In Nutt’s debut, a magical encounter with fireflies helps a young girl overcome her fear of nighttime shadows. When Amy notices the glow outside her shadowy bedroom, she goes on a nighttime foray armed with a jar. Her childish enthusiasm and excitement are palpable as she collects the fireflies, the jar lighting the way back to her room. But, “With her eyes on the jar, / from the base to the rim, / she was suddenly saddened, / for the light had gone dim.” Unscrewing the cover for a closer look frees the fireflies, and they regain their glow. And with their light outside, Amy is finally able to relax and sleep. . . . The illustrations blend the realism of photographs with the softer look of paint, creating a whole that is warm and shows depth and texture. His artwork excels at portraying the contrast between shadow and light, with the light sources positively glowing. Sweet, with lovely artwork.
– Kirkus Reviews (April 2010)
From the opening lines of his brief prologue, Robert Nutt transports readers into the warm, seemingly endless evenings of summer, evoking idyllic memories of childhood past. Written in sweet, simple verse, perfect for reading aloud, Amy’s Light is a dazzlingly illustrated tale of a young girl who, fascinated by the dancing of fireflies that illuminate the night outside her window, triumphs over her fear of darkness and ventures out, drawn to their glimmering lights. The digital illusions Nutt has created with the photo-illustrations of his daughter Amy are utterly enchanting and intensify the magical allure of this picture book. The book closes with additional information about fireflies and a note from the author, as well as instructions for downloading a Flash video version of the story, narrated by Nutt’s other daughter, Christina.
– The Bloomsbury Review (Summer 2010)
“Amy’s Light follows Amy on her journey through an especially dark night. We start with Amy’s terror as she hides from the shadows on her walls and end with her realization that she has within herself the ability to keep the shadows at bay. On this path, we discover and explore and learn about the world around us while working through Amy’s fear.
Even amid Amy’s fright, the light of fireflies draws her outside where she dances in the joy of the mysterious wonder. Amy captures the fireflies in a jar and brings them back to her room to help illuminate the darkness, but in captivity, the fireflies being to dim. Amy, realizing this, lets them go and discovers she doesn’t need them after all.
Amy’s Light is highly recommended for younger children who love discovering the wonders of nature. It’s playful rhyme and succinct text makes it approachable and fun to read aloud, and the photo-illustrations based on the author’s daughter will draw children in and help them relate to the main character. Customers can expect to read this one many times over.”
— New Age Retailer – P. J. Hoover (March 2010)
This is a charming tale that will connect children to nature; a delightful story that captures a summer evening. Having just crawled into bed, Amy is afraid of the tall shadows in her room. She sees a glow from outside her window, and sneaks out to discover the joy and beauty of the fireflies that are lighting up the night sky. She traps some in a jar, realizes that they are growing dim, and sets them free. Told in lyrical poetry, the author has created the magic of lightning bugs. His photo-illustrations capture Amy’s fear, delight, and joy. Did You Know provides information about fireflies. Readers can find out more about how to protect and preserve these creatures at The Firefly Watch website (www.mos.org/fireflywatch). Readers can also download a free flash video from the publisher’s website. This book will be an inspiration to children who have never experienced lightning bugs, and will deliver a fond memory from childhood for those who known their joy and delight. Teachers and school librarians will find this link to nature a welcome addition their classrooms and media centers. Recommended.
– Library Media Connection (October 2010)
Amy’s Light is a beautiful children’s picture book about an amazing discovery of fireflies and their light by a little girl who was previously afraid of the dark. Appropriate for children ages 4-10, Amy’s Light is a delicate story told in verse and enhanced with “digital illusions” created by the talented author using photos of his daughter, also named Amy. Amy’s Light contains fascinating additional information about fireflies in addition to the inspirational message in verse and images. Two natural science programs of interest that are mentioned are Firefly Watch, sponsored by the Museum of Science in Boston, and Firefly Files, created by Dr. Marc Branham, a leading entomologist studying fireflies. Included in Amy’s Light are instructions to download the story narrated by Amy’s sister, Christina in Adobe Flash Player format.
