on good books throughout this festive time. Enjoy your holiday!

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Esther Williams

Remembering Esther ‘Million Dollar Mermaid’ Williams

November 24, 2015

She made generations dream of being in the water. Esther Williams was ready to compete in the 1940 Olympics, only to see World War II cancel her dream. Hollywood helped her create a new dream, as she swam in more than two dozen movies. When someone says “synchronized swimming,” many people still think of Williams’…

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hand on ceiling

Cave paintings inspire in Sand to Stone and Back Again

November 19, 2015

In my canyons they built their homes, Painted pictures, carved messages, and left handprints. (from Sand to Stone and Back Again, page 6) Who were the cave painters. All men? Many believe otherwise.

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Lori Piestewa

The hero who inspired my newest novel

November 17, 2015

I’m excited to share the first news about my novel coming from Charlesbridge in the spring of 2016. Lori Piestewa, a member of the Hopi tribe, died while serving in Operation Desert Storm. She was one of many inspirations for my story. Here’s a tribute to Lori from the U.S. Army entitled “The Story of…

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Pro Rodeo

A Hall of Fame for Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo riders?

November 12, 2015

Since the rodeo season wound down in September, young riders will have a winter to dream of 2016 competitions. Or, they could imagine themselves as future members of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, a Colorado landmark since 1979.

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Irving Berlin Stamp

No-Name Baby features big-name song

November 10, 2015

When is a song something more? Sometimes, music can unlock memories. Main character Sophie discovers Alexander’s Ragtime Band is a link to the past for Aunt Rae. Writer Irving Berlin earned his first hit with the song in 1911. Berlin, like the family in No-Name Baby, had roots in another country. He emigrated from Russia…

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Rain’s surprise role in water pollution

November 5, 2015

When rain falls on concrete, asphalt, tilled fields or barren soil, it is immediately recycled as surface water; there is no time for cleaning. Currently, the biggest contributor to pollution in the United States is run-off water carrying herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers from yards and fields.

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Cowboy Up! by Nancy Bo Flood

Pleased to meet you, Farmington

November 3, 2015

The public library of Farmington, New Mexico has deemed me their “star author” for Nov. 2-3. A library presentation for parents and teachers, followed by workshops at McCormick Elementary and Ojo Amarillo School, are filling my days with delight.

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