Shala K. Howell

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Shala Howell spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now she turns her attention to a much more complex problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. Her blog on fostering curiosity in children, Caterpickles, has had hundreds of thousands of visitors over the past five years. The first book in her Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. Her next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly ...more

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Shala K. Howell It's fair to say that this was not the book I expected to write first. But five years of pausing to look public art with my daughter whenever we've…moreIt's fair to say that this was not the book I expected to write first. But five years of pausing to look public art with my daughter whenever we've stumbled across it has taught me that public art is a fantastic parenting tool. Especially for parents who want to nurture their child's interest in art, but whose kids may not be ready for long hours in an art museum. My daughter is constantly creating art and much of it is clearly inspired by works we've seen walking around our neighborhoods over the years.

Public art is a wonderful way for parents to get their kids outside and interested in their local community. It was invaluable for me in Chicago, for example, where we lived in a condo & I didn't have access to a backyard. Visiting the art in Chicago's parks and along its Riverwalk gave us an excuse to linger outdoors. Public art is also often inspired by local history, so was a great way to peak my daughter's curiosity about and increase her connection to her new hometown.

Using public art to introduce art to your children fits neatly into nearly any parenting schedule. Each encounter with art can be as brief or as extended as your time permits on that particular day. Even better, the only planning really needed is a willingness to stop and take a look. I tried to reflect this fundamental approachability in my book by structuring it as a series of tips that parents can read as needed, rather than as a long-form parenting reference text. (less)
Average rating: 4.75 · 4 ratings · 0 reviews · 1 distinct work
What's That, Mom?: How to U...

4.75 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2017
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My daughter didn’t have any new questions about Santa this year (sniff, sniff… she’s growing up!), but in case you feel like a little holiday reading, here are a few of our favorite holiday posts.



“What’s a sugar plum and why does it get its own fairy?” 
Caterpickles thinks too much about Christmas carols: “How do you troll an ancient Yuletide carol?
Caterpickles thinks too much abo... Read more of this blog post »
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Published on December 25, 2018 05:43

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The Confessions o...
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by Margaret George (Goodreads Author)
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The Glass Magician
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Odin's Ravens
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Shala Howell is currently reading
The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George
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Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin  Walker
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Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
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I gobbled this trilogy up one after another very quickly. Characters are compelling, the plot relentless, the moral quandaries interesting, the debates over them push the story forward, instead of bogging it down. I'm looking forward to reading more ...more
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A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
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I gobbled this trilogy up one after another very quickly. Characters are compelling, the plot relentless, the moral quandaries interesting, the debates over them push the story forward instead of bogging it down. I'm looking forward to reading more f ...more
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Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
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I gobbled this trilogy up one after another very quickly. Characters are compelling, the plot relentless, the moral quandaries interesting. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.
Shala Howell finished reading
A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard
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Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard
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The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
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I really enjoyed this story. Love the idea of origami coming to life. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
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Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
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This reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, but set in LA and with a necromancer as the lead. The nature of Eric Carter's magic made the storyline a great deal darker than your average Dresden novel. But the overall storyline -- extremely powerful m ...more
Shala Howell rated a book liked it
Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
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This reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, but set in LA and with a necromancer as the lead. The nature of Eric Carter's magic made the storyline a great deal darker than your average Dresden novel. But the overall storyline -- extremely powerful m ...more
More of Shala's books…
Kathryn Stockett
“This woman talk like she from so deep in the country she got corn growing in her shoes.”
Kathryn Stockett, The Help

Josephine Tey
“The trouble with you, dear, is that you think an angel of the Lord as a creature with wings, whereas he is probably a scruffy little man with a bowler hat.”
Josephine Tey, The Franchise Affair

Ira Glass
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Ira Glass

Robert Jackson Bennett
“And Olvos said to them: “Why have you done this, my children? Why is the sky wreathed with smoke? Why have you made war in far places, and shed blood in strange lands?” And they said to Her: “You blessed us as Your people, and we rejoiced, and were happy. But we found those who were not Your people, and they would not become Your people, and they were willful and ignorant of You. They would not open their ears to Your songs, or lay Your words upon their tongues. So we dashed them upon the rocks and threw down their houses and shed their blood and scattered them to the winds, and we were right to do so. For we are Your people. We carry Your blessings. We are Yours, and so we are right. Is this not what You said?” And Olvos was silent. —BOOK OF THE RED LOTUS, PART IV, 13.51–13.59 SOMEONE”
Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs

Maggie Stiefvater
“So what you’re saying is you can’t explain it.” “I did explain it.” “No, you used nouns and verbs together in a pleasing but illogical format.”
Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves

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This group is for anyone who wants to read and review Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's Gate download for free until February 16, 2009. I w ...more



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