Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Excerpt: Valentine, by Ruth Maus

 This week, as part of our Poetry Month celebration, we are sharing some audio excerpts from Valentine, poems by Ruth Maus.

The title poem: 

The Big Chill:

Purchase Valentine as Audiobook at:

Wry and rue---it sounds like the recipe for a craft cocktail.  But those are really the main ingredients in Ruth Maus’s sly wise and expansive book, even or especially in the poems that really are about cocktails.  Most of her poems are short—and a lot bigger than they seem, poems marked by gallows humor and a poker face, and with just a twitch of a tell that reveals how much lies beneath their surface.

Michael Gorra, author of Portrait of a Novel: Henry James 
and the Making of an American Masterpiece

In Valentine, Ruth Maus offers a love letter to the world, powering her lines with the engines of parallel structure, formal play, and bright image. Using diction that is conversational, at times outright rollicking, we’re invited into a world where the righteousness of salt / on a monster margarita / sings psalm and hallelujah enough, while the speaker considers romantic temptations, one’s call to art, and what lies ahead. This is a creative and sprightly collection.

Sandra Beasley, author of Count the Waves

Monday, April 12, 2021

New Book Features Kansas Wetlands as Migratory Shorebird Destination

 Ava: A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet           

Author: Mandy Kern              Illustrator: Onalee Nicklin

ISBN 978-1-7362232-3-9 (hardcover) $19.99

ISBN 978-1-7362232-4-6 (paperback) $13.99

Library of Congress Control Number 2021935418


Science & Nature / Environmental Science & Ecosystems

Animals / Birds

Science & Nature / Zoology


32 pages, full-color illustrations        Publication: June 2021

Ava Website – now taking pre-release orders



[Emporia, Kansas, April 2021] Meadowlark Press announces the upcoming release of Ava: A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet, Summer 2021. Science lessons in a readable, enjoyable format; an introduction to the importance of wetlands conservation; a study of the American Avocet, its patterns and behaviors. Ava is a book for readers of all ages.


Ava is an American Avocet, a breed of shorebird who leaves her home at the Laguna Madre and travels 1,000 miles to stay for a season at the largest wetland complex in the interior of the United States. Cheyenne Bottoms, in the middle of Kansas, is home to millions of birds who stop during their annual migrations in the spring and fall, as well as a diverse population of wildlife who make a home there year-round. As Ava meets her mate and starts a family, readers are introduced to one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.


What readers are saying:

“Cheyenne Bottoms is one of the most important shorebird migration points in the Western Hemisphere and serves as a key link in a chain of wetlands throughout the Central Flyways. Historically, as many as 500,000 shorebirds used this marsh during years in which habitat conditions were favorable. Threats to shorebirds have become more diverse and widespread in recent decades and pose serious conservation challenges. Unregulated hunting, predators, human disturbance, habitat loss, and climate change threaten these birds’ survival.”

-Robert Penner, Avian Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy


“I learned something from this book! How have I lived in Kansas my whole life and not realized that shorebirds come here! I could have used this in my 7th grade ELL geography class. Along with all the science vocabulary, I could have used it to teach migration and the human impact on the environment.”

-Ashley Nguyen, Middle School and High School ESL Teacher


“Thanks for sharing this wonderful book! Quite informative and beautiful!”

-Tammi Garriott, Kindergarten Teacher, Sacred Heart Catholic School


“This looks like a book for all ages. Just ‘picture book’ had me thinking for children, but that is not the case. I love the illustrations.”

-Hazel Hart, Editor


“I think this is a great idea for a book! There is a need for nonfiction books that kids can understand. This looks like it would be a good fit for mid to upper elementary students.”

-Sherry Askew, Kansas Public School Teacher


About the Author:

Kansas Wetlands Education Center Program Specialist Mandy Kern is passionate about helping others appreciate the natural resources around them. She enjoys making opportunities for children to connect with the outdoors, away from electronics and screens. Her first visit to Cheyenne Bottoms was in seventh-grade science class as a reward for learning to identify over 100 bird species. Prior to working at the center, she was a high school agriculture education and science instructor, where including science literacy was always a priority. Mandy lives on a market farm, where she cultivates her veggie empire with her husband Joseph and three children, Jonas, Russell, and Maggie. They are the 6th generation to live on this homestead on the Santa Fe Trail. They love to go on adventures and especially love to road trip to national parks. Her favorite bird is the Black-necked Stilt.


