Shala’s Other Writing

Like every writer you’ll ever meet, I have several works in progress, including a historical fiction novel set in 1880s Boston and a chapter book series about a rabbit who hunts dragons.

I’ve been working on both for years. Funny thing about writing. Sometimes the book you’ve worked on the longest isn’t actually the book you end up publishing first.

My Actual First Books: The Caterpickles Parenting Series

Both books in the Caterpickles Parenting Series are a natural extension of all the writing I’ve been doing about fostering curiosity in children (and their parents) on my blog Caterpickles.

What’s That, Mom?: How to use public art to engage your children with the world around them… without being an artist yourself
ISBN: 978-0998289106

BookCover for What's That, Mom: How to use public art to engage your children with the world around them... without being an artist yourself by Shala HowellEvery time your child asks you a question, what he or she is really doing is inviting you to have a conversation. Even better, your child is telling you exactly what he or she wants to talk about. All you have to do is allow yourself to participate.

But what do you do if your child wants to talk about something you don’t know anything about, like art?

Fortunately, you don’t have to know all the answers just to have a conversation.

What’s That, Mom? provides 15 accessible, practical strategies for using public art to spark conversations with children between the ages of 3 and 10 — no artistic talent or insight required.

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What’s That, Mom?: Field Notes from Your Encounters with Public Art out in the Wild
ISBN: 978-0998289137

The wonderful thing about public art is that it is all around us, sparking our children’s curiosity and prompting conversations.

The terrible thing about public art is that it’s art, and art feels like one of those subjects you can’t talk about unless you have a degree in it or a talent for making it.

This journal is designed to offer families a structure for exploring public art together. My hope is that this journal will help you deepen your relationship with your children and build memories that your entire family will recall fondly later on. If in the process, you can convert public art from something you exclaim over vaguely into something you actively explore, so much the better.

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What’s Next?

The next installment in the Caterpickles Parenting Series, scheduled for release in 2019, will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can handle their child’s curious questions without enrolling in a college-level refresher course.

Find My Books

In addition to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major online book retailers, my books are available locally through Blue Bunny Toys & Books in Dedham, Massachusetts, and nationwide through






My Blogs

I have three blogs, because of course I do (they are all on different topics so it must be ok). The first I’ve already mentioned, Caterpickles, where I write about fostering curiosity in kids.  The second is this one, BostonWriters, where I chat about books and the writing life.

For a brief, but happy year while we still lived in Massachusetts, I was privileged to be allowed to scour the archives at my local church. You can find a few of the tidbits I dug up there at Once Upon a Time in Needham.

My Other Publications

I’ve also written location-specific Caterpickles posts and original articles on traveling with kids for the vacation rental site Dwellable. Select Caterpickles posts from our time in Massachusetts have also appeared on the Norwood Patch, a hyper local news site based in Norwood Massachusetts. I’ve also written on environmental and sustainability issues for Together Yes, a Massachusetts-based environmental group.

Most of my work on optical networking and such is unsigned (ah the travails of life as a technical writer), although if you are really motivated, you can use the Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine to find some old articles I wrote for Group Computing Magazine ( back in 1998-1999 under the name Shala Phillips.


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