Spirals are everywhere in nature, taking center stage in "Swirl by Swirl"

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Children’s Literature Finalist:

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
Joyce Sidman (illustrated by Beth Krommes)

Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co.

Category Sponsor: Books For Africa

From the curled up chipmunk sleeping in its den to the swirl of a funnel cloud, Swirl by Swirl captures the vastness and variety of the natural world by examining one basic but ever-present shape and encouraging young readers to spot their own spirals.


An excerpt from Swirl by Swirl:

A spiral is a snuggling shape. It fits neatly in small places.
Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits for a chance to expand.


Joyce Sidman is the author of ten previous children’s books, and is a Newbery Honor-winning poet. Her much-valued “pondering time” happens during walks in the woods, where she watches the seasons change and lets her thoughts wander. Says Joyce, “The natural world sustains and inspires me.”


“The pictures by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Beth Krommes are phenomenal. So intricate, you’ll be spotting new spirals with each revisit.”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge

“Children will find much to beguile them in this well-nigh perfect celebration of the small and large wonders of the natural world.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“A handsome and versatile compendium, melding art, poetry and natural history.”
School Library Journal

Book Trailer:

What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear? Click here to watch the book trailer.


Author Sheila O’Connor sat down with Joyce Sidman to talk about the great joy of learning her book Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night had received a 2011 Newbery Honor, as well as her thoughts on the power of poetry in children’s lives.


In the past few months, Swirl By Swirl has been popping up in lots of “best” lists, including: 2012 ALA Notable Books, Horn Book Fanfare, Amazon’s Top Ten Picture Books of 2011 and  Washington Post Best Children’s Books.


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read Swirl by Swirl? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


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