These stories written by our VCWC members will delight younger readers and spark their imagination and interest in the world around them.

Cristina Steiner

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly

William, a studious and curious North Dakota boy captures a Monarch butterfly for show-and-tell at school. To his amazement the butterfly can speak and pleads for her freedom so she can fulfill her life destiny. She convinces William to accompany her as a passenger. There is a catch: William must shrink to a miniature boy to be able to ride on Anka’s back. Intrigued he agrees. Whisked away on the wings of a butterfly, a whole new world unfolds for William. Together, they fly from North Dakota to the Oyamel fir forest in central Mexico. William learns lot about Monarch butterflies, about survival, and about himself. Friendship and trust keeps both out of harm’s way. This story is about one of nature’s most amazing wonders – the curious life-cycle and incredible migration of a fourth generation, eastern Monarch butterfly.

Fantastic Travels is a spirited mixture of adventure and science that will appeal to kids 5-10. The migration patterns of the Monarch are truly unbelievable, and Steiner’s book adds a wondrous layer of magic and adventure to their story, teachings kids along the way. ―SPR Book Review/ Lisa Grant

Get ready for a magical tale for children and former children everywhere. This is one of those rare books that not only appeals to all ages, it quietly educates the reader without making it obvious. Trust and adventure combined with healthy doses of geography, history and biology make this enlightening journey special. Along the way, William and the amazing butterfly teach us unforgettable lessons about life and death. As the Monarch says about her fellow butterflies, “Our appearance brings joy to human hearts and brightens their day.” This book will do the same for you. ―Ken D.

Shimji, The Channel Island Vixen

Shimji, a young Channel Island vixen dreams to go where no Island fox has ever gone: to the place her ancestors came from thousands of years ago. By talking to a sea lion named Malibu and a seagull named Topanga, she finds the island’s harbor and stows away on a boat headed to the California coast. During her adventure on the mainland, Shimji befriends wild and domesticated animals. She learns from their different ways and thus gains knowledge of the world. Her curiosity satisfied, Shimji longs to return home only to be discovered by humans. Scientists want to send her to a zoo. Can Shimji escape and find her way back to her island home?

Shimji, the Channel Island Vixen is a thrilling adventure about the only carnivore unique to California.

The Sad Tree and Pronuba

The desert is a lonely place for Joshua, a tree who has never seen another tree like him. He ass everyone in his environment to help him find a companion…but although the desert loves him, nobody can help. Things change for Joshua one beautiful spring night when a tiny moth comes to visit. This exquisite story tells about the life-cycle relationship between the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.

Author Christina Steiner, with the illuminating illustrations by Mary Manning, has created more than just a children’s book that makes a fine bedtime story and fantasy: she has introduced the field of biology and reproduction to children in a way that they can gain an early appreciation for the ongoing maintenance of the beauty of their planet while understanding plant and insect life and nature’s forces in general. Written in an elegant but reader-friendly fashion, THE SAD TREE AND PRONUBA is a step above other books written with children in mind. ―Grady Harp

A more perfect ending could not be found than the one that is in this book. The list begins with “Thank you, Pronuba for bringing me happiness” and goes on to thank nature itself from the moon and stars to the wind, sand, stones and rock. I love the planting of the virtue, gratitude. This beautifully illustrated well written book easily engages and educates the young reader. It offers a simple way to talk about the more complex science of life cycles. Many teachable moments unveil themselves because questions will arise naturally. The Joshua tree and the little Pronuba moth need each other and look out for each other. The little moth along with the moon that smiled, the stars that agreed, and the wind, sand, and stones were given feelings that softly land into our hearts. Powerful. ―Susan Brougher

About the Author

Christina Steiner was born and raised in Switzerland. In the late seventies, she settled in the San Fernando Valley, California and raised her two daughters. All her life she was a passionate reader. When the children were grown she went back to school and received a AA degree from Moorpark College, California in General Studies – Social & Behavior Sciences and earned a Diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from the Institute of Children’s Literature West Redding, Connecticut
She earned multiple awards for her short stories and poetry, was featured in centennial edition West Winds Centennial of the California Writers Club, the Moorpark Review and received an honorable mentioning from Writer’ Digest for a juvenile story.

Steiner is a nature enthusiast, who loves to hike and ride her horse Xena and play with her dogs. She lives in Ventura, California. When she is not on the computer, she helps her partner make wine and raise Chesapeake Bay retrievers. Spending time with her two grandchildren inspires her to write enchanting stories to introduce young readers to the amazing natural world.