– Midwest Book Review (March 2010)
Using enhanced photographs of his daughter enacting the story line, Nutt tells of a girl named Amy who becomes scared of the dark until she sneaks outside to capture some fireflies in a jar. Their light dims in captivity; no longer afraid but fearful for their safety, she sets them free. . . beautifully rendered photo-illustrations. . . .
– School Library Journal (April 2010)
A little girl nervous about nighttime shadows suddenly notices a glow beyond her bedroom window and discovers “billions and zillions of flickering lights.” She slips outdoors and captures several fireflies in a “warm glowing jar.” When their lights go dim, though, she realizes that the little bugs can shine best when free and releases them, watching dreamily as they flicker away. Robert Nutt’s verse and photo illustrations beautifully capture that magical quality of fireflies and summer nights. Too often static photos fail to convey a sense of story flow, but Nutt’s digitally enhanced photo illustrations succeed as stunning images that dynamically illustrate a narrative. Two added bonuses: a “Did You Know?” page with facts about these luminescent beetles and the knowledge that the child so tenderly featured is the author/illustrator’s own daughter.
– Washington Parent – Mary Quattlebaum (July 2010)
Synopsis: (From the Publisher’s Web Site): Remember the wonder and innocence of catching fireflies as they dance through the summer nights? Here is a wonderful opportunity to share the magical experience with your children and also talk about nature, insecurities, and challenges. Amy is afraid of dark shadows in her bedroom, but notices a slight glow in the back yard. With exuberance she catches fireflies in a jar, only to find their lights go dim until they are free again-and that her fear of the dark is gone. The photo-illustrations of the author’s daughter are lifelike yet dreamy. A wonderful read-aloud.
Why This Book Fits into the Reach And Teach Family: While walking in Sausalito one day quite a few years ago, we encountered a young child who was harassing a bird, throwing down some crumbs and then kicking at the bird when it tried to grab for the crumbs. I stooped down near the bird and said to the boy “Please don’t do that, you’re scaring the bird and you could hurt it.” The boy’s father stepped in and gave me a piece of his mind for interfering with his parenting. Children may not realize that what they think is fun can be harmful. Yet having adults like me scolding them is not always the best way to share the wonder and awe and love of nature. Thank goodness for publishers like Dawn Publications! Amy’s Light is one of our favorites of their wonderful titles.
First, the book deals with a very real problem many children face… being afraid of the dark. Next, the book provides moments of awe and wonder at the magnificence of nature. Then, the story shows what happens when we think only of ourselves and take advantage of other creatures for our own security or pleasure. And finally the book shows that each of us can learn from, and undo mistakes.
This book fits into the Reach And Teach family because it does all that in a lyrical and mesmerizing way, rather than in a scolding or pedantic way. This is a winner of a book if you want to cover topics including:
Fear of the dark or being alone at bedtime
Nature, including insects
Humane treatment of other creatures
Learning from mistakes
Why We Love This Book: The word “mesmerizing” is not one we use very often. It is the perfect word for this book. When we first picked it up we were mesmerized by the illustrations, poetry, and the story. We’ve watched as people pick the book up in our shop and can’t put it down. There are many books people pick up in our shop or at events, and then put back down. Some books make us laugh at how many people pick them up and put them down. This one, however, rarely gets put back down. If the cover catches someone’s eye and interest, or if we’ve listened to the customer’s needs and hand them this book, it rarely remains in the shop. As people in the business of selling books, we like that!
The illustration style is very unusual, a combination of photography and illustration, with the author/illustrator’s daughter as the model. One of the ways Dawn Publications has always captured our attention and imagination is through the wide-eyed awe that children in their books exhibit through their illustrations.
Robert Nutt uses poetry to weave the story with a style similar to “A Night Before Christmas,” with a rythm that makes it a wonderful read aloud.
— Reach & Teach – Craig Wiesner (August 2012)
5 star – highest rating
What It Is: In this delightful, beautifully illustrated book, the author takes readers back to a time of innocence, of “riding bikes and skinning knees, of endless days and porch swing nights, watching flickering dancing light.” The story tells of a young girl who’s afraid of the dark in her room but then discovers the magical light of fireflies through her window. She then runs downstairs to a sight of spectacular beauty – millions of glowing lights that she captures in a jar, takes to her room, and eventually sets free.
