A4ED Kid-Driven Donations Surpass $50,000

happy-facesSmiles abound! Cheers to Team ’16! From the United States to Israel, thousands of eager students were inspired by this year’s amazing line-up of A4ED authors: Dan GutmanLinda Crotta Brennan, Jody Feldman, Miri Leshem-Pelly, Peter Lourie, Patricia Newman, Miranda Paul, Jeanie Franz Ransom, Barb RosenstockAmy Ludwig VanDerwater, Elissa Brent Weissman, Brooke Bessesen and Debbie Dadey (whose homecoming event was covered in USA Today’s The Gleaner).

Our goal for 2016 was to push total A4ED contributions past the $50k mark and WE SUCCEEDED! It is quite extraordinary to consider that, in the bit-by-bit style common of grassroots, we have now donated over $50,000 to help sustain habitats, wildlife and human communities around the world!

Importantly, our participants give more than money—we also expand children’s creativity and knowledge. A4ED school visits offer students the opportunity to research various conservation organizations and apply critical thinking to determine the value and efficacy of each. postersMany librarians enhance that learning experience by having the kids cross-educate via PSAs, posters and presentations and students often emerge better informed about environmental issues and initiatives than many well-read adults! These bright students collectively drive our donations. And in 2016, as always, they voted to fund a wide range of causes.

Some of the winning organizations employ global strategies, while others focus on local concerns, yet, whether protecting our planet, educating the public, funding research or caring for animals in need, all of them strive for a better world. Congratulations to this year’s beneficiaries: Rhode Island Audubon Society, Wilderness Haven, Ocean Conservancy, Messinger Woods, Tifft Nature Preserve, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Blue Water Baltimore, Greenpeace, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee, World Wildlife Fund, Pandas International and Defenders of Wildlife.

Most of those organizations gave back to their young supporters with thank you letters and materials for school libraries. What a joy to see generosity come full circle!

As we wrap up another successful year, we give heartfelt THANKS to all who support us! We are truly grateful for the sponsorship of school librarians, principals, teachers, parent associations, grant committees and literacy advocates—those who make it possible for our authors to connect with young readers through books and school visits.

If you would like one of our participants to visit a school in your community, please visit our A4ED website to learn more about our outreach. We also welcome you to the A4ED Facebook page for eco-minded books, ideas and events.

And if you explore the pages of this A4ED Blog, you will discover a plethora of thought-provoking essays by illustrious KidLit writers…

Happy summer reading!

Brooke Bessesen, A4ED Director

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INNOVATIVE RECYCLING: HOW STUDENTS BUILT A SCHOOL OUT OF TRASH by award-winning non-fiction author, Suzanne Slade

suzanne-blog 2New books ideas seem to find me when I least expect them. And that’s exactly what happened when I spied a colorful, plastic wall sparkling in the sunlight at the annual Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. in 2011. As I walked toward the towering plastic structure, I noticed children stuffing plastic bags into old soda bottles with sticks. The trash-filled bottles were stacked inside a wood frame to create a wall. When I discovered this display demonstrated how children in Guatemala built their own school out of trash, I knew without a doubt I had to share this incredible recycling story with young readers!

So I introduced myself to the woman running the exhibit, Laura Kutner. As it turns out, Laura was a teacher at the school made out of trash (the Escuela Oficial Urbana Mixta de Granados) and had been an important part of the entire construction process, from idea to completion. I asked Laura if she would consider co-authoring a book about the school’s innovative project with me, and thankfully she agreed.

The beauty of this recycling project is that the students creatively used one problem (their growing piles of trash) to solve another problem (their overcrowded classrooms.) This project began in 2007, when the tiny Guatemalan town of Granados (population 847) was becoming overrun with trash created by products arriving from other countries. The village didn’t have any garbage dumps or recycling centers, so their trash piles were continually growing. Also, their elementary school was becoming more and more crowded. Two grades had to squeezed into one classroom, and two students shared each desk.

The situation looked hopeless until someone suggested this crazy idea — what if they built new schoolrooms out of their trash? No one knew if the idea would work, but everyone was willing to give it a try. Over two hundred children, along with teachers, parents, and grandparents, helped with the project.


