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Heller's "How the Moon" is Children's Choice

May 25, 2007

KALAMAZOO--"How the Moon Regained Her Shape," an illustrated children's book by Western Michigan University's Dr. Janet Ruth Heller, was recently selected for Children's Choices of 2007 by the Children's Book Council and the International Reading Association.

Fewer than 100 books make the annual Children's Choices list, which is based on the actual recommendations of about 10,000 children of various age ranges. Working with teachers and librarians, the children read from a list of more than 700 books and voted for their favorites. The Children's Choices of 2007 were announced earlier this month at the International Reading Association conference in Toronto.

During 2006, "How the Moon" was selected as a Book Sense Pick, a monthly and seasonal selection of new books chosen by independent booksellers.

The work deals with issues such as bullying and self-esteem and is influenced by Native American legend and rituals on why the moon changes its shape. It also includes a section of scientific information about the lunar cycles. The story was inspired by a Kalamazoo Gazette theater review Heller wrote in 1992 about a production based on Native American legends and was influenced by her own childhood experiences. As a youngster, Heller moved from Green Bay, Wis., to Milwaukee and found her new school not to her liking. A tall, thin girl, she was constantly bullied.

Heller, who teaches English and women's studies, joined the WMU faculty in 1999. She is a widely published writer of poetry and articles for professional journals, but "How the Moon" is her first venture into children's literature. Heller is a founder and editor of Primavera, a literary magazine based in Chicago that publishes contemporary literature and artwork. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English from the University of Wisconsin and earned a doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.

"How the Moon" is colorfully illustrated by artist Ben Hodson. It is available locally at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Kazoo Books and Michigan News Agency. It can also be purchased online through amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.

Related story
Janet Heller book honored by independent booksellers

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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