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.

Almost Wordless Wednesday: How to make a writer happy

Look, Mom, someone I don’t know yet read my book! Continue reading

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“Can cats smell stress?”

I can tell my daughter is growing up because she’s starting to experience a bit of emotional turbulence again. She knows we love her regardless, but sometimes she’s not sure about our cat, Canelo. He is not always patient with … Continue reading

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Wordless Wednesday: Math Doodles

Looks like my daughter’s been reading Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci again. Related Links:  Book Review: Blockhead by Joseph D’Agnese (Caterpickles)

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What’s The Ten-Year-Old reading this week?

Oh my goodness, it feels like forever since I’ve done one of these. I may have failed to tell you about The Ten-Year-Old’s reading life, but that life has been rich and full of books nonetheless. Let’s see if I … Continue reading

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Wordless Wednesday

We are missing our friends and family in Chicago today, so thought I’d post this picture from our last visit to the Field Museum this past summer. Related Links:  More Wordless Wednesday on Caterpickles

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“What’s the line in a fraction called?”

While we were at lunch last week, The Ten-Year-Old’s mind turned to fractions, as fifth grade minds are prone to do. She had learned in school that the top number in a fraction is called a numerator, while the bottom number is the denominator, so naturally she wondered what the little line in the middle was called. Continue reading

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Happy belated Thanksgiving!

I’m having a BlackFriday sale! Now through Cyber-Monday, you can get my new book, What’s That, Mom?, for 20% off (Amazon only). Continue reading

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Wordless Wednesday: November flowers

No, seriously. We still have flowers here. Posting may be erratic for a bit, due to unpacking + NaNoWriMo + Thanksgiving (we’re hosting this year, so unpacking feels both urgent and important). Related Links:  More Wordless Wednesday on Caterpickles Remaining … Continue reading

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“Are artichokes and pine cones related?”

Since we’ve moved to California, I’ve been mildly obsessed with pine cones. This is why. Although I prefer to think of these pine cones as POUSs (Pinecones of Unusual Size), the locals refer to them as widow-makers. When we moved … Continue reading

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“We just got here, Mommyo. Why are you packing all those bags?”

Last week, as I was sitting down for a bit of pre-dinner reading, I had what I thought was a bout of dizziness. Then one of my books toppled over, and I figured out that what was actually rocking me in … Continue reading

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