First, the students collected over six thousand bottles. They carefully washed the bottles and set them in the sun to dry. Then the children filled each bottle with about two hundred and fifty old grocery and chip bags. Two hundred and fifty! They called the stuffed bottles eco-ladrillos, or eco-bricks. The bottle stuffing process took six months and most children ended up with blisters on their hands. Next, the eco-ladrillos were stacked between chicken wire fastened to a metal frame to create the walls.

After fifteen months of hard work, their ugly trash had turned into a beautiful school! When the school was finished, the village threw a huge fiesta to celebrate. Their new school started with one crazy idea, but it became a reality due to hard work and teamwork.

TH-sodaBottleCover-final.inddI’m excited that Laura and I were able to share this school’s inspiring story through our book, The Soda Bottle School: The True Story of Recycling, Teamwork, and One Crazy Idea, which received the 2015 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. It’s been very rewarding to hear how the Guatemala school project has inspired other students and classrooms to find new, creative ways to recycle.

[FYI: I’m also pleased to say my author proceeds from the book are being donated to fund new bottle schools through a nonprofit organization called Hug-It-Forward. Laura is donating her portion to Trash for Peace, a nonprofit organization which promotes environmental education and ideas for upcycled/recycled projects, such as awesome recycle bins made out of plastic bottles. Recycle Bin instructions can be found on the Trash for Peace website, and a free Teacher’s Guide for the book is available on my website.]

Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of more than 100 nonfiction books for children. Honors include an NSTA 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Book for The Inventor’s Secret and California Reading Association Eureka! Silver Award for Multiply On The Fly.” The House That George Built was a Junior Library Guild Selection and Friends for Freedom  a CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book. Find all of Suzanne’s books at www.suzanneslade.com.


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Green Earth Book Award winner Patricia Newman shares how she inspires kids to rethink their plastic consumption

patti-newman-blogAn article in my local newspaper made the first ripples in my imagination for a book on ocean plastic. In 2009, the SEAPLEX team from Scripps Institution of Oceanography mounted the first expedition 1,000 miles into the North Pacific Central Gyre where currents trapped a mass of plastic. The team left San Diego to search for garbage the same day the article was published.

The nonfiction author in me wanted to know more. I followed the expedition via a blog that the graduate student scientists updated daily. The more I read, the more convinced I became that the expedition had all the makings of a great read. Mystery, adventure, and tragedy.

The scientists on the expedition studied various aspects of the ocean. I chose three. Miriam Goldstein examined how plastic affected the rafting community—the animals that hitch rides aboard floating debris. Darcy Taniguchi investigated phytoplankton—microscopic plants that provide the oxygen for nearly two out of every three breaths we take. Chelsea Rochman untangled the complex chemicals in plastic and whether they influenced marine life.

I knew that the strength of a prospective book lay in their hands, but would they allow me to interview them for several hours? At the time, I had no book contract and no guarantee that their story would be told. I had to convince them to share their successes and failures, and to communicate the passion that made them leave home for 21 days to scoop garbage from the sea.

Newman coverDuring the research and writing process a new idea took hold: What if Plastic, Ahoy! helped readers change their habits? And what if my readers then changed the habits of others?

Now that Plastic, Ahoy! is a Green Earth Book Award winner and was a finalist for the AAAS/Subaru Science Books and Films prize, the idea to change readers’ habits seems obvious, but at the beginning of a new book nothing is obvious.

I continue to hear from readers who want to make a difference. One 5th grade class made reusable grocery bags from old t-shirts, and abandoned plastic cutlery in the cafeteria in favor of regular silverware that they wash every day. A first grade class calculated the amount of trash they threw away in their lunch room, and as a result changed from Styrofoam trays to reusable ones. An eighth grade English and Social Studies class wrote position papers on ocean plastic, and held mock debates about microbeads during their state capitol field trip. Activities like these increase kids’ depth of knowledge, moving them beyond simple recall and skills/concepts to strategic and extended thinking.

Plastic is the one ocean problem over which kids have power. They can encourage restaurants to ditch their auto-straw practices. They can remind parents to bring reusable bags to the grocery store. And they can download the microbeads app to be sure their soaps and toothpastes are plastic-free. Kids can be change agents, and Plastic, Ahoy! proves it.

