Winnie and Tate a great bedtime adventure about two ducks and their new family

by Ramona du HouxTwo ducks find their way to a new home. As Winnie and Tate’s world expands in the backyard woodland pond, so does their circle of friends. They meet a variety of animals and discover that dangers can sometimes lurk around the corner.Exciting firsts and scary life events rally the family and their ducks in lasting ways, as vivid situations come to life in this wonderful adventure.

Author, Nancy Crinklaw, brings us into the world of these adorable ducks as they grow, getting into mischief at every turn.  As Winnie and Tate mature they help their human family realize what’s important in life.

Winnie and Tate will entertain many age groups and has a few life lessons for all. You just keep reading and want to know more once you finish the book,” said Lisa A Paulon in her review. “I hope to see a continuation of the story in the near future and in the meantime I will remember to be mindful of the “dark side” of the pond!”

First booksigning will be with author Nancy Crinklaw at 10AM at the Sandown Public Library, 305 Main St, Sandown, NH 03873 on March 1, 2018.

About the Author Nancy Crinklaw:

Nancy (on the right in the photo) loved reading books as a child and wanted to share that love with her daughter and began reading to her the day she came home from the hospital. As her daughter grew, she remembers searching for page-turners that would interest her child, teach a few life lessons, and be enjoyed by her as well. With those elements in mind she wrote Winnie and Tate.

“It was a struggle to find books with good messages that were fun adventures when Rachael was a baby. I really wanted to give new mothers a fun book that will help them with the road ahead, so Winnie and Tate was born,” said Nancy.

Nancy grew up in a very small town in New York along the St. Lawrence River just a stone’s throw to the Canadian Border, along with her sister Joanne Langston (on the left of the photo), who illustrated Winnie and Tate. 

“I guess it is the sister thing because the pictures fantastically compliment the feeling of the book Winnie and Tate,” said Nancy.

 Nancy now lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband, daughter, six little ducks and two cats.

She continues to find joy in writing, and is working on a second book.

Nancy currently works in manufacturing management, continues to find joy in writing, and is working on a second book.

About the Illustrator:

Joanne Langston loved painting from an early age and recently returned to this life-long passion when Nancy asked her to illustrate Winnie and Tate.

“It’s been such a honor to be able to illustrate Nancy’s classic story. We’ve always wanted to work together on a project of significance, to give back and hopefully inspire. I’m hoping it’ll be a long partnership,” said Joanne.

Go to Facebook: for information about Winnie and Tate.

Winnie and Tate is published by Polar Bear & Company of Maine – PO Box 311, 8 Brook Street, Solon, ME 04979 and 20 Main Street, Rockland, Maine  04841.

$15.95  * ISBN: 978-1-882190-58-4 *  www. 

Book combats childhood bullying – Clipper and the Village Park Bully


From Maine Insights News

In the third book in the Clipper Maine Island Labrador puppy series, Clipper and the Village Park Bully, our hero visits the village park for the first time. Excited to make new friends, he soon discovers he has a lot in common with other puppies. Then the park bully snarls at him and . . .

Clipper’s author, Anita de Laguna Haviland, takes on the bully in the park to help children and parents deal with this serious problem. Being bullied as a child can have harmful, long-term consequences, like being stunted emotionally and socially.

“I couldn’t sit by hearing about all the bully situations in our schools across America. I hope Clipper and the Village Park Bully will show children that there are answers to their situations, that they are not alone, and most importantly that people do care.”

“Everyone has a role to play in combating the epidemic of childhood bullying. I hope my paintings will connect with children so they know they are loved and important to us all,” said watercolor artist Ramona du Houx.

Nine out of 10 elementary school kids have been subjected to physical or psychological bullying by their peers, while six in 10 have been bullies themselves, according to a new study.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The results show that even going down to young ages, we have very high levels of bullying and victimization,” said study lead author Dr. Thomas P. Tarshis, who conducted the research while with the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Stanford University Medical Center. The findings were published in the April 2017 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

More about the Clipper series—

Clipper is a sweet Labrador puppy who loves to get into mischief. His adventures on a Maine island reflect incidents everyone’s child somehow manages to get into. If we think far enough back, we got into them too. How Clipper solves situations, how those around him help or not provides direction—as a great picture book can do. All the while, this adorable puppy warms everyone’s heart and soul.