The story is told in simple, rhyming text, and would make a soothing goodnight story. The artwork – photographs taken by the author of his daughter that have been digitally enhanced to resemble paintings – glows in the pages, and the illustrations are particularly noteworthy for their simplicity. The author includes a valuable “Did you know?” afterword, which provides interesting scientific facts about fireflies, as well as website links.
Why You Should Carry It: Adults and children alike will be enchanted by the gentle message of this nostalgic book, a story that inspires young and old to share the delights of nature together. This is a book children are likely to ask for again and again.
What Kids Think: Emma, age 5, really enjoyed this story, especially the part where Amy was able to capture the fireflies in her hands. She also liked the way the fireflies look almost like fairies in the pictures.
— Toy Directory Monthly (July 2010)
The storyline and imagery may seem to border on the chimerical, but what takes place in Amy’s Light is a summertime occasion that adults can recollect with the same childlike wonder, joy and fascination as the main character, Amy. Considering that fireflies live mere weeks (a fact I picked up in the book’s “Did you know?” section), it really is incredibly exciting to see these bioluminescent insects flicker their goods in the evening air.
Set to soothing rhyme, the narrative situates Amy as a young girl scared of the shadows on her bedroom wall. Light emanating from outside her window lures her to the yard, where she captures lightning bugs in a mason jar. Taking them to her room, the glowing insects help dispel her fear of the shadows. At this point, animal ethics come into play as captivity wanes the fireflies’ radiance and Amy . . .
. . . ran to the window
Jumping for joy,
took the lid off to see
Amy watched with delight
and the lights became brighter
as they flickered and flackered
now suddenly set free
and flew out of sight.
Overall, this is a whimsical, attractive picture book with a sound message that will inspire your kids to explore nature’s nocturnal gifts. Robert Nutt is not only the author, but also the artist and his picturesque, doctored photographs are simply gorgeous. See a flash video of Amy’s Light and discover other “Connecting Children with Nature: titles through Dawn Publications.
– Vegbooks – Carolyn M. Mullin (July 29, 2010)
Amy’s Light takes the reader back to a simpler time, one that is a bit foreign to children today. But it offers a story all kids can relate to: Amy is afraid of the dark and goes in seek of light, which comes in the form of fireflies. The peaceful, gentle rhymes and soft illustrations will slowly lull kiddies into their own bright dreamland. . . .”
-- OC Family Magazine – Kristen Schott (April 2010)
Amy’s Light is a delightful story about fireflies and a little girl who is afraid of the dark. Amy lies awake in bed frightened of the dark and shadows on the wall until she sees a strange light out of her window. The light is provided by numerous fireflies. After capturing some in a jar she goes back to her bedroom where the light from the fireflies has gone out – until she sets them free. No longer afraid of the dark, Amy goes to sleep.
The rhyming text and excellent illustrations make for a good nature book for children. At the end of the story there is an informative “Did You Know?” section about fireflies.
While the little girl in the story set the fireflies free, a better message children should be given is to enjoy fireflies in their natural environment and not to capture any – even for a short time.
– Metroland – Glenn Perrett (November 2010)
In bed at night, Amy peers from under her covers at the dark shadows on the wall. But what is that flicker of light from the window? As she discovers the source of the mysterious light in her own backyard, she also learns something important about herself. The light, like many things in life, is something to be treasured but not contained, appreciated but always free. Here is a story to light one’s evenings any time of the year.
– Stevo’s Book Reviews (August 2010)
This rhyming story centers on a realistic and relatable main character whose fear turns into wonder as she is introduced to a curious light. Amy’s discovery creates a warm feeling on a dark summer night. She may be able to carry this light wherever she goes, but will it last forever? Amy values the light more and more as it remains with her even when the darkness returns. This story emphasizes the discovery of simple, natural, ordinary wonders. As Amy follows the unidentified light, readers will have a feeling of discovery and peace while joining in her illuminating the night.