Patricia Newman is the author of many books for young readers, including Jingle the Brass, a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Smithsonian-recommended book; and Nugget on the Flight Deck, a California Reading Association Eureka! Silver Honor Book for Nonfiction. Visit www.patriciamnewman.com for details.

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A HUG FROM MOTHER EARTH by Barb Rosenstock, author of several award-winning biographies for children

barb-outsdoorsEight years ago now, I found my way toward writing for children while researching the book, The Camping Trip that Changed America. Despite the book’s subject matter, I am no outdoorswoman. Soft beds, indoor plumbing and restaurants seem like essentials to me. My suburban-self struggles to reduce my carbon footprint or some days, just stop using disposable cups. But the connection with nature expressed in my first book runs far back to about first grade.

little-barbAt that time, whenever there were struggles to solve or thoughts to think, I tramped across a few acres of farmland to a hidden creek. After pushing through a wild raspberry thicket, I’d hear the sound of “my” waterfall. Seated on a mossy log, watching water rush past a dam of broken branches, I daydreamed and worked out my childhood problems. Observing tadpoles, leeches and catfish, I learned that all living things have their purpose and their struggles, not just first graders. Like a hug from Mother Earth, an hour or two by the creek made the world fall back into place.

As a biographer, I know that many of history’s most important thinkers and dreamers were healed and influenced by time outdoors—Theodore Roosevelt on horseback in the Dakotas, John Muir hiking over glaciers, Ben Franklin swimming the Charles River, Thomas Jefferson surveying Virginia’s hills, Vincent van Gogh tromping through meadows. Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so. Of course, the past’s lack of technology required a life so close to nature that it’s difficult for us to imagine; but many of the world’s most famous scientists, artists and writers spent a significant amount of time outside doing nothing more than thinking and wandering.

Just as the future of the natural world depends on our children’s help, our children need nature. The idea that most of today’s children don’t spend enough time outdoors worries me about the future. Can we expect them to care about clean water, soil and air if they haven’t seen, touched or smelled it? Can wandering be taught in school? Probably not, but I hope we soon grow brave enough to allow children to find their own natural ways through the gift of unstructured time—time to wander down a trail, tramp around a field, discover a waterfall and be pulled into the enveloping hug of Mother Earth.

camping-tripBarb Rosenstock has written several award-winning children’s books, including The Camping Trip That Changed America, which illuminates the history of the American National Park system. In 2015, her picture book The Noisy Paintbox about abstract artist Vasya Kandinsky earned a Caldecott Honor. Barb is also a multi-year participant in Authors for Earth Day doing special school visits. Learn more about Barb and her wonderful books at www.barbrosenstock.com.


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ARCTIC STORIES by adventurer and award-winning nonfiction author Peter Lourie

peter-lourieWriting about the earth’s wild places for twenty-five years led me to the Arctic.  In 2004, Dr. Paul Shepson from Purdue University wrote me into his National Science Foundation grant—he was measuring various pollutants in the Arctic atmosphere using a big red helium balloon. Every spring “Shep,” as he’s known by friends and colleagues, takes a few graduate students to Barrow, Alaska, literally the top of the world and the most northerly town in the United States. The only way to get there is by boat or plane.

On my first trip, his students launched the big balloon during polar sunrise in March, and I captured the story in a kid’s book about climate change called  Arctic Thaw.  I soon returned on another NSF grant, this time to capture multimedia stories of native people, scientists, and local residents living and working on the North Slope. We presented a range of videos that capture the Arctic environment, how it is being studied, how it is changing, what the impacts might be, and, most importantly, what life in this beautiful part of the planet is all about.

p-l-booksI went on to write Polar Bear Scientists and Whaling Season for Houghton Mifflin’s Scientist in the Field series.

Now, returning twice to Barrow this year on NSF grants, I’ve embarked on the most exciting work of all—helping Iñupiaq Eskimo students in the Barrow schools tell their stories and the stories of their elders using the tools they love: iPhones, GoPros, audio and video recorders. They are telling stories of the world they know, the world of whales, walrus, caribou, wolverine, polar bears, seals, and disappearing ice.

The Arctic, a bellwether for climate change, appears to be warming at a rate more than twice that of the planet as a whole. One of the main reasons is that as the sea ice melts, it impacts the reflectivity (“albedo”) of the surface and accelerates the warming. The impact of this warming is likely to be profound, including a loss of habitat for a wide range of species reliant on the nature of the ocean/sea ice interface, and changes to ocean circulation and climate.

