WALLINGFORD — Cheryl Bardoe’s passion for writing has made her latest book, “Babe Home: A Panda’s Tale,” a finalist in the 2022 Connecticut Book Awards’ Picture Book Nonfiction category.
“I think stories are what really bring us together, and when an organization says ‘Hey, this story helps bring people together, I think it’s always really good. view of the world, connecting people, and it’s fun,'” Bardoe said.
Bardoe earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has now written six children’s books focused on science.
“I really love the creativity and artistry of writing for kids, it’s just a special moment where the world is being introduced and books are a big part of that. So that’s what appeals to me,” says Bardoe.
In February 2020, Candlewick Press, the publisher of Beibei Homecoming: A Panda Story, contacted Bardo as the author of the children’s book, which will be officially published in December 2021.
“We developed the concept of Beibei, obviously Beibei is a very famous panda, it’s a wonderful story and we thought it would make a great picture book, so we were looking for an author,” the editorial said. Joan Powers speaks about the director of “Babe Comes Home: A Panda’s Tale”. “Cheryl, I haven’t worked with her before, but several people I know have recommended her, editor and art director. She’s also written five or six nonfiction books for kids, and they’re very compelling. Her style It’s great, and her research skills are impeccable, so she’s a great choice.”
Bei Bei, which means “precious treasure” in Mandarin, was born in 2015 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. A beloved figure at the zoo, the giant panda was relocated in November 2019 as part of a deal with China that will see all giant panda cubs born at U.S. zoos in four separate areas, according to the Washington Post. After his birthday, he was sent to a breeding program in China.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, giant pandas live only in China, mainly in temperate forests in the mountains of southwestern China, where they live almost exclusively on bamboo. They must eat about 26 to 84 pounds of bamboo each day, depending on which part of the bamboo they eat. As a species, they are currently classified as “vulnerable”, the WWF reports.
This book is published in association with the Smithsonian Institution, which reviews its work at various stages of its development. The Smithsonian museums run the National Zoo.
“They checked for accuracy and clarified certain issues,” Bowers said. “…Of course, the Smithsonian has thousands of photographs from the moment Beibei was discovered in the womb to the moment she returned to China, so we have so many visual assets at our disposal.”
Bardo, 51, who wrote the book during the pandemic, says it has helped her because it allows her to do fun things.
“We actually built and launched the project in February 2020, so it’s great to have some cute and cuddly things to work on and take the time to get to know Babe,” said Bardoe.
The Connecticut Book Awards are held annually, this year at the Hartford Public Library on October 23rd at 5pm. They recognize the best book from the previous year about Connecticut or written and illustrated by a Connecticut resident.
“Beginning in late May, all the judges had their books in hand, and they started reviewing using a set of criteria, and we had a criteria that every book type passed,” said Lisa Comstock, CT Humanities director of operations and director of Ben Book of CT Center. “The judges are all experts in literature. They can be librarians, youth librarians, literature professors, writers themselves or journalists.”
Bowers said “Babe Comes Home: A Panda’s Tale” is the perfect combination of things to create a good story.
“It has this celebrity appeal, it has animal appeal, but she goes one step further,” Powers said. “The collaboration between the two countries and the overall conservation effort to save the pandas. In fact, it touches all these different areas, and that’s what Cheryl really brings.”
Bardoe’s husband, Matthew Bardoe, a math professor at Choate Rosemary Hall, said her next steps are to earn a teaching certificate and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Connecticut. She is currently interning at Maloney High School in Meriden.
But she’s still writing and coming up with new ideas.
“I really love the stories that relate to science, history and math, just bringing a lot of footage to the kids,” she said. “As a children’s book author, you interact with young people a lot…I’m excited about the idea of going into the classroom full-time and using what I know as a writer to help children build their voices.”