– Oneota Reading Journal (November 2010)
“It’s amazing what you find inside by looking outside.”
Inspired by a yard filled of fireflies during a summer night’s walk…Robert Nutt has created an amazing book written to spark the light in us all, Amy’s Light. Robert’s daughter Amy, who is so beautifully portrayed through his photo-illustrations, has become frightened by the shadows on the wall of her bedroom. When she sees a flicker of light coming from her own yard, she is filled with hope! When Amy learns about the light, she also learns a lot about herself.
Amy’s Light was the inspiration for the Alluem Kids Little Kid Class this weekend. The kids were completely captivated by this book and were excited to work on their Firefly Jar pictures. They filled (drew) their jars with what brings them light in their lives…what makes them smile…what makes them feel safe and warm. Family, pets, hearts, and…night-lights (some took it a little more literal . We then of course practiced our Firefly poses!
– Alluem Kids – A Journey into Children’s Yoga (April 2010)
(four star – highest rating)
Amy’s Light is beautifully written and the illustrations are as magical as the words. For all of us who spent so many evenings enjoying the sight of tiny lights moving through a dark summer sky, this book s a delight to be shared with the children in our life again and again.
Amy is afraid of the dark until she sees the fireflies dancing outside her window and through them, discovers her own inner light. Amy’s Light “offers an ideal opportunity for adults to dialogue with children about nature, insecurities, and challenges.”
— About Families – Bobbi Carducci (May 2010)
“It was a time of innocence.
A time of “kick the can” and climbing trees,
of riding bikes and skinning knees,
of endless days and porch swing nights,
watching flickering dancing lights.
It was a time to remember.” – Robert Nutt (Amy’s Light)
As soon as the evenings grew warm, S. began asking, “Is it firefly season yet?” And just as he got settled into bed, he would run back to the window for one last check. A few nights ago, as he lay sleeping, his dad and I saw the first flickers. We made plans to celebrate the following night with an outdoor reading of Amy’s Light. Satch put on his pajamas, grabbed a glow ring, listened and waited for the lights.
Amy’s Light by Robert Nutt is an enchanting story that truly reflects the wonder and innocence of childhood through the magical experience of catching fireflies. The illustrations are beautiful beyond words, lifelike, yet dreamy. The moonlight, the glow of the fireflies reflecting in the little girl’s eyes…BREATHTAKING!
The generous peeps at Dawn Publishing are allowing me to giveaway a copy of Amy’s Light to one very lucky reader…and you have no idea how happy this makes me.
– Mother Rising (motherrising.blogspot.com) (June 14, 2010)
A winking swarm of mountain fireflies lit the path to Greensboro resident Robert Nutt’s first book.
Nutt, 49, and his wife, Cindy, were walking in a quiet neighborhood during a stop in Asheville when they came upon a house with a yard full of “lightning bugs.” Soon after, Nutt, wrote the story of discovering wonders in the night, not fear, in the children’s book, Amy’s Light.
The image of fireflies also hearkens back to Nutt’s boyhood. A father of two daughters, Amy, who inspired the book’s main character, and Christina, the Sioux City, Iowa, native is one of four children. Nutt recalls playing with fireflies just as his daughter, Amy, enjoys doing now.
In the book, Amy is afraid of the dark but finds light just outside her bedroom window as fireflies flitter in her yard. She finds a jar, ventures outside to catch them, then quietly makes her way back indoors. Her once-dark room glows with the light of the flies until it begins to dim. She sets them free through her window to discover that her room is no longer dark.
Nutt, who works full time in commercial arts as a creative director at The Design Group in Greensboro, describes the book as “an inner adventure.”
“As with some artists, you don’t always plan it as much as you just let it flow and follow it,” Nutt says.
Asked if Amy really is afraid of the dark, he says, “I think everyone is afraid of the dark – afraid of what we don’t know or understand. But, it’s really only your imagination, and once you let your eyes adjust, you see that it’s all the same, just in different colors; your imagination plays the biggest part.”