“These stories are based in experience. Our loving dogs have been wonderful teachers,” said de Laguna Haviland, who dedicates Clipper and the Village Park Bully to the memory of her loving dog Picasso.

Du Houx’s vibrant watercolor paintings bring the book’s words to life while inspiring children and fostering an appreciation of art. Studies show early childhood exposure to the arts helps calm children and encourages their imaginations.

“I love seeing the eyes of children light up as they turn the pages in Clipper. It’s so easy to fall in love with a Labrador puppy,” said Ramona. “He’s a wonderful role model for kids.”

Inspired by the visual splendor of the natural world and by children discovering it, Ramona has painted six picture books. Ramona’s photographic art has been exhibited worldwide since 1980. For the past twenty-two years she has worked as a journalist, artist, professional writer and photographer.

screen-shot-2017-06-26-at-12-24-27-pmClipper and the Village Park Bully is published by Polar Bear & Company, 8 Brook Street, P.O. Box 311, Solon, Maine.

The book retails at $17.95. ISBN 978-1-882190-64-5

Available from the publisher at great Maine Independent bookstores, Ingram and

Watercolor painting illustrations copyright © 2017 by Ramona du Houx.

Clipper copyright © by Anita de Laguna Haviland. All rights reserved.

Quote book – “great resource and inspiration,” said inaugural poet Blanco

From Maine Insights News  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Polar Bear and Company is proud to announce the publication of A Writers’ Compendium: Quotations on the Trade, edited and compiled by author Peter Bollen. Illustrations are crafted by Ramona du Houx.

Writers often spend hours, days working away on manuscripts. Sometimes in their self imposed isolation they wonder if their experiences are unique. A Writers’ Compendium: Quotations on the Trade allows them to see how their process may or may not be similar to other writers. It brings the writing community together and offers inspiration within unexpected quotes.

This unique collection of quotes by writers on the process of writing, on journalism, on censorship, poetry, writer’s block, and on other writers and critics is a wonderful resource.

Bollen is the author of Nuclear VoicesGreat Labor Quotations and Frank Talk. He’s currently a contributing columnist for the Bridgton News.

“As a long time literary book collector, I have concentrated on writers’ memoirs and biographies, as well as interviews and conversations with a wide range of writers working in various fields. This obsession became my education for my own writing and my career in publishing. Gleaning all this literary wisdom fueled my dcoveresire to compile a useful and entertaining collection of literary nuggets for readers and anyone who aspires to write. Putting this volume together and reading the words of these lively minds on the craft of writing and the creative process was particularly enjoyable and personally edifying.

“The chapters in this book include quotations on creativity, censorship, critiques from fellow writers, and the importance of journalism. I hope they convey something about the writing life and the importance of the printed word.

I intend for this collection to serve as a helpful guide for aspiring and fledgling writers. I have included a chapter on the dreaded “writer’s block” – that familiar malady suffered, at times, by even the most experienced wordsmiths. When I interview and talk with writers personally, I always ask them about “The Block.”

Writers often refer to and use their favorite quotations by their colleagues and mentors. Many of these quotations are well known and often repeated. In this book, where the actual source of a quote could not be definitely determined, I have added ‘attributed’ following the author citation.

“I hope this compendium is entertaining as well as useful for readers and writers alike. I have tried my best to be accurate and correct in attributing the quotations. Any inaccuracies discovered after publication will be corrected in subsequent editions of this volume.” —Peter Bollen

kingWhat others have written about the book:

“A great resource and inspiration.” —Richard Blanco, Inaugural Poet for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration

“Entertaining and often illuminating, the incisive and concise quotations go on, page after page. Dipping into compendia such as this can be like eating cashews—it’s hard to stop at just one canful. You keep reading and snacking. Just one page more . . .” —Mike Corrigan, Bridgton News book review

“Peter Bollen has compiled a magnificent collection of quotes that any writer, editor or photographer can identify with, from dealing with editors to questioning one’s self. Very amusing and informative. Mr. Bollen has gone on a deep search to find the quotes that you can—At one time or another—Find yourself in. —H. Joie Crockett, photojournalist