The Iñupiat have lived in this part of the world for thousands of years.  Their cultural knowledge is rich and deeply ingrained in their daily lives.  In the long dark nights of winter as folk sit around coffee machines preparing for the spring hunt by sewing bearded seal-skin umiaks, people swap stories about animals and ancestors.  They laugh and they cry about all the changes happening to their environment. Visiting scientists rely on this personal and cultural knowledge of the Iñupiaq guides and elders whom they enlist in their scientific work.

The beauty of the Arctic, its precious and fragile nature, its critical role in maintaining a stable climate for the planet, and its rapid rate of change must be conveyed to the general public. My project with Iñupiaq kids in Barrow will do just that. We’ll soon be launching a website to highlight the digital stories that Barrow students produce so they can put a human face on Arctic life.

Their locally produced stories will be tales from the heart of the Arctic. With any luck we’ll create a digital record that will be around for generations to come.  And when there is much less sea ice and even some of the animals have disappeared, we’ll be able recall what it was like here since the beginning of the planet.

Peter Lourie has authored dozens of award-winning nonfiction titles to help young readers explore the world. A true adventurer, he has traveled to all kinds of wild places to research his books—from the cloud forest of Ecuador in search of Inca treasure , to Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya on the Ethiopian border, to Tierra del Fuego, and the jungles of Rondonia, Brazil. Learn more at www.peterlourie.com.

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Jewell Parker Rhodes, a Coretta Scott King Author Award Honoree, shares insight into her middle grade book Bayou Magic, set after the BP oil spill

jewell-rhodesI’ve always loved Louisiana—its people, culture, and landscape. I’d just finished writing Ninth Ward, a novel about the human and environmental disasters caused by Hurricane Katrina and the levees breaking. To my horror, the evening news was filled with images of the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion—flames leaping, fire boats spraying water, plumes of black smoke, and crude oil falling like rain and spreading over the Gulf waters. Eleven rig workers died in the explosion and more than two hundred million gallons of crude polluted the environment. To date, the Deepwater Horizon Spill is the worst oil disaster in history.

Researching Bayou Magic was hard. Traveling to the Gulf, I could see firsthand how fisheries and animal habitats were deeply scarred and ruined recreational visits to the Gulf as well as hundreds of local businesses.

bayou magicI wanted to create a heroine who uses her intelligence and magical powers to rescue her community from environmental catastrophe. Madison Isabel Lavalier Johnson (Maddy, for short) was born. Maddy is a symbol of hope and my personal praise-song for all the young people who care about being good stewards of our air, land, water, and the Earth’s natural resources.

Louisiana, in particular, has always been subject to severe weather and environmental damage.  Natural disasters are unavoidable but human-caused disasters may be more easily averted if we learn from the past. You, dear reader, and your generation will have the on-going challenge of balancing the use of natural resources with safety for humans, animals, and the planet.

For me, the legend of Mami Wata was a perfect counterpoint to the oil spill. Mami Wata,  “Mother Water,” was the name given to African water spirits in the pidgin English slave traders used. There are countless folktale variations regarding the spiritual powers and gifts of half-fish, half-human Mami Wata.

Mermaid legends abound throughout all cultures. For me, this tale spoke of such love, loyalty, and community. Symbolically, too, it affirmed the cultural contributions, present and future, that Africans would make to American culture.

It is remarkable and wonderful that in a time of need—to save the Bon Temps community and its environment—Maddy calls upon the grace of mermaids, her spiritual ancestors.

In Maddy, I poured all my love for young people who seek, each and every day, new and better ways to care for our earth.

I encourage each of you to honor your folktales and myths. I know there are thousands of other cultural stories that inspire loving care for our planet. Use and retell those stories like Maddy did. Spread the word. Caring for our earth is a sacred trust.

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of six adult novels and several books for young readers. She has received many awards for her work, including an American Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award for Ninth Ward. Jewell is also the Artistic Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Her awaited middle grade title is Towers Falling. Learn more at jewellparkerrhodes.com.


