Author Archives: Shala Howell

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book, Did Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?, is currently planned for release in 2018. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.

Hey, my book’s out!

We here at BostonWriters are in the process of moving to California. But before we go, I wanted to let you know that the first installment in my new parenting series is finally available. What’s That, Mom? uses the proven case-study … Continue reading

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Review: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Throughout history we have used salt as a currency and prized it for its ability to preserve and flavor food. In Salt, Mark Kurlansky rewrites world history as the story of man’s access to this now common, but once highly prized, commodity. Continue reading

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Great first lines: Another Louise Penny Edition

From The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny: “Kneeling in the fragrant moist grass of the village green Clara Morrow carefully hid the Easter egg and thought about raising the dead, which she planned to do right after supper.” Related Links:  More … Continue reading

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Review: The Land of Love & Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique

Tiphanie Yanique’s debut novel is as much about the island of St. Thomas itself as it is about the various generations of the Bradshaw family who inhabit it.   Continue reading

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Memorable quotes from somewhere in the middle of a book: The Anthony Trollope edition

From The Warden (1855), the first of the Barchester Chronicles by Anthony Trollope: “Scandal at Barchester affirmed that had it not been for the beauty of his daughter, Mr. Harding would have remained a minor canon; but here probably Scandal … Continue reading

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July’s To-Read Pile

Ah, summer. Time to catch up on some of those books I’ve been neglecting. Here’s are a few of the books in my To-Read Pile. Lucifer: Children & Monsters Author: Mike Carey Art: Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly Publisher: Vertigo, 2002 … Continue reading

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Summer Reading List: Great Books by Native Writers

This morning I came across an excellent rant by Debbie Reese (@debreese) bemoaning the fact that Sherman Alexie is the only Native writer anyone has ever heard about, when in fact there are lots of great Native writers out there. Here are a few that I can’t wait to read this summer. Continue reading

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My Year in Books

I’ve been using Goodreads to track my reading for years now. I look forward to the year end statistics report every December. It’s fun to see how the numbers stack up. I also like to quickly scan the book covers to … Continue reading

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Review: Lady Catherine’s Necklace by Joan Aiken

Lady Catherine’s Necklace By Joan Aiken Thorndike Press, 2000 This variation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, is set a few years after the events of Austen’s original. Lady Catherine and her daughter, Anne, are residing quietly at Rosings Park … Continue reading

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Unforgettable First Lines–The Louise Penny edition

From Still Life, the first of Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries: “Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday. It was pretty much a surprise all around.” For the record, Penny has a pretty … Continue reading

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