Celebrating Earth Day with “Tina the First Tooth Fairy” by Bruce F. Scharschmidt, MD

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Please welcome physician, scientist, and children’s book author Dr. Bruce F. Scharschmidt to Frog on a Blog. Bruce’s new picture book Tina the First Tooth Fairy officially launches today. This colorful, rhyming story subtly introduces the concept of environmental sustainability, which you’re never too young to begin learning about. Bruce’s daughter’s curiosity was piqued by a science experiment when she was young, which led her to a scientific career. Now, Bruce enjoys sharing his books (and science, too) with his grandchildren. I asked Bruce to stop by and speak a bit about his book as well as his thoughts on sustainability and how we can celebrate Earth Day with kids.

Let’s hear from Bruce.

I am a strong believer that our collective future depends on instilling in our children a sense of curiosity and an interest in discovery and innovation. Science centers on asking questions and seeking answers. It should be taught not like a collection of facts to be memorized, but in a way that responds to our natural sense of wonder.

While President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, I helped initiate a summer scholarship program for high school science teachers which afforded them hands-on scientific training so they could incorporate actual experiments into their classroom curriculum in a way that made science fun and exciting. High school, however, is often too late. California’s K-12 Science standards suggest that science education should begin in Kindergarten, but meaningful exposure often doesn’t come until later.

Our impressions of the world are formed early. We all enjoy hearing stories, particularly young children. Even preverbal children have reasonably sophisticated reasoning skills. Having grandchildren of our own was the impetus I needed to expand my writing audience from physicians to children and turn my bedtime stories into children’s books. While first and foremost meant to be fun, my books are intended to stimulate curiosity and prompt questions and dialogue.

My newest book, Tina the First Tooth Fairy, is centered on the theme of sustainability and is scheduled to launch on Earth Day, April 22, 2023. Building on the universal childhood experience of losing baby teeth and children’s natural curiosity (Why does the tooth fairy want our teeth? Where do the teeth go?), it introduces kids to repurposing and recycling, two of the Five R’s (Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Repurpose-Recycle) that collectively constitute sustainability.

I hope this story will inspire you to celebrate Earth Day with your children and grandchildren. When they ask questions, try creating experiments to prove your hypothesis right (or wrong!). Show them the sky and the stars and let them feel the wind in their hair. Share stories about your outdoor experiences growing up and talk about ways to preserve the Earth’s beauty. And please read to them. Your children are our future.

For More Information About Earth Day, Please Visit: https://www.earthday.org/.

Bruce F. Scharschmidt, MD crafts children’s books written in verse that make kids smile–and think. His stories build on his background as a physician-scientist with academic, business and non-profit experience. For Bruce, science is not just a collection of facts and statistics, but more fundamentally a sense of curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around us. In his academic career, he was Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he helped start the UCSF liver transplant program. He has authored over 200 scientific papers and book chapters and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He also served on the National Board of Directors of the American Liver Foundation and has participated in the development of multiple vaccines and therapeutics which are approved in the US and elsewhere. For more information about his life and work, visit: https://brucescharschmidt.com/.

Brian Russo and Yoga Bunny Honor Mother Earth

Happy Earth Day everyone! I’m excited to welcome children’s book author/illustrator Brian Russo to Frog on a Blog! Brian’s book A Friend for Yoga Bunny was published on February 22, and is a follow-up to Yoga Bunny, a book that features an adorable little bunny in yoga poses, and encourages kids to wind down and relax. Brian is passionate about helping animals and the environment through his art, which I think is fantastic and something I can really get behind. Let’s hear from Brian!

Hi! My name is Brian Russo. I run a little shop on Threadless.com where I sell t-shirts featuring Yoga Bunny, a character I created back in 2010 during my Yoga Teacher Training. Yoga Bunny now has two children’s books available from HarperCollins. Making these books has been such a joy, because it’s given me the chance to work with a small creative team. At the same time, I love running my own online shop because I have the opportunity to come up with designs on my own and then put them online as soon as they’re ready. Each t-shirt design feels like a little story that I get to tell all on my own.

In addition to bringing in a little extra income, the Threadless Shop gives me a chance to build a personal brand, based on my beliefs. As a Children’s Book Artist, I believe I must have some responsibility to the animals I represent in my stories. Based on this, I had the idea that a portion of my earnings from the Threadless could go to support Rabbit Rescue Houses. Although this wasn’t an option on the Threadless list of charities, the ASPCA was. So, for now, I’m donating 5% of my earnings from five of my first designs to that organization.