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 8.25.20 PM“A treasure, a welcome companion for any working writer. In this lonely field, one often feels blocked, stopped, and distracted . . . Refreshing . . . illustrates that so many others, especially the giants of this craft have felt exactly the same and then gone on to publish wonderful stories. It is a source of solace, comfort and encouragement, much needed and much appreciated. It has a permanent place next to my computer keyboard.” —Alan Lapidus, author of Everything by Design. My Life as an Architect

Please visit Peter’s website at:

And Facebook page at:

On Amazon here

Published by Polar Bear & Company . ISBN-13: 978-1882190782 .  Pages: 153 . $14.95

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 11.05.37 AM

Maine’s Celebration Barn awakens students and audiences to life through theater

In Maine Insights – Article and photos by Ramona du Houx

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The first stage of the Celebration Barn experience is getting there. After negotiating countless side roads, one takes a turn down a semi-paved road and another down a rocky lane. There, in 11 acres of woods, far from the maddening crowd, lies a red restored horse barn where unique performances await the traveler, whether one is a participant in the non-profit’s workshops or someone who enjoys great theater.

Discovering the Barn is like coming across another world, a summer theater Shangri-La, as the atmosphere the performers and instructors exude is all encompassing. They greet you with enthusiasm, and excitement in their eyes sparked by the energy from working together in intensive workshops. They welcome you into their community with open arms, into one big functional family. But the majority of these thespians, writers, directors and producers only just met weeks before.

The connectedness that has been established during those weeks binds these artists to one another and becomes key to their successful individual and collaborative scripts that they act out in sold out community performances.

“Here, artists are encouraged to do work that is uniquely their own. Living and working alongside one another, while getting to totally unplug from daily demands, allows artists to go deep into their creative process. Developing a shared vocabulary, embracing each other’s differences and strengths, and supporting one other in stepping outside one’s comfort zone creates a very dynamic, safe atmosphere,” said Amanda Huotari Executive Artistic Director of Celebration Barn.Continue reading “Maine’s Celebration Barn awakens students and audiences to life through theater”

8th Annual Rural Open Studio Tour in Central Maine – Today

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 -Studios and Galleries open 10am to 6pm

There’s much more than mosquitos in Maine north of Route 2. In the rolling hills and farmlands surrounding Skowhegan, Maine is one of the most unique opportunities to visit the amazing home studios of fabulous artists at over 20 Central Maine locations. It’s the 8th annual tour, hosted by Open Arts in association with The Wesserunsett Arts Council. The event is free of charge.

August 12th from 10am to 6pm. See wonderful works in abstract, classical, pastel, mural, folk, metal, wood, pottery, sculpture, hand dyes, quilting, photography and more. Combined with many spectacular summer gardens, it promises to be day of art and beauty that shows that the Central Maine art community is like no other.

Rural Open Studio 2017 artists: Continue reading “8th Annual Rural Open Studio Tour in Central Maine – Today”

A made in Maine riverboat is underway down the Mississippi

 In Maine Insights, By Ramona du Houx

m and eEmily du Houx and Morgan Rogers with the boat they built, the Michi Zeebee, at the “road trip” launching in Portland, Maine just before they left for St. Paul for their 2,000 journey down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.

It began long ago, before they knew it would, long before they met — both beginning love affairs with rivers. Emily du Houx living by a waterfall that pours into the Kennebec River in Maine would swim loosing track of time disappearing around the next river bend mesmerized by the water’s endless heartbeat of reflections. At the same time, Morgan Rogers negotiated rapids, kayaking skillfully through river challenges sometimes to become unwittingly drenched while at others triumphing against the California river’s swells, near her home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They lived in opposite coastal states, until one day their paths collided. Three years later they’ve found themselves at the mid-point of America, on the Mississippi River traveling its 2,000 miles on a bare-bones watercraft, a modified version of the Glen-L Water Lodge that dates to the 1960s, during a long hot summer.

They christened their shanty boat the Michi Zeebee, the Native American name for the river that French settlers mispronounced turning it into Mississippi, with excited expectations but not knowing what adventures would await them along their two-month journey to New Orleans.

“The design is based of a 1960s-era houseboat. Its modifications incorporate elements from theatrical showboats with colonial-era details on its siding and windows,” said Emily.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 1.45.48 PMEmily du Houx and Daren, from the Apprenticeshop, preparing the Michi Zeebee for the road trip to her launching in St. Paul.

