“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglas
Reactions to The Elephant and the Bird Feeder:
Children’s Literature, one of the premier book reviewers serving schools and libraries across the country, recently praised The Elephant and the Bird Feeder as “a story of compassion and friendship.” The Delmarva Review, one of Maryland’s critically acclaimed literary magazines, included it in its section on “New Books by Regional Authors,” saying that all the books are “testimony to the continually evolving literary history of the Chesapeake and Delmarva region . . . which show the diversity of regional creative talent.” Thank you, Children’s Literature and The Delmarva Review!
Many thanks to the faculty and students at BUGS (the Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students After School Program) for inviting me to talk about my book, The Elephant and the Bird Feeder, on November 18, 2016. I had a great time and hope that the students did, too. Special thanks to Mr. Algernon Campbell for arranging the visit. The BUGS program, which is part of the Living Classrooms Foundation, a non-profit educational organization, has been a success for many years, and serves students in East Baltimore. To learn more, go to their website, livingclassrooms.org. And if you want to make a donation, just click on “Donate.” Every donation helps! Thanks. Attached are some photos of the students and classrooms.
Thank you to the Green Gables Elementary School in Lakewood, Colorado, for using The Elephant and the Bird Feeder in their after-school program! The book was chosen to celebrate National Elephant Appreciation Day, September 22, 2016.
Thanks to the MD/DE/WV Regional Chapter of SCBWI for their August 2016 interview with me. It’s great to be a member of such a friendly and professional organization! For a transcript of the interview, “Happy Book Birthday: Coffee and Conversation with Leona Illig,” just go to their website at https://aseraserburns.wordpress.com.
My children’s chapter book, The Elephant and the Bird Feeder, was published by 1st Ride Enterprises. It is available in print and on Kindle and Nook (ISBN 978-1-530740956). For members of SCBWI, it is also listed on SCBWI’s On-Line Bookstore. Enjoy!
Should I trust my enemy? Befriend a stranger? Believe the impossible? Three youngsters living in northeast Thailand—an elephant, a parrot, and a boy—must find answers to these questions. Their responses could determine their survival.
Book Reviews for Children’s Literature.
Current Book Projects
Emails from Dogs:
First, there was a dog. Then there were many dogs—all shapes, sizes, colors, and breeds. But they all had the same mission: to cheer up their young friend Rory, whose mother had died. There was a problem, however. The dogs lived in Maryland. Rory lived in New Jersey. How were they going to talk to each other? For photographs of the actual dogs who star in this two-book series, see the
Emails from Dogs section.
Charmed City: Tales of Baltimore and Beyond:
Baltimore—a city or a state of mind? In this collection of short fiction, diverse characters with their roots in Baltimore find themselves in strange and sometimes dangerous situations. From the Middle East to Asia, and from the 1800s to the distant future, the protagonists must use their intelligence, determination, and wit to survive some truly out-of-this world experiences. But why should anyone be surprised? Welcome to Baltimore, Hon!
Thumper, or, Life on the Farm:
A revolution is underway and a way of life is disappearing. Growing up on a small tobacco farm in Maryland in the 1960s, a boy faces challenges from his family and society. In the midst of this turmoil, a dog named Thumper barges into his life: an animal with the face of a hound, the legs of a dachshund, and a tail that can’t stop wagging.
Previously Published Fiction
“The Ferret,” a political and military thriller set during the early days of the Vietnam War, has been published in the winter 2014 edition of “The MacGuffin,” a literary print magazine published by Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan. To order your copy, or to subscribe to the magazine, please go to:
and click on the box that says, “Start Reading The MacGuffin, Order Now!”
If you are ordering only the current edition, make sure that you specify “Winter Edition, Vol. XXX, No. 2,” on the order blank.
“Baltimore Billy,” a Western about three individuals who find more trouble than they bargained for in Missouri in the 1800’s, published by “The Western Online,” July, 2013 edition.
“Ring Down,” a story about technology, politics, and intrigue in the year 2024, published in “Larks Fiction Magazine,” August 13, 2012 edition.
“One for Our Side,” a short story about Yemen prior to the Gulf War, published by “The North Atlantic Review,” Issue 22, 2011.
“The Starting Gate,” a short story about horse-racing that is out of this world, published by the on-line magazine, “Residential Aliens,” 2010.
“Oil to the Chief,” a flash-fiction story about a futuristic Washington, published by the on-line magazine, “Golden Visions,” 2007.
Previously Published Non-Fiction
“There’s No Place Like Dome,” a humorous look at building a home astronomical observatory, published by “Sky and Telescope” magazine, November, 2008.
Previously Published Photography
Photograph accompanying the article “In a Galaxy Far, Far Away,” by Leslie Ayers, published by “MacLife Magazine,” February, 2009.
Photograph accompanying the article, “Tidbits that are Good to Know,” by Mort Butler, published by “CapMac Offline, the Monthly Newsletter of Capitol Macintosh, Austin, Texas,” October, 2008.
Special Issues Reporter (Environmental), 2011—2014, League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County
Publicist, 2011-2014, League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County
Newsletter Editor, 2008—2009, League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County