Having Fun With Science

Since I last posted, I’ve had a great time researching and writing science books for elementary and middle school readers. I’ve learned about the technology that makes it possible for cars to reach speeds of over 300 miles per hour and the rockets that blast off into outer space. There are six titles in the Speed Zone series, which you can check out here: https://jumplibrary.com/shop/show/13347 Below is the cover of one book in this series.

Can you imagine what it’s like to be an explorer in the Arctic or Antarctica? Things sure have changed since the earliest days of polar exploration. As a geographer, I am fascinated by everything from the animals and plants that live in these extreme environments to the ways in which modern-day scientists spend their free time at research stations near the South Pole. Grace Helmer created such stunning illustrations for my book Penguins & Polar Bears: A Pretty Cool Introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic. You can see more at https://us.gestalten.com/products/penguins-and-polar-bears — but here’s one of my favorite spreads!

I’ll post again soon with some more fun stories and photos. In the meantime, keep reading and reach out if you have anything you’d like me to post on. I love hearing from you!

Crazy Colors!

I am delighted to celebrate the release of six books about amazing coloration within the animal world. Published by Pogo Books, the series is called Science Behind The Colors. They are geared for readers in Grades 2-5. But the photos will appeal to everyone who sees them!

Want to get a closer look of some of the interior spreads of these books? https://jumplibrary.com/shop/show/11418

Colombia — New Book Release & Adventures

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. But I am determined that this is the time to change my slow blogging tendencies. On August 15, my new book on Colombia comes out in the Cavendish Square Exploring World Cultures series. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

Last summer, before I wrote this book, I had the opportunity to travel with my husband, son, and a dear family friend who is from Colombia. Pilar was the perfect guide — she shared stories, foods, and the beautiful culture of the country where she grew up. She never minded all the questions I asked and had so much energy and enthusiasm for every place we visited and every activity we tried. We went to incredible museums, watched local parades, and even ran into the president of Colombia when having lunch one day! The two graffiti tours we went on in Medellin and Bogota gave a snapshot of art and life in these complex cities. Visiting the produce and flower market at Paloquemao was a feast for the senses. And as a vegetarian, getting to try so many delicious new fruits was fantastic!

Here are some photos that were highlights from my time in Colombia. I cannot wait to return!

Graffiti Art Colombia

Flowers at Paloquemao Market

Pineapple Flower Display – Medellin Flower Festival

Colorful Flower Display – Medellin

La Paletteria — Popsicles in Colombia

Some of the incredible variety of Colombian fruits

Treats from a candy vendor in Bogota

El Peñón de Guatapé – Made it to the top!


Hello and Happy Holiday Season! It’s been a wonderful autumn here in upstate New York. I’ve been able to work on many different projects on topics from historical figures to music trivia to smartphones to rainbows. So for me as a writer, it has been fascinating to learn lots about so many topics.

I  just got my first glimpse of the cover of my Australia book coming out next month. Having lived there for two years, this project was a labor of love and made me nostalgic for the people and places of this incredible continent. The book is geared for elementary aged readers and covers topics including sports, food, animals, and much more. Here’s a sneak peak at the cover:


And in case you want to see any pictures from my Australia days, here are a few:

Rainbow lorikeet


Me with crimson rosella on my head in Blue Mountains

Animal Allstars

This summer my new book Animal Allstars: African Animals Facts And Folklore was released.  I’m really excited about the gorgeous illustrations by award-winning illustrator Florian Bayer. The book includes basic information about all kinds of cool African animals from the fiesty honey badger to the sleek and stealthy cheetah. But there are also traditional folktales and other fun facts about the various animals as seen by different peoples living throughout Africa. Want a sneak peek? Check out some sample spreads from this book!



Summer 2017 Releases

It seems the spring came and went and in the midst of a frenzy of writing, it was my blog that was left behind. Since the new year started, I have written 13 books on topics ranging far and wide — from biographies of rap artists to books about our government to engineering titles that explain how some of America’s most famous landmarks were built. I have learned a load along the way and am excited to share some of my upcoming titles with readers.

