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New Hampshire Author: Mary Lyn Ray

We are lucky to have a number of children's authors here in New Hampshire, so choosing one author for my Booking Across the U.S.A. post was a challenge. 
I finally settled on Mary Lyn Ray, and I'm glad I did! 

Mary Lyn wasn't born in New Hampshire, but moved here in 1973 into a 150 year old farmhouse. 
Much of her work has something to do with her life in that farmhouse. 
(Ironically, I also moved to New Hampshire that same year!)

Mary Lyn came to my school several years ago. 
I bought one of her books, Pianna to share with my students as well as my daughter. 
(My daughter was the same age as my students at the time.)

Pianna is a delightful story about an elderly woman reflecting on her life in New Hampshire in the early 1900s. Anna had to take a train all  the way to Boston once a week for piano lessons. The book spans from Anna's youth, through marriage, children, and life, and centers around the "orange house" in New Hampshire, and her piano playing. The book is actually based on one of Mary Lyn's neighbors!

It turned out to be one of my daughter's favorite books, and she asked to hear it repeatedly.

Here are a few of my favorite Mary Lyn Ray books: 
(Each image is a link to Amazon!)

Who doesn't love mud?

This is one of her most recent books.  
You can see that her New Hampshire farm background is applied here!

If you visit her website HERE, you'll find there's an interesting story behind Pumpkins and her farmhouse in New Hampshire.

Stars is one of her more recent stories, and one of my favorites!
One of its strengths is its simplicity, as well as the way it inspires children to dream and imagine. There is something magical about this book. 

This book inspired me to bring back an old favorite painting style from my childhood, and the kids love it still today!

All you need is crayons and watercolor paint!

Regular crayons will do the trick, but these glitter crayons are awesome for making stars!
Any set of watercolor paint will be fine, as long as there's plenty of dark blue for the night sky!

The children start by drawing a number of stars on a blank piece of white paper. (Water color paper is great, but not necessary!) 

Yellow crayon is probably best for the stars. The children should make big circles or star shapes for the stars, and make plenty of them!  With older children, you might want to share some information on constellations, and perhaps have the children make some familiar constellations. They also could create their own constellations, and even name them! In some of my samples, I used yellow for the stars of the constellations, and drew white lines to show the images.

Make sure they color the stars big, strong, and dark with their crayons.

Once the stars are done, they can prepare the watercolor paint for the wash. 

For the wash, I find it best to take a damp, but not drippy sponge to wet the entire paper. 

Then I mix plenty of water in with the color I wanted. In my samples, I tried blue, purple, and black. I did add a bit of black to darken the blue as well as the purple.

I think any of these color combinations worked to show the "twilight" sky created in the book Stars!

Don't forget to have the children wish on their stars!

Want to see more "Booking Across America" authors?  Click these links:

edSnapshotsIncredibly Confident KidsChild Led LifeCrayonbox LearningEnchanted Homeschooling Mom,The Educators' Spin On ItThe Art Curator for KidsMy Little Me Kathys Cluttered MindStory Time SecretsTrue AimThe Jenny EvolutionPrimary InspiredKC Edventures,Chicken BabiesMosswood ConnectionsCountry Fun ChildcarePicture Books & PiourettesMama SmilesBuggy and BuddyWise Owl Factory,Bambini TravelInspiration Laboratories Kids Yoga StoriesElementary MattersJust Another MomTeaching With GraceAll Done Monkey,Something 2 OfferALLterNATIVE LearningCutting Tiny BitesJDaniels4's Mom,  Living Montessori NowPragmatic MomKid World CitizenTeach Beside MeKitchen Floor Crafts, Mama MissA Book Long Enough, and Brain Power Boy.


  1. I haven't read these books. I am looking forward to checking them out. Your constellations art work turned out beautifully!

  2. Shelah, Thanks so much! I love these books, and the kids do, too!


  3. Our favorite Ray book is Mud! Thank you so much for being part of Booking Across the USA!

    1. Mud is fabulous! I was glad to participate!

      Sally from Elementary Matters


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