Then, with Earth Day coming up, I wanted to create a design that reflected my beliefs about the environment and contributed a small amount of my earnings to an environmental cause. One of the options on Threadless was the Eden Reforestation Project, which combats deforestation. I only learned about the organization through Threadless, but as you can see on their website and by searching their charity score, it seems that they do good work.

I don’t consider the way I live to be especially green, and I’m not an activist by any means. Yet, I do believe that the Earth is alive, and full of actual magic that I’ve witnessed firsthand. I’m very interested in, and believe in the existence of, animal spirits. I was recently reading about the Rabbit’s symbolism and mythology, and learned that in many cultures, the Rabbit is heavily associated with the moon. So, I recreated another version of my Earth Day design where Yoga Bunny represents the moon, as contrasted with the sun, behind him. I’ll also be giving 5% of my earnings from this design to the Eden Reforestation Project in honor of Earth Day.  I read somewhere that the rabbit symbolizes humans’ connection to the Earth, and I believe that to be true. I’m grateful to both the Rabbit Spirit, and to Mother Earth on this day. 

Happy Earth Day to everyone, and thank you for reading!

Brian Russo has been drawing since he can remember. He grew up in Short Hills, New Jersey, then moved to New York, where he earned a degree from NYU. Afterwards, he discovered something he loves just as much as drawing: doing yoga. He earned a teaching certificate from Yoga to the People in 2010, during which time he developed the Yoga Bunny illustrations. He now lives in Lehi, Utah (the setting of the film Footloose) with his beautiful wife, Emily, adorable son, Quill, and loyal dog, Spike. His favorite film is Spirited Away, and the celebrity he’d most like to meet is ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.

Beautiful Earth by Lisa Olson

Trees Cover

Please welcome author Lisa Olson to Frog on a Blog. You may remember Lisa from a while back when she stopped in to talk about her wonderful picture book series American Herstory. (You can read about the series by clicking HERE.)

Today, Lisa’s back with a gorgeous new book And the Trees Began to Move, published by Eifrig Publishing just in time to celebrate Earth Day on April 21, and to “honor nature and all of its blessings!”

Lisa’s love for our Earth and the abundance of amazing life that surrounds us every day is evident in her article below. Enjoy!

Beautiful Earth

The earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.” ~ John Ruskin

Walk through any wooded lot with your eyes WIDE open and your mind perfectly still and you will find a real-life Enchanted Forest. If you look…REALLY look…with all of your senses, you WILL see it. Magic…REAL magic, moving all around us. Living, breathing, growing and ever-changing…this tiny revolving planet in a vast solar system of stars is home to us ALL! Every day, life is exploding around us in a dazzling display and we barely flinch at the wonder of it.

Trees pic

*a sneak peek illustration from AND THE TREES BEGAN TO MOVE

Nature is glorious…TRULY! Shades of green and gold shimmer and the wind whispers its secrets to the trees as it passes through the canopy of leaves. Wildflowers speckle the ground in a colorful spray amid dappled shadows and bright splashes of sunlight. The sharp whiff of pine mingles with the sweet scent of newly budded blossoms and together they move among the oaks and willows in an endless dance. Delicate butterflies with gossamer wings taste the world around them with their feet! AMAZING! Buzzing bees and tiny dragonflies with iridescent wings dart here and there in miraculous loops and aerial maneuvers that leave you dizzy as your eyes track their journey from flower to flower.

With Earth Day fast approaching, we have the perfect opportunity to reflect on the miracles and everyday magic that literally surrounds us every moment of our lives. If we all plant just one seedling, together we have the power to grow an entire forest! We are called to be good stewards of our natural world. The TREES call to us…listen! It’s no coincidence the innermost part of a tree is called The Heart. Beating together, we thrive.

Lisa pic 1

First and foremost, Lisa Gammon Olson is a mom of three amazing young men; Grant, Kyle & Jay. She lives with her husband Bruce in Coon Valley, WI, where she is the secretary at the Coon Valley Elementary School….a job she adores! She believes the most important skill we can ever teach our children is “How to be Kind.” Any kindness we do, no matter how small, has the power to change someone’s life. Growing up in northern Wisconsin has instilled in her the wonder of nature… sparkling lakes, endless forests and trails littered with pine needles and possibilities. Preserving our planet and populating it with human beings who are Respectful, Responsible, and Kind seems like an awesome idea.

For more information about Lisa and her books, visit lisagammonolson.com.