mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Illustrator Christopher Canyon

The old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply to picture books. It’s the cover illustration that entices us to actually pick up the book and read it. That’s why illustrators are so important. This week’s guest blogger is a talented and experienced illustrator—Christopher Canyon!

by Christopher Canyon:

Ever since my childhood, I’ve always loved drawing and painting wildlife. Many of the books I have illustrated are about animals and natural habitats.

Whether I’m sketching birds in my backyard or doing research in wild places, I love learning about the world through creating art.

I’ve been creating picture books for a long time. Some of the stories I’ve illustrated are about fascinating people and places. These projects have taken me on many amazing research adventures around the world to learn about the subject matter I’ve illustrated. Research is a very important and exciting part of creating a book!

No matter what kind of a book I’m illustrating—be it a true story, make-believe tale, poem, or song, I always begin my work with nothing more than a pencil and a journal. With these basic tools I’m able to journey to unlimited possibilities with my writing, drawing, and imagination to explore how I’m going to share  my art and creativity with others.


Outside: Journal Just Like Christopher

Ask your students to follow Christopher Canyon’s example and create a nature journal. An easy way to begin is to have them take paper and pencil outside and answer three simple questions: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? Once students answer these questions, have them carefully observe and draw one object. Tip: When writing and drawing outside, it’s helpful to use a clipboard, but students may also use a piece of cardboard and large paper clip. You may download a nature journal form from Donna Young’s website.


Inside: Forest Web of Life

Christopher Canyon’s illustrations make the plants and animals of the ancient forest come alive. Explore their interconnected web by downloading a Forest Web of Life lesson created by Carol Reed Jones, author of The Tree in the Ancient Forest.


More Facts and Fun with Illustrations

Christopher Canyon has illustrated several classic songs by the late singer-songwriter, John Denver, including Sunshine On My Shoulders. On a cold December day it can be fun to remember the joy of summer sunshine by reading aloud (and singing along to) Sunshine on My Shoulders.

Family stories and memories are a wonderful catalysts for children to write and illustrate their own stories. Read aloud the books Grandma’s Feather Bed and Take Me Home, Country Roads as examples of special family memories.


Discuss the whimsical illustrations created by Christopher Canyon. Ask children to illustrate one of their favorite family memories. Have them write a paragraph or story to go along with the illustration. Set aside a special time for author/illustrators to present their stories and art to the class.


Children can write and illustrate their stories online at Dot’s Story Factory at PBS Kids.


More About Christopher Canyon

When Christopher isn’t in his studio, he enjoys traveling and providing educational and entertaining programs for schools, libraries, and conferences. His school presentations promote the joys of reading, literature, and the arts.

Christopher received his formal art education at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. His work has been selected for many exhibits and publications including the Society of Illustrators, the Mazza Collection at the University of Findlay, Ohio, and the Natural History magazine.

Christopher lives with his wife Jeanette, cats, and fish in Columbus, Ohio. Jeanette is also a gifted artist and illustrator. Look for her as a guest blogger in 2013. Meanwhile, visit Christopher and Jeanette at their website.