Welcome to a Groundhog Day Celebration. Gertie and I are excited to share with you some fun ways to celebrate Groundhog Day. But first, what is Groundhog Day?
Origins of Groundhog Day
The origins of Groundhog Day go all the way back to a Christian feast day of Candlemas. On February 2, Christians traditionally bring candles to their local church to be blessed, which in turn bring light and warmth to the home for the second half of winter. Germany created its own interpretation and included small hibernating animals, such as the hedgehog, to help them decide when to begin planting their crops.
When the early German immigrants arrived in Pennsylvania, they brought Candlemas with them. Since hedgehogs are native to Europe, they searched for another burrowing animal, namely, the groundhog. In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania people celebrate with the famous Punxsutawney Phil who predicts the weather.
Gertie Saves the Day
One of the questions that children often ask me is why did I write about a groundhog? I have been a fan of Groundhog Day for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I would get up early and watch Punxsutawney Phil predict either six more weeks of winter, or an early spring. We had a few big snowstorms each year when I was a child. When we had a big snowstorm, schools were closed. On February 2nd I was secretly hoping that Phil would predict more winter and more snow. I loved sledding, snowball fights, building a snowman and making snow angels. Some years I got lucky with more snow and other years we had an early spring.
With my love of Groundhog Day, it seemed only natural that I would write a story about a groundhog. Since most groundhogs in stories are males, I decided to write my main character as a female groundhog. I began to wonder about the selection process. How would you select a groundhog to predict the weather. A competition sounded like a fun way to select a groundhog for this special day. After many revisions and edits, Gertie Saves the Day was ready to be published. It was a fun story to write and I am very happy that teachers, parents, librarians and children are loving this story.
Meet the Real Gertie
I did not know this at the time I wrote the book, but there is a real Gertie Groundhog. She lives in Hanna City, IL. at the WildLife Prairie Park. On February 2nd Gertie the Groundhog’s will make her official weather prediction. Hanna City Mayor Anthony Fryxell will be LIVE at the Park to deliver this news. Local musician, Barry Cloyd, will entertain the crowd with music, and teach guests the “Wake Up, Gertie” song. They will also have a reading of Gertie Saves the Day, which is on sale at their Adventure Store. I will be waiting to learn what Gertie predicts.
Here are some simple and fun ideas for a Groundhog Day Celebration
- Buy a copy of Gertie Saves the Day and share it with a child.
- Click on this link and download the FREE coloring and activity sheet.
- Play with shadows.
- Serve some Dirt Pie.
- Watch the Groundhog Day Movie
- Make a Groundhog Paper Bag Puppet
What do you predict?
Do you think Gertie or Phil will see their shadows and we will have an early spring? or Do you think they will not see their shadow and we will have six more weeks of winter? Whichever they predict, I wish you a Groundhog Day Celebration full of fun!
With gratitude …
I am glad you’re here. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am grateful that I can share my writing journey with you. It is an endless journey of learning and growing. A journey that I am enjoying.
I am now booking author visits for this school year. If you are a classroom teacher, teacher assistant, Parent Teacher Association President, or After school Director I can work with you to create a visit that will meet the needs of your students. Please contact me to book your visit.
Have you checked out my website. There are surprises everywhere. Click on the balloons and see where they take you. Can you find two writing videos? Freebies? A chocolate chip recipe? There’s even a special freebie to anyone who subscribes to my monthly newsletter. I have a number of FREE resources for children, parents and teachers that librarians and homeschooling families can download and use.
A Call to Action …
Hello! Teachers have you signed up for my FREE read aloud. February 7th is World Read Aloud Day and I will be virtually visiting classrooms and reading my book, Gertie Saves the Day. If you are interested you can connect with me here. I will be sharing more information in my next blog post.
If you have any questions or you would like to share your thoughts about this post, please leave your comments below. Thank you!