A strong imagination and a prior interest in children’s books helped Nutt develop this first one. One of his early inspirations was The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg’s tale of a magical train that made a special visit to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
As a child, Nutt read the usual children’s books, including Dr. Seuss and Go Dog, Go! and reads similar books to his own children as well as more advanced works that pique their interest and enhance their language and reading skills.
Nutt admits to being an illustrator at heart, although he works on projects ranging from photography to video to accounting. The artwork in Amy’s Light consists of vivid illustrations created from digitally edited photographs. The pictures have the realistic quality of photos, but with soft edges resembling paintings. From the glow of the fireflies to the wisps of Amy’s hair, there’s a clear attention to detail that draws readers into the pictures as they read the rhymed couplets that tell Amy’s story.
An educational piece at the end of the book provides more information about fireflies.
Amy, 9, was around 5 or 6 years old when the photos for the book were taken. While the fireflies were placed in the illustrations digitally, being her dad’s “model” gave her a chance to use her imagination to pretend to play with the glowing swarm. “It was fun because it was like being in another world; a world of fireflies,” she says.
The book took her father several years to complete, but there were small reminders along the way to finish the job. One night as he was walking, a firefly flew in front of him during October, well past the time of year when they usually appear. In another instance, one landed on his leg while he sat on his porch . “It was as if the fireflies were telling me, ‘Don’t forget about us; keep going.’”
Finally, Nutt had everything in order, from a PDF, or portable document format, of the complete book and hypertext links to a promotion trailer and story reading/animation with his older daughter, Christina, 11, narrating.
“A week and a half later, during a thunderstorm,” Nutt says, “I rushed home after work to unplug the computer so it wouldn’t be damaged by the lightning. A loud boom and flash of lightning hit really close and the phone rang once, which usually means it’s hit the phone line. But it rang again. My wife answered the phone and said, ‘It’s a man from California.’”
Dawn Publications, based in Nevada City, Calif., and known for books that aim to share nature with children, wanted to publish his. It seemed a perfect fit.
Amy says she really likes the book and thinks it would be fun to see her dad write another, possibly about her sister and butterflies.
“I never expected I would be in a book,” Amy says. “I always imagined other people in books, but I never imagined I would be in one.”
“It’s about more than just being afraid of the dark,” her dad says of the book’s message. “It’s about finding that special gift or talent or ‘light’ deep inside, like that of the firefly, and not containing it, but sharing it with others.”
– Greensboro News & Record – Stacie Bailey (April 4, 2010)
If you are younger, do you like to go out at night and “catch lightning bugs” in the early summer? Or if you are older, do you have fond memories of “catching lightning bugs” when you were a child (or perhaps with your own children)? I certainly do. Amy is a little girl who is afraid of the shadows on the wall in her dark room when she goes to bed. Then suddenly she notices a strange light shining. When she jumps up and looks out her window, she sees what appear to be bits of starlight dancing around. So she finds a jar, goes outside, catches some, and brings them back to her room. But what will happen? Will they continue to shine, or will they fade?
With his gently rhyming text, author Robert Nutt perfectly captures the childhood joy of gathering fireflies. He says that one evening he and his wife were walking down their street at dusk on a summer’s evening when they saw a yard full of dancing, flickering lights. At that moment he knew that he was going to write about it. He also took the photographs of his own daughter which form the beautiful “digital illusion: type of photo-illustrations for Amy’s Light. In addition, there is a page of “Did You Know” facts about fireflies or lightning bugs in the back. . . .This Sharing Nature with Children Book from Dawn Publications is certainly a keeper.
– Homeschoolblogger.com – Wayne S. Walker (February 2010)
My book is about a little girl named Amy who wishes that it was daytime. She goes outside and catches fireflies in a jar. She takes them to her room but the lights dim. She lets them go and they light up again. The illustrations are nice because they look like somebody’s real house. I think that Robert Nutt did a very good job illustrating this book. I love looking at Amy’s face on the front cover and all the other illustration in the book. My favorite part was when Amy let the fireflies out of the jar and they lit up again because Amy learned something. I think it is cool that the fireflies would not light up in the jar, only outside of the jar. I would recommend Amy’s Light to little kids because they might understand how Amy feels and it might make them want to catch fireflies and see if they dim their lights.
