Whimsical and fun, fairy houses are imaginative structures that kids create outdoors with sticks, twigs and more to attract mythical fairies. And in a new book by Maine author Liza Gardner Walsh, the little houses become an activity for every season.
“Fairy Houses All Year: A Four-Season Handbook” recently was published by Down East Books and joins Walsh’s other titles including “Fairy House Handbook,” “Fairy Garden Handbook” and “Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows?” She also has written non-fairy books including “Muddy Boots” and “The History of America’s First Fort Knox.”
For her, the art of fairy house making isn’t just about the whimsy; it’s a great way to get kids outdoors.
“My mission is really getting kids outside as much as possible. … Kids can get outside not just in the summer when you traditionally think about fairy houses,” Walsh said. Ultimately, the activity book, which includes fairy lore, recipes for foods fairies might enjoy and fairy house tutorials, is about “extending the magic of fairyhouse building all year.”
The inspiration for this installment in her fairy series came from her first fiction book, “Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows?”
“‘Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows?’ was kind of an answer I had to where do the fairies go in the winter,” Walsh said, explaining how that got her thinking about fairies in all the seasons. The new book takes advantage of the seasonality of nature, using colorful leaves and pumpkins in the fall and snow and ice in the winter.
Ideas for the imaginative and creative activities often come from her experience with children. She has been a preschool teacher, children’s librarian, writing teacher, museum educator and high school English teacher.
“It’s projects that come up from working with kids. … Things that kids are asking about or intuitively lean toward,” said Walsh.
Among her favorite fairy activities is one inspired by something she did while working at a preschool.
“I really enjoy making fairy beds. It’s a great activity because you can do it in any season,” Walsh said. “[At the preschool the kids] were doing these lovely lilac-filled fairy beds.”
It struck Walsh as “such a pretty idea to nap in a fragrant place.”
“Fairy Houses All Year” is available where books are sold including the Owl and Turtle in Camden, where she’ll have a launch party from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Walsh, who has a busy summer planned visiting libraries and bookstores for book-related events, also will have a book signing and fairy house workshop at The Briar Patch in downtown Bangor from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, June 18.