The vessel has a 25-hp outboard motor to power them away from heavier river traffic, help with difficult weather, and through and around locks and dams. Portable solar panels, the duo from Revision Energy, provide them with electricity for their equipment and so, “we can have coffee.” The cozy interior includes a king size mattress sleeping space, room to store supplies, maps, a small canoe for portages, boat-building equipment and not much more. While traveling, they will also take sonar readings of river depths.

But the Zeebee is more than a riverboat.

“She’s really a floating sculpture in the form of a boat, and a vehicle for collecting stories,” said Emily.

The multi-media project will continue to evolve along the route aiming to bring communities together. Knowing that they are following the footsteps of explorers, writers, big gambling riverboat passengers and crews, fishermen and countless workers inspires them to continue the tradition with their own twist and recordings of their experiences.

morMorgan Rogers at the “road trip” launching in Portland, Maine on the Michi Zeebee’s deck showing the bare bones cabin that will be added to along the journey. 

Below: the first stage of the cabin as it evolved during their epic trip.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 1.41.30 PM

“It is our hope that by gathering stories on how people relate to living and working on the water in Maine and down the Mississippi River, that we will be able to connect these different socio-geographic communities,” said Morgan. “We also aim to highlight the different ways we can coexist with the environment to ensure a more sustainable further through renewable energy, adaptable architecture, and other means that we’ll discover as people share their experiences with us along the way.”


The wooden hull is covered by framed plywood, with windows cut out and images of flora and fauna from river life scrolled in. (photo above)

“The pattern will start out as a carved bevel, but as we travel the river and collect items along the way — shells, rocks, plastic bottles, and the like — we will fill the carved recesses, inlaying and coloring them with the detritus of the river,” said Emily. “On deck, in place of a traditional showboat’s stage, we will be rigging up a mechanism to create a screen from water pumped from the river. We intend to project sonar scans of the river bottom onto this water screen, bringing the rarely seen and volatile river bed to the surface for viewers on the banks.”

Most significantly for them both is that they want to raise awareness to the importance of the river and how it relates to people’s daily lives.

emEmily du Houx, framed by her designed cabin walls, preparing the Michi Zeebee for the road trip to her launching in St. Paul.

“It’s our multi-media portrait of the river,” said Emily.

Getting to the Mississippi was a journey in its own right, which started two years ago when they sketched out the first plans for their journey. A year later, after a successful crowd-funding campaign, and with a grant from the Rhode Island School of Design they started construction of their shanty boat at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine.


Emily and Morgan constructing Michi Zeebee at The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine

The wooden boat school welcomed them with open arms, helping guide them when they needed a little expert advice. Emily ended up becoming an apprentice at the shop.

Early this summer they completed the cabin. Everyone at the school felt such a part of the project, by the time the boat left the shop they’d pitched in many late nights helping the two ladies get Michi Zeebee ready for departure on June 28th from Portland, Maine.

Along their road trip to St. Paul countless cars rolled alongside to take I-phone images of the vessel as her exterior carved walls are captivating.

On July 11, they launched in St. Paul, Minnesota with plans to reach New Orleans by early September. Since then they’ve negotiated the tremendously long Mississippi barges, been through white caped waves, and anchored directly on the river, amongst other things. (Read their blog postsHere)

True to their plans, at every stage of the journey the boat continues to evolve. In Dubuque they were given the city’s flag and the community of shanty boat’s flag.

There are canvas walls that stretch over the fore and aft of the boat as doors. But one was ripped off in a violent storm. At a stop at the Convivium Urban Farmstead downstream from Dubuque, the two constructed a new door from plywood, using topographical maps as a template and they added a hydroponic garden on the roof. (photo above, read more about it HERE.)

”They not only put us up at their place, but gave us full use of their wood shop . . . We arrived just in time for the grand opening of their space, two 1920s-era greenhouses with a commercial kitchen, a coffee house, and wood shop/learning center, dedicated to creating community around food,” wrote Morgan on the duo’s blog of their journey.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 6.44.46 PM

Other planned stops include a “River Monologues” event in Memphis, Tennessee, and a final party and exhibition in New Orleans.