– Coop. Services for Children’s Literature (CSCL)
I.B., Kenwood School – Third Grade (May 2010)
Amy is scared of the dark. The shadows on the wall are at least twenty feet tall. Suddenly she sees a faint flicker of light from the window! She runs down the stairs and opens the door to a closet that she had never opened before. She reaches for a jar and runs outside and sees a wonderful sight. There are lots of fireflies to light her way. She gathers them in a jar and runs back to the house and up the stairs to her room. She hoped that nobody would find out her secret. Then she noticed that the light in the jar started growing dim. What happens when she takes the lid off the jar!
Robert Nutt came upon the idea for this book when he and his wife were walking down a peaceful street in North Carolina. They came upon a house with a yard full of dancing, flickering lights. He did the story and the wonderful pictures in this book.
-- The Nashville News – Mary Barrett (June 9, 2010)
A young girl named Amy discovers that fireflies’ light can help her overcome her fear of the dark. Photo-illustrations in vivid, warm, and glowing hues accompanied by rhyming verse create a gentle and soothing tone, making this work a suitable choice for bedtime. . . .
– New Jersey Youth Services Book Evaluation (February 25, 2010)
Tucked in her bed on a warm summer night, Amy is mesmerized by the shadows dancing on her walls. She jumps out of bed and looks out her window.
Out in her yard
such spectacular sights….
billions and zillions
of flickering lights.
The magical light of fireflies draws Amy out into the yard.
Now she ran, then she jumped,
as she gathered with glee,
first thirteen, then sixteen,
and now twenty-three.
Amy admires her jar of fireflies, but quickly becomes sad when they stop shining their beautiful light. Amy soon realizes that in order to be truly happy and full of light, the fireflies need to be free.
She ran to the window,
took the lid off to see,
and the lights became brighter,
now suddenly set free!
Robert McNutt’s beautiful book also has interesting and educational back matter. Readers will learn what inspired this story and also lots of firefly facts. Did you know that there are over 200 species of fireflies in North America and over 2000 throughout the world?
View the book trailer for Amy’s Light here.
As Robert Nutt and his wife walked down the street in Asheville, North Carolina, he was inspired when he saw a house with a yard filled with flickering lights. That night as he lay in bed, Robert began writing Amy’s Light. “It just started spilling out of me, and I wrote it down,” Robert said. As an experieiced designer, he used pictures of his own daughter as the basis of the photo-illustrations for the book. Amy’s Light is his first book.
— Wild About Nature Blog (wildaboutnaturewriters.blogspot.com) – Kim Hutmacher (June 2010)
The book Amy’s Light is the story about a girl named Amy discovering the magic of fireflies.
Cayden: “I liked when she got out of bed when it was dark out and looked out the window and saw all of the stars lighting up outside. Then I liked when she got a jar out of the cabinet and went outside and caught the fireflies! We see fireflies when we go camping with dad. I don?t think we have ever caught any though. We should bring a jar with us next time we go. That girl in the book sure caught a lot of them! My favorite picture was when she let them all go in her room!”
Amy?s Light by Robert Nutt is one of those books that takes you back to your childhood. I love the words on the opening page of the book: “It was a time of innocence. A time of “kick the can” and climbing trees, of riding bikes and skinning knees, of endless days and porch swing nights, watching flickering dancing lights. It was a time to remember.” This is a wonderful book to share with that special young person in your life!
— Kid’s Reader Views – Cayden Aures (age 5-1/2) and Mom (March 2010)
. . . Amy’s Light is written in verse and illustrated by Robert Nutt. Amy is a little girl who is awakened to respond to the lights outside which are fireflies or lightning bugs. Amy is enchanted by what she sees and races outside to capture some lights in a jar she has ready. Then Amy delights as she releases her catch and watches their lights darting around the summer night. . . .
– Weatherford Daily News – Dee Ann Ray (March 12, 2010)