You Nest Here With Me

Heidi and I wrote this book about eleven years ago, sold it to the very first editor, the marvelous Liz Van Doren. And we did a couple of good revisions with her. She loved the book. Then Harcourt imploded and Liz was without a job. She became an editor of adult books. Nest languished five years at Harper where we did a couple more (bad) revisions for a different editor who never loved the book. And then the mss. was put aside. We got the rights back and Liz had found a new job several years later at Boyds Mills. She called me up and said, “Whatever happened to. . .” and when I told her it was back in our hands, she bought it AGAIN. We did several more revisions, did four or five just on the back matter alone! Then we waited three years for the marvelous Melissa to have room on her super-busy schedule. And  boy! are we glad. eleven years from start to finish. And you thought publishing a children’s book was a walk in the park!


  • One of Barnes and Noble’s 12 Best Picture Books for Children, March 2015
  • On the 2016 Children’s Choices List
  • Center for the Book Honor Book choice

Around the web:

What reviewers have said:

  • “[YOU NEST…] is a charmer written by the mother-and-daughter team Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple. The authors have chosen a bird’s nest to sug gest a child’s comfy bedroom and have ex tended the metaphor over 30 pages. . .The book’s three creators share a consuming interest in birds (just look at the bird catalog on the last two pages). They’ve come up with a bedtime book warmed by the comforts of home. But it also does the best possible job of encouraging children to be come bird-watchers for life.”—John Lithgow in the NY Times Book Review
  • “As she puts her daughter to bed, a mother shares a soothing rhyme about birds that nest in places far and near. Each rhymed triplet is followed by the repeated assurance: “But you nest here with me.” Sweet’s watercolor and gouache landscapes reveal adult birds watching over nestlings. Coots hide in cozy cattail reeds; terns wheel above cliffs; plovers explore sandy shores. Each vista includes many details for viewers to ponder. Older listeners (or adult readers) can find additional information about the featured birds in two pages of authors’ notes, which encourage prospective bird watchers.”–School Library Journal
  • “For those who want to use bedtime as an opportunity for learning, Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple have teamed up with illustrator Melissa Sweet for You Nest Here With Me (2015), a fascinating and enlightening work about the nesting habits of different species of birds. The lyrical text and gentle refrain “You nest here with me” will settle restless young folks.”–School Library Journal
  • “Swallows nest above barn doors, / Plovers nest on sandy shores, // Eagles nest upon high tors, / But you nest here with me.” With an easy cadence and a comforting anchor, Yolen and Stemple drift from cowbird to killdeer, bedding down winged creatures while always returning to the safety of mom and home. Sweet’s illustrations, done in watercolor, gouache and mixed media, use a soft palette of blues and greens in double-page spreads that capture the essence of each bird. The text and the images work well together, balancing the mood of quiet comfort with avian description. With a variety of nest types, the birds show that “home” can be wherever your loved one is close by. Although it has clear application as a bedtime book, there is also a nature book hovering in the wings. The authors’ note provides information such as diet, markings and locations on 14 different birds. The images of each bird’s egg and feather along with its silhouette will surely captivate budding ornithologists.  As a whole, the book ably carries readers past many flying friends and lands with ease in a safe nest.”–Kirkus
  • “Frequent mother-daughter collaborators Yolen and Stemple, whose previous books include Not All Princesses Dress in Pink, offer a gentle rhyming bedtime story that spotlights 14 birds’ nesting habits and habitats. At bedtime, a human mother lulls her own “nestling” to sleep with verses that flit from bird to bird, before concluding with a reassuring refrain: “Pigeons nest on concrete ledges,/ Catbirds nest in greening hedges,/ Tiny wrens, in shoreline sedges./ You nest here with me.” Caldecott Honor artist Sweet’s (A River of Words) mixed-media illustrations portray familiar types of birds (pigeons, swallows, owls) alongside lesser-known killdeer, grackles, and coots, capturing their urban, seaside, wetland, or forest environs in bright swaths of watercolor paint and soft pencils. Some vocabulary (boles, tors) and observations (“Killdeer, once their eggs are laid,/ Perform a broken-wing charade”) invite further investigation; concluding notes provide explanatory details (“To lure predators away from their eggs, killdeer act like easy prey by faking a broken wing”) and other information about each bird. A well-crafted and informative window onto the world of winged creatures.”–Publishers Weekly
  • “A lovely new good night book that is also a celebration of birds. With rhyming text a mother recounts the various ways that birds nest and reminds her child “But you next here with me” a refrain that is both comforting and enabling of the child to participate in the telling. Information on each of the birds that Melissa Sweet so delightfully illustrates can be found on the end pages. The warm hues, especially of blues, adds to the gentleness of this glorious book.”—Capitol Choices
  • “In this bedtime book that begs to be enjoyed over and over again, master writer Jane Yolen and her daughter and fellow birder, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, offer a rhythmic and cozy story that doesn’t disappoint. Rhyming couplets often are a mixed strength in children’s books, but in You Nest Here with Me—part field guide, part bedtime story—the language and refrain are spot on. Unique word choices and lovely depictions of birds and their nesting sites keep the warm and fuzzy story from being too cloying. . .Illustrator Melissa Sweet uses mixed media and brilliant, clear shades of watercolor and gouache to create collages that are a feast for the eyes. From seashore to mountaintop, from wetlands to forest, birds find places to nest and rest.The story’s end is all the reassurance that any child needs, especially at bedtime. . . .” Comfort and the opportunity to learn and grow seamlessly combine, appealing to parents and children alike.”—
  • “It’s a picture book conceit that never gets old: a parent and child look to animals to see the ways they mirror human habits. Books that show how animal parents carry, feed, and comfort their young appeal to many kids, curious about wild creatures, but anchored in their parents’ laps.“You Nest Here With Me” is an expert example of the genre… It’s a bedtime book full of warmth that connects children with the larger world while affirming their particular, cozy place within it.”–Boston Globe