Their progress can be followed at the Carrier Pigeon:

They’ll publish an art book of their exposition, with the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

Emily du Houx teaches at the Rhode Island School for Design (RISD) and is an avid boater. She’s a writer, and has a Master in sculpture from RISD. Morgan Rogers is a communications specialist, and has a passion for storytelling, environmental policy, and program development.

Multi-talented dancers explores waking up in Bowdoin’s spring concert

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Article and photos By Ramona du Houx – first published in Maine Insights

The 2017 Bowdoin College spring dance concert took place on the evenings of May 4, 5, 6 and delighted audiences with inspired contemporary dance showcasing the student’s talents.

An over all theme of the dance performance explored what it means to wake up-from a dream, from sleeping while being awake, from becoming and adult or from seeing spring shake off the blanket of winter.

It’s hard to imagine the performers were not profession. Indeed one was—Bowdoin alumna Rakiya Orange ’11 was flown in to perform a 10-minute solo piece, “Nina.” Rakiya has danced solos in N.Y.C. During the spring concert she danced while a video of different movies played on a screen behind her. She used portions of the video to dance with and express her transformation into adulthood as well as aspects of love and relationships. Orange choreographed the piece (photos top of the page).

There were five different dance performances, all choreographed with great care and artistic flare. Many of the dances focused upon self-discovery utilizing a broad range of contemporary styles, and techniques.

Ben Eisenberg ’17, danced a short piece by the band Mum. His choreography captured his remarkable skills as he apparently eased his way gracefully through complicated moves, becoming one with the music.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gina Fickera ’18, took center stage as well with Joy Huang ’19 and Melissa Miura ’19 when they performed a piece that they also choreographed themselves. The avant-garde technique highlighted each of the dancer’s unification within the trio, as well as their individual styles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The department of theater and dance’s Modern I class performance centered on themes of sleep through dream sequences with a little politics interwoven in the piece. While students slumbered they slowly awoke to the daunting reality of a Trump presidency. Senior Lecturer in Dance Performance Gwyneth Jones successfully brought out the best in her students as they gave an energetic display of poetry in motion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Modern III dance piece was improvisational and reminiscent of a river waking up in spring. Assistant Professor of Dance Aretha Aoki choreographed the fluid designed enchantment. During the process she allowed her students active roles in its creation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Poems of Maria Caridad Lara Sciaky, dive deep into every woman’s soul

The work of a spirit unafraid of powerful and enduring literary fashions and taboos, these poems exhibit a refreshing sensitivity to the superficial as well as the profound trends in the history of the craft. They arise.

614pjzbiqql“The schematic structure of Maria’s poetry is very similar and best described by comparing it to a musical configuration called a fugue,” wrote Albert Sciaky, Maria’s loving husband of fifty years.

With sensitivity and chilling insights, many of poems highlight the quest of women to be free.

“Maria takes us on journeys in time — to reflect on the present. She bares her soul in verses that are compelling, and real. The poems touch a secret part of every woman’s soul. Maria connects with us through hidden worries, concerns and loves that we all might have. She lets me know I’m not alone in my thoughts and struggles to find a place to work in harmony — within a ‘man’s’ world,” said Ramona du Houx, the book’s artist. “It’s an honor to have my photographs included in a book of her amazing insightful poems. I feel indebted to her.”

The need to trust in man, but never knowing if betrayal awaits down the road is ever present in Maria’s work. In other poems she lets us get to know a man who exhibits unconditional love and whose love is equally reciprocated.

Women and men will find Maria’s poems enlightening.

“While reading Maria’s poetry, it is important to be informed that she believed she was divulging her personal and private inner self through her poems,” wrote Albert.

The torment that is evident in Maria’s soul in some of the poems is a pain many women will understand. They will forever be grateful Maria shared her inner thoughts, which gives us solace knowing we’re not alone.

They embrace tradition through rhymes evocative of song, along with the blank verse modes currently popular. To sing in verse of the universal themes in detail and in succinct lines is one of the greatest creative challenges. To offer combinations of form melded into a seamless style is a much-needed gift and guide for the postmodern culture we might think we have surpassed.

The themes in Maria’s poetry, rooted in nature’s diverse landscapes, are accompanied by the photographic art of Ramona du Houx.  All images are in color.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The editor’s preface provides personal insight into the vistas opened up in each poem.


Publisher: Polar Bear & Company

ISBN- 978-1882190-48-5

$16.95 each