Kearney teachers put science and fun drawings into weather lore book | Local News



KEARNEY — As Jan Jones began drawing a frog for the book ‘Let’s Explore Weather Lore,’ the animal began to take on a life of its own.

“I was sitting in the kitchen drawing this frog and I started adding color to it. … It was like he was starting to talk to me, and he had this big full-on smile. teeth on his face. I just started having fun with it, and we laughed at developing a relationship with the characters I was drawing,” Jones said.

The frog illustration is one of many animals that feature in the children’s book written by Sandra Hanson and illustrated by Jones. The couple worked together at Horizon Middle School in Kearney. Hanson is currently a seventh grade science teacher and Jones retired from teaching the arts in 2015.

“Let’s Explore Weather Lore” focuses on the different types of lore associated with animal behavior and how it may or may not predict the weather.

Jan Jones, courtesy

Every year, Hanson did a weather unit in his science class, and it ended with a weather project. Hanson contacted Jones to help with student projects.

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“One year it was rain sticks, and Jan helped them design how to make the rain sticks. One year they could choose if they wanted to do a watercolor drawing or if they wanted to write a poetry libretto. There were a lot of choices they could make. It took the art teacher to assist the science teacher because it was kind of a cross-curricular thing that we were doing,” Hanson explained.

The weather unit has always been one of Hanson’s favorite units to teach, and she had been talking about writing a book for a while. In 2015, she took the plunge and started working there.

“It all comes down to weather lore, and that’s how do they predict what’s going to happen with the weather. Ours is based on animal behavior,” Hanson said.

Hanson wanted Jones to illustrate the book for a while, and when the COVID pandemic hit, it gave Jones a chance to slow down and start working on drawings.

In order to depict how toads can move from their ponds when there may be movement in the water due to earthquakes, Jones depicted a toad rolling up a lily pad and driving off in a moving van.

“There was kind of a humorous side or a playful, lighthearted side to science,” Jones said.

Jones spent March to June 2020 working on the artwork.

“It was his idea and his dream and I wanted to do him justice,” she said.

Lets explore weather traditions

Sandra Hanson and Jan Jones examine the illustrations in their book “Let’s Explore Weather Lore”. Hanson wrote the book and Jones is the illustrator. The duo worked together for years as teachers at Horizon Middle School in Kearney.

Jan Jones, courtesy

They turned the book into a publisher on July 2, 2020, and it was accepted the next day. However, due to the pandemic, things have moved very slowly. The book finally hit newsstands in September 2021, and it can be purchased in hardback, paperback, and electronic form.

Hanson and Jones will be signing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Sequel Bookstore at the Hilltop Mall in Kearney and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 4 at Solid Rock in Kearney.

They hope to enter schools to share the book with students to learn more about the weather, but also the process of writing, illustrating and publishing.

“Some have already asked us to come and read the book with them. We would like to get a copy to libraries so they can have this resource,” Jones said.

The duo plan to write a second book together on weather lore, but for a slightly higher level of understanding, Hanson said.

When it comes to their partnership, the two agree that they couldn’t have asked for more.

“Our ideas froze. It really turned into a fun, collaborative project,” Jones said.

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