Friday, December 4, 2009


(TOP collage: me and my first rock, 1971, (which is right in front of me now after moving back and forth across our country with me a few times)..illustrates why the 10 rules are important: it's ="a special rock that you find yourself and keep as long as you can---maybe forever"...
and the second photo is Peter Parnall's illustration for Rule Number 9)

after the responses from robyn's post "tied up with string" on her blog ArtPropelled, i realized more than ever that Byrd Baylor had it right in 1974 when she wrote the book "EVERYBODY NEEDS A ROCK"...not just me, and not just children.
this book was part of an annual ritual in my classroom, with beach rocks piled in the center of our circle, i'd read this book to seven year olds (before we'd head out to find rocks, tell stories of rocks, draw rocks), and it began

'everybody needs a rock.
i'm sorry for kids who don't have a rock for a friend.
i'm sorry for kids who only have tricycles, bicycles, horses, elephants, goldfish,3-room playhouses, fire engines, wind-up dragons,and things like that--
if they don't have a rock for a friend.
that's why i'm giving then my own TEN RULES for finding a rock...
not just any rock.
i mean a special rock that you find yourself and keep as long as you can--
maybe forever.
and some of the ten rules follow:

'bend over.
even more.
you may have to sit on the ground with your head
almost touching the earth.
You have to look a rock right in the eye.
Otherwise, don't blame me if you can't find a good one.'

a rock.
Rocks have smells.
some kids can tell by sniffing whether a rock came from
the middle of the earth or from an ocean or from a mountain
where wind and sun touched it
every day for a million years.

you'll find out that grown-ups can't tell these things.
too bad for them.
they just can't smell as well as kids can.


  1. Great collage - I see why you were attracted to your first rock! And I appreciate the introduction to this book and the concept of having ones own rock. My first rock was a perfect sphere which fix perfectly in my hand, found at a beach, and kept in a special box for decades. Then for some reason, I let it return to the earth... I loved your wrapped rocks and this header too!

  2. So wonderful, these rocks and the rules! Every reason in the world to find one's rock, one's special rock...what a delight for children to have had this book read to them!

  3. the book ...the rocks i love the thoughts here.and what a great image...I imagine you were a very special teacher!

  4. I love this website:

    Rocks are wonderful.

  5. Now that's a classroom ritual I would have loved at school. How wonderful! Everybody needs a rock... I totally agree.

  6. Yes, the Rock is of utmost importance in my life ... that illustration is so intriguing.

  7. Yes with out the rock..What would we be..I am so glad I found you.
    I love the story.
    Take care,

  8. send me your snail mail Neva, I have something for you! xo

  9. you know this will resonate with me for sure-- with my mutual love for rocks--they are becoming more and more a part of my home decor--Robyn's post of your rocks was wonderful as well as the ones I have from you here-- I have even wrapped a few myself now!

  10. That excerpt from Baylor made me travel. When we were kids we went with our mom to work at a historical enactment settlement. My little brother was facinated with rocks, clam shells, sticks and such. Since there wasn't TV, or many toys, that's what he loved to play with. He still has his rock collection.

  11. Oh... I have always loved this book and reading what you did with your students... the age that I am teaching now... you have inspired me. Roxanne

  12. This is a great piece of writing and carries such a good message. I think we could all be happy if we found ourselves content with having rocks as friends!