Archive for the ‘Jean Craighead George’ Category

The Great American Read

August 13, 2018

On Thursday, August 9, Heather Woolridge of WITF, the Central PA PBS affiliate, conducted interviews at Craighead House for a 5-minute segment they are producing in conjunction with the upcoming PBS series The Great American Read. She interviewed Johnson Coyle, President of Craighead House Committee, Sarah Fischer, Education Coordinator, Twig George, daughter of Jean Craighead George, and me.

The topic was Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain, a book that has changed many people’s lives. Why it didn’t make PBS’s top 100 list is a mystery to me. Perhaps its readers aren’t ardent PBS viewers. I have no idea. Even though it was overlooked by PBS, WITF is giving it a look.

I don’t know what John, Sarah and Twig said but I tried to emphasize the impact My Side of the Mountain has had on so many people. It has turned numerous nonreaders into readers, some of which have become voracious readers. Trish Carlucci’s story in the Summer 2016 edition of Craighead House Chronicles discusses one such example. Summer 2016 5.5 x. 8.5 cropped Trish

Men and women alike constantly tell me that My Side of the Mountain was their favorite book growing up and want their children to read it. It is even in several states’ curricula.

It is my understanding that each of the five one-hour theme episodes that follow the two-hour launch episode will be organized into 10-minute segments that PBS affiliates can choose to show or replace with pieces of their own. WITF’s segment will cover John Updike and Jean Craighead George. It’s not clear when this piece will run. We hope to find out before the series kicks off on September 11.

JCs MSOTM.png

 

Advertisements

Craigheads Are to Nature What Kennedys Are to Politics

June 27, 2018

A new review of Glorious Times is just in from Kirkus Reviews:

An encyclopedic, multigenerational chronicle examines a family’s extraordinary contributions to wildlife biology, conservation, and nature literature.

What the Kennedys are to politics, the less-famous Craigheads are to nature—a prolific and accomplished clan. Benjey (Doctors, Lawyers, Indian Chiefs, 2011, etc.) traces their ancestry to Scottish-Irish immigrants who settled in central Pennsylvania in 1733. In 1868, a railroad bisected the family farm. A great-great grandson built a depot, Craighead Station, and started grain, lumber, and coal businesses. A mansion, still standing by Yellow Breeches Creek, connected generations of Craighead children with flora and fauna. Five siblings, born between 1890 and 1903, graduated from college. Frank Craighead Sr. became a U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist. His brother, Eugene, became a state entomologist for Pennsylvania. Frank’s twins, Frank Jr. and John, gained fame as self-taught teenage falconers. They later studied grizzlies, devised the first radio-tracking collars for large animals, and battled National Park Service bureaucrats over bear management. They wrote the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, authored National Geographic articles, and produced lectures, photographs, books, films, and television programs. Their sister, Jean Craighead George, wrote more than 100 children’s books about animals and nature. Best known are Julie of the Wolves, a Newbery Medal winner, and My Side of the Mountain, a Newbery Honor work made into a movie. Five Craigheads achieved name recognition, but Benjey approaches the family as an ecosystem, deftly covering three dozen members over three centuries. He includes a family tree (indispensable) and a useful index and endnotes. Largely chronological, the book alternates between sections following entire generations through decades and chapters highlighting key individuals or topics. Benjey displays prodigious research skills and enthusiastic storytelling. With extensive family cooperation, he weaves interviews, letters, school yearbooks, family photos, and public records into such detailed scenes that he seems to have been present. He often sounds like a Craighead. Granular details about extended family members occasionally tread close to tedium, but overall, this comprehensive, impressive synthesis of the historical, familial, social, economic, and natural forces that created the famous Craigheads is well-told.

The author skillfully fills a scholarly, historical niche, producing an environmental and biographical work with broad popular appeal.

Don’t forget the Livestream of my interview/talk tomorrow. NCTC will broadcast it at 2:00 p.m. EDT on June 28.