Here are my summer 2017 releases, with their release dates by month — Ask your local library to add them to their collection or pick up a copy for yourself! I’d love to hear your thoughts…

July 2017

Pythagoras (Jr. Biographies from Ancient Civilizations)

Moses (Jr. Biographies from Ancient Civilizations)

August 2017

Hot Coal Walking, Hooping, and Other Mystifying Circus Science

Stems (A Closer Look at Plants)  


Roots (A Closer Look at Plants)

Leaves (A Closer Look at Plants)

24 Hours in a Lake (A Day in An Ecosystem)

24 Hours in the Taiga (A Day in An Ecosystem)

Kenya (Exploring World Cultures)

Zimbabwe (Exploring World Cultures)

The Boomslang Snake (Toxic Creatures)

The Puffer Fish (Toxic Creatures)

Lewis and Clark and Exploring the Louisiana Purchase (Primary Sources of Westward Expansion)

ESP, Superhuman Abilities, and Unexplained Powers (Paranormal Investigations)

Animal Allstars: African Animals, Facts and Folklore


Happy New Year! January Releases To Check Out

Hello and Happy 2017 to Everyone Reading This Post!

Wanted to give a heads-up about my 8 books coming out either today (January 1) or later this month. They range all kinds of topics from countries to Calamity Jane. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the titles you get a chance to read. And remember, you can always ask your local library to get a copy of the book for you 🙂

ewc-france-cover ewc-israel-cover ewc-italy-cover




Beavers cover

Abraham Lincoln, Books, & Really Big Bugs

Last weekend I went to the last of my summer library visits. Driving up to Southworth Library in Dryden, NY, I was impressed with its beautiful architecture.

Southworth Library in Dryden, NY

Southworth Library in Dryden, NY

When I spoke to the library director, Diane Pamel, she shared the library’s fascinating history with me. It turned out that many years ago a member of the library board owned an original copy of the victory speech from Abraham Lincoln’s second presidential election. He bequeathed this document to the library. Fast forward to the early 2000s. The library sold the document at auction through Christie’s, earning over $3 million. They used the money to completely renovate and expand their library. Awesome idea! A copy of the original hangs in the library today.


A copy of one page of Lincoln's 1864 Victory speech

A copy of one page of Lincoln’s 1864 Victory speech

I had a great time sharing my book Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-faced Spider:When Cunning Hunters Collide with an enthusiastic audience of young readers.

Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-faced Spider cover

Garett and Chris from Grey Biological were on hand to share all kinds of creepy critters from Madagascan hissing cockroaches (available to hold and pat) to a red-rumped tarantula (that stayed in its cage).

Red-rumped tarantula

Red-rumped tarantula

We had a great time — I look forward to returning to this great library!


Me with Garrett and Chris from Grey Biological

Me with Garett and Chris from Grey Biological

Fall Releases

This season’s round of new releases is super exciting to me. I have 10 books due out this month. They are on a wide variety of topics. There’s something for everyone — see what would interest you…

Culture & Geography

EWC Brazil coverEWC Nigeria cover South Dakota book cover

Gross & Creepy Animals

Brain Eaters cover Nature's Undead cover

Science for Younger Readers

Fruits and Vegetables Explained cover Deciduous and Coniferous Trees Explained cover The Language of Cats cover

Middle Grade Fiction

A Time For Change cover (color)

Mythical Creatures

Trolls book cover




Summer Library Visits

What a summer it has been — it’s hard to believe that the month of July has come and gone. Kids in some parts of the country are already back to school! But many young readers are happily still in vacation mode. I’ve been able to meet lots of them at some of my summer reading events. Librarian Sara Knobel received a grant to bring me to four public libraries in Central New York in connection with my book Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-Faced Spider: When Cunning Hunters Collide.

Assassin Bug vs. Ogre-faced Spider cover

I shared this book aloud at all of the library events and also did some Q&A — with both the kids and the adults who brought them to these fantastic events. Garrett and Chris of Grey Biological brought some live bugs to share at some of these library visits. I gathered my courage and held a variety of creepy critters, including a vinegaroon, a Madagascan hissing cockroach (which hissed at me while running up my arm!), and even a large rose hair tarantula!

Holding a Madagascan hissing cockroach

Holding a Madagascan hissing cockroach

Holding a rose hair tarantula

Holding a rose hair tarantula

I also had a terrific time visiting the Red Jacket Community Library in Shortsville, NY. This visit was related to my multicultural picture book Francisco’s Kites. The kids in the audience and I had a great time making — and flying — kites, as well as eating kite-shaped cookies. (These childrens’ mom gave me permission to use this picture.)

Children making kites at Red Jacket Community Library

Children making kites at Red Jacket Community Library

Kite cookies at Red Jacket Community Library

Kite cookies at Red Jacket Community Library