About the Illustrator:

Onalee Nicklin is best known for her fantasy or “storybook” pencil drawings, often depicting children as mermaids, elves, or characters in a story. She works mostly with graphite pencils, colored pencils, and sometimes does a little mixed media. “I hope my work inspires people to use their imagination, to dream, to read,” she says. She credits most of the development of her skill to the lessons in “Foundations of Art” from the School of Illustrative Arts, instructor Howard David Johnson. Onalee lives in a small cottage on a farm near Emporia with her husband, a tuxedo cat, and numerous species of wildlife. Having always loved fantasy, fairytales, and storybooks—and inspired by the illustrations of Adrienne Segur—she now crafts her own whimsical and detailed illustrations.

The Kansas Wetlands Education Center is dedicated to educating the public about wetland communities, their importance, and the need for conservation and restoration, with emphasis on Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. KWEC accomplishes this through interactive exhibits and interpretation, education programs, outreach, and fostering partnerships with cooperating stakeholders. The KWEC, 592 NE K-156 Highway, is at the southeast side of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, northeast of Great Bend, Kansas. Visit for more information. 


Ava: A Year of Adventure in the Life of an American Avocet was made possible by funds from the Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation, a private foundation serving the Barton County, Kansas area.


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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wednesday Excerpt: A reading from How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems

 We are celebrating Poetry Month at Meadowlark with daily poetry readings by Meadowlark publisher, Tracy Million Simmons, and Meadowlark publicist, Linzi Garcia. If you have not had a chance to tune in on Facebook, you can watch the series of videos on our YouTube channel.  

For today's excerpt, Tracy reads "A Year from Now" from How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. 

BONUS opportunity: Go tag a friend on this post on Facebook and we will enter you and your friend in a drawing for our Poetry Month giveaway. The lucky winner will get a copy of Caryn's book!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Let's Celebrate Poetry Month in Kansas!


2021 is the 25th anniversary of celebrating poets and poetry by the American Academy of Poets. We're going to help you celebrate with some Kansas poetry too!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Wednesday Excerpt: What Lies Beyond, by Hannah Jeffers Huser

 Today we celebrate the birthday of Meadowlark author, Hannah Jeffers-Huser. As a treat, here's an excerpt from What Lies Beyond, available in the Meadowlark bookstore

Chapter 2


Halona gave the tall, redheaded young man who stood in the doorway of the village medical hut a scolding look. His left arm was bleeding. He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly with his good arm as they stared at each other with matching green eyes.

“Evian.” The name rolled from her tongue, causing her older brother to cringe. She motioned for him to sit on the cot beside her. He obeyed the small woman’s orders and flinched when he saw her furious glare up close. She searched around in the cabinets of the hut before walking to her brother with a basket of supplies in her pale hands.

“You and Severin were training again.” It was a statement, not a question. The harsh tone of her voice made Evian cringe once more.

He let out a nervous chuckle before speaking. “Yeah. We got a little carried away. You should see what he looks like.”

“I’m assuming he doesn’t have a single scratch. You can’t beat him, Evian. He’s a strong fighter.” She gave her brother a teasing smirk as she began mixing herbs into a bowl to create a brown paste.

Evian sighed dejectedly before asking, “Where’s Mariana?” He looked around the hut. The clan’s healer was always in the medical hut. She rarely left her apprentice there alone.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Thank you! Event recording of More Than Words book launch

What a FUN time we had at the More Than Words virtual book launch! 

It was wonderful to see so many friends and to make some new ones. Kevin knocked our socks off, and you can experience it all over again (or for the first time), right here:

The video is available on the Meadowlark YouTube Page. Feel free to share!

If you're still looking to order a copy of More Than words, you're in luck! They're available at the Meadowlark Bookstore, as well as your own favorite bookstores. Check out Kevin's other Meadowlark books while you're in there. 

Thanks again, and we'll see your beautiful faces next time! 

Friday, March 26, 2021

See you tomorrow for the More Than Words book launch event!

KEVIN RABAS is the man of the hour!

7 PM TOMORROW is the time! 

ZOOM is the place! 

YOU are the reason we get to do these things!

Register for the More Than Words book launch event at in order to receive the Zoom link. 

See you soon!