Here is the link to the NCTC’s Livestream site: https://livestream.com/nctc

The broadcast interview will then be archived here for on-demand viewing: https://nctc.fws.gov/resources/knowledge-resources/video-gallery/conservation-action.html

Here’s the description they have posted on their broadcast webpage: https://nctc.fws.gov/broadcasts

 

A Chance to See Me Interviewed

June 24, 2018

On Thursday, I drove down to Shepherdstown, West Virginia to the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) where, as part of the Craighead House contingent, I attended the Balancing Nature and Commerce workshop held by the Conservation Fund nearly a year and a half ago. Returning to this beautiful rustic campus that honors the Craigheads so prominently in their great hall was a delight.

One morning on the last trip, the Craighead group met for breakfast with Mark Madison, Fish and Wildlife Service Historian, to discuss ways in which they could support Craighead House. This meeting led to Mark having four window-size foamboards made to help tell the Craighead story, initially at the Craighead 80/85 Anniversary Celebration last September and permanently as static displays in windows easily viewed from the porch facing the parking lot.

This time I wasn’t coming as a student as on the first trip. Mark invited me to be interviewed in their television studio. Since I had already prepared a PowerPoint presentation that I use to accompany in-person talks, I brought that along. He liked the title page so well that he used it as the title screen for the broadcast.

The NCTC doesn’t normally broadcast live, probably because a little editing is often needed to fit the taped sessions into their timeslots. Mine is no different. It will be broadcast at 2:00 p.m. EDT on June 28—this coming Thursday. It will remain on their site for some time, after which it will be available from their archive.

Here is the link to the NCTC’s Livestream site: https://livestream.com/nctc

The broadcast interview will then be archived here for on-demand viewing: https://nctc.fws.gov/resources/knowledge-resources/video-gallery/conservation-action.html

Here’s the description they have posted on their broadcast webpage: https://nctc.fws.gov/broadcasts

 

Title page

 

 

Glorious Times is Bridesmaid

May 26, 2018

Every now and then one of my books gets a minor award. Last June, Midwest Book Review named Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists a Reviewer’s Choice. Now, The Green Book Festival has picked it for the Runner-Up in the Biography/Autobiography category. The Man Who knew Everything by Marilee Peters was the winner and With Angel’s Wings by Stephanie Collins was Honorable Mention. Several categories only had Winners, no Runner-Ups or Honorable Mentions. The Biography/Autobiography category must have been more crowded than most.

http://www.greenbookfestival.com/

 

 

Does Barnes & Noble Stock My Book?

November 4, 2017

Yesterday, I learned something by accident, the way I learn most things. Another writer on a forum I follow asked if there was a way to see if Barnes & Noble stocked her books in their stores. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out if they stocked my most recent book, Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists, in any of their stores. So, I searched on BN.com Glorious Times and, near the top of the list, was a link to my book’s page on BN.com. Clicking on that brought up this page:

Barnes and Noble

Several lines below the price, just above Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought, in small print, is a link titled Check Store Availability. Clicking on that brings up a window into which you type the ZIP Code for a specific area. I found no way to search nationwide or even statewide with a single ZIP. I typed in 17011 for Camp Hill, PA, where the nearest Barnes & Noble store is located. Up popped a photo of the store and (drum roll here) IN STOCK. Below it was a photo of the Lancaster store and NOT IN STOCK.

It appears that the search is done for what looks like a 50-mile radius. Typing in 20001 for Washington, DC confirmed that guess because it listed 18 stores with some as far away as Baltimore and Frederick in Maryland and Fredericksburg in Virginia.

A bonus for authors wanting to set up book talks in an area is that the mailing address and phone number for each store, whether it stocks your book or not, is listed.

