Bonnie J. Doerr, author of Island Sting and now Stakeout, reveals why she writes eco-adventure books for kids.

Bonnie and baby hawksbill sea turtle

Why do I write contemporary eco-mystery/adventures? Every creation begins with a vision, right? So what stimulated my vision? A combination of observations and experiences led to my genre choice. I realized there exists an endless supply of gorgeous picture books to support children’s innate love of animals and nature—their wonder and delight with all things wild. Parents support this fascination by buying these books and reading with their young children. But, for a variety of reasons, somewhere around age ten or eleven infatuation with nature often disappears. I choose to believe it simply slips into dormancy.

My dream is to rekindle that spark of wonder and fascination with wild things by providing fun, fast-paced stories featuring young teens as environmental heroes. I write stories that organically show, rather than tell, young impressionable readers how fragile our environment is. I write especially for ages ten to thirteen. Readers this age are shaping enduring personal goals and values. The challenge is to entertain the audience without their being aware of the author’s parallel intent—at least not while they’re engrossed in the action.

I’m deeply saddened by the vast separation between today’s children and nature. A condition defined by Richard Louv as “nature deficit disorder” in Last Child in the Woods. While I can’t drag kids out into the wild, I hope to simulate outdoor experiences through stories—call it nature-immersion by novel. I spend time in the specific environments and around the animals about which I write, and also with the heroes who work to save these threatened or endangered animals. I hope my excitement and passion transfer to the page—that the adventures and mysteries in my novels will stimulate readers to commune with nature in reality and reconnect with the natural energy that sustains our lives. 

The importance of this connection has been forgotten, underrated, or at the very least misunderstood. Until humans personally interact with nature, it is unlikely they will care much about it. If we are to inspire an ecologically sensitive generation, a generation enriched with mental and physical health, then we must offer a treasure chest full of varied enticements to encourage interaction with nature. My hope is to add one little tool to that treasure chest (and encourage literacy while I’m at it). 

We cannot sustain ourselves without first sustaining our planet. If a child is to lead,  gatekeepers must first open the door. 

As part of the Authors for Earth Day coalition, I appreciate the opportunity to share my vision. I hope everyone will enjoy Stakeout, my sea turtle mystery, which is making its debut.

Bonnie J. Doerr is the author of two middle grade novels. To learn about her book Stakeout, its precursor Island Sting, and more, visit www.BonnieDoerrBooks.com and follow http://bonnieblogsgreen.blogspot.com/.

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