 

 

 

Book Reviews Are Pouring In

August 21, 2017

preorder-cover-tinyReviews are coming in for Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists. Hooray! The pleasant surprise is that they are positive. Here are links to several of them:

https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/glorious-times/

https://livelytimes.com/2017/08/tom-benjey-glorious-times-adventures-craighead-naturalists/

http://bigskyjournal.com/books/books-reading-west-2

http://www.theusreview.com/first-reviews/Glorious-Times-by-Tom-Benjey.html#.WZsHpeRK2Uk

http://www.outsidebozeman.com/lifestyle/inside-bozeman/books-music/kick-your-feet

https://issuu.com/um_crown_gye/docs/crown_of_the_continent_and_greater__3e306117692e88

http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/jun_17.htm

 

Glorious Times Selected as Award Finalist

March 27, 2017

Foreword Reviews just informed me that Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists has been selected as a Finalist in its 2016 Book of the Year Awards: https://awards.forewordreviews.com/books/glorious-times-adventures-of-the-craighead-naturalists/

The books considered for awards are books from smaller publishers, including university presses. Foreword explains their purpose this way:

In the publishing industry, we talk a lot about independent publishers. What exactly does that mean? Well, it’s hard to define. In the strictest sense, we mean anyone other than the powerful Big Five: Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Though they publish some important, thought-provoking titles, they hardly need help bringing them to market.

On Saturday, April 1st, at 2:00 p.m., I will be giving my first book talk ever at Midtown Scholars Bookstore in Harrisburg, PA. This talk will be about a small portion of my new book—it contains too much information for a single talk to cover, so I’m focusing on how teenagers can impact the country.

https://calendar.google.com/calendar/render?eid=aTNvY3NnZjIzZ2wybHU1MnJxODI2dG9qMW8gdnNtbmlwMXU1OWlrMTVxNmZlN243NTZic29AZw&ctz=America/New_York&t=AKUaPmbwX1qXEeBRi2rvNZsyW3ndmn2KWcWhtdZY2czdMCqDwWZXBoPnC53ykF7BCAsVUoTwVZKRDJalHwQcZ_nsrRMQGaW38A%3D%3D&sf=true&output=xml#eventpage_6

 

Book Talk in Florida

February 4, 2017

 

The publisher of Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists,University of Montana Press, reports that copies of the book are now in the hands of the distributor, Farcountry Press. The distributor supplies books to libraries and bookstores.

http://www.farcountrypress.com/details.php?id=708

People desiring copies of the book signed by the author can get them at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/.

Those on Florida’s west coast can attend a talk given by the author at 3:00 pm Wednesday, February 8 at Collier County Museum, 3331 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34112.

More about the Craigheads’ connections with Florida can be found at: http://www.colliergov.net/your-government/divisions-f-r/museums/collier-county-museum.

 

 

 

New Article on the Craighead Naturalists

December 27, 2016

The January/February 2017 issue of The Penn Stater, the Penn State University alumni magazine, contains an article titled “Three of a Kind.” The three of a kind are Frank Jr. and John, the Craighead twins, and their younger sister Jean, best known by her married name, Jean Craighead George. The three siblings all graduated with bachelors degree from Penn State College, well before it became a university. However, they were far from the first members of the family to attend the school. Several Craigheads have matriculated there, including the father and two uncles of Jean and the twins, as well as two of their first cousins The Penn Stater needs to run a piece that explores the careers of Frank “Rattlesnake” Craighead, who accomplished more in retirement than most do during their active careers, his brothers Charles, an eminent metallurgist, and orchard entomologist and fly fisherman extraordinaire Eugene, who was also the father of two Penn State alums, Sam and Bill. Bill and Sam also pursued careers involving the study of nature.

If Penn State had royalty, the Craigheads would certainly be a family of high ranking.

2017-penn-stater-jan-feb-1

 

 

Time for Christmas

November 28, 2016

Halleluiah! Copies of my latest book have finally arrived, just in time for Christmas. Signed copies can be ordered at http://www.tuxedo-press.com/. A review follows:

preorder-cover-tinyForeWord Reviews

Summer Issue 2016

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.

The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.

Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.