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SNIFFER DOGS by award-winning children’s author Nancy Castaldo (who met some very talented canines)

nancy-blogBack in 2012 an unusual news story crossed my path. Dogs were brought to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York to help scientists study the moose population. Dogs? Moose? I read on. These dogs were special—they used their noses. That was certainly a different tool for these wildlife biologists!

Having grown up in New York State and working in environmental education, I was well acquainted with the plight of our moose population. By the 1980s it was nonexistent, but recently it had begun to climb. Scientists wanted to find out the scoop on the moose. And in order to do this they needed to study their poop. Funny, right?

Poop, or scat as it is spoken of in polite scientific circles, can tell us a lot about an organism. And these dogs had the nose for finding it! And so began my research. Who were these dogs? Were there others? And, most importantly, how did they do this?

I found out there were other dogs helping conservation scientists. Tucker, a lab mix, sniffed out whale scat in the ocean.  Tia was on the trail of invasive snails in Hawaii. The best part of these stories was that the dogs were all rescue animals, given a second chance.


Those initial stories made me even more curious. (All scientists and nonfiction authors know that every question ultimately leads to more questions.) I had a great time researching this book. Meeting dogs who could sniff out a single human tooth in an open field or recognize a  change in the sugar levels of a human’s blood was an adventure.

What began as a spark of an idea from a local news article led me down an extraordinary research path and ultimately to the publication of Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World.

My upcoming book, The Story of Seeds: From Mendel’s Garden to Your Plate, and Why There’s More of Less To Eat Around The World, is a very different topic but required just as much sniffing around on my part. Instead of dogs, I visited gardens and seed banks as far away as Russia. Hurrah for research!  It introduces us to new elements of the world and makes life exciting!

Nancy Castaldo is the author of a dozen books for young readers—most of her writing is non-fiction with a strong focus on the natural world. Her titles have received many awards and honors, including a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children and the New York State Outdoor Education Association’s Art and Literature award. To learn more about Nancy and her books, visit www.nancycastaldo.com.

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MY NEW OFFICE by Dan Gutman, pop-author of The Genius Files and My Weird School series

dan-blog-2015In August, my wife and I moved from our house in the suburbs of Philadelphia to the wild streets of New York City. We did it for two reasons. One, our youngest is in college now and we didn’t need as much space. Two, we were bored to death living in the ‘burbs and longed for the big city, where we met back in 1981 and lived before our kids were born.

It wasn’t until after we moved that I realized there was a third reason—we dramatically lowered our carbon footprint.

Our 1890s-era, three-story Victorian house was pretty to look at, but it was an energy hog. I replaced the windows, but they still leaked heat in the winter and cold in the summer.  The rooms were poorly insulated. Even if they hadn’t been, a single-family house simply gobbles up more energy than an apartment, where you share walls with other apartments. According to The Department of Energy, apartments use about half as much energy as freestanding houses.

Now we live in a little two-bedroom apartment in across the street from Central Park, which has essentially become my office. We don’t have central air conditioning anymore. We have three new energy-efficient units that I can turn on and off to cool individual rooms as needed. I always thought it was crazy to cool off the whole house when often we would be using just one room.

We also drive a lot less now. We got rid of our gas guzzling minivan, and we rarely use our little Honda Civic. Mostly, I ride my bike or take the subway everywhere in the city. When I have a school visit outside of New York, I take a train or bus and somebody picks me up at the station. Switching to public transportation, I’ve learned, can reduce your daily carbon emissions by more than 4,800 pounds annually—that’s more than you can save by weatherizing your home and using energy efficient light bulbs and appliances combined.

So I feel pretty good about lowering my carbon footprint. On the other hand, we sold our house to a family that moved from a little apartment in Philadelphia to our three story energy-hog in the suburbs. This being green stuff is hard to do! But I’m doing everything I can.

MissionUnstoppableDan Gutman
 is the author of over 120 books, including the My Weird School series, The Genius Files series, and the Baseball Card Adventure series.  You can visit his web site at www.dangutman.com, check out his Facebook fan page, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter @dangutmanbooks.

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RESEARCHING ECOMAZES: 12 EARTH ADVENTURES by award-winning New York author-illustrator Roxie Munro

roxieThink about where you live and where you have traveled—most of us have visited or lived in more ecosystems than we think we have. While working on EcoMazes:12 Earth Adventures, and now, reflecting afterward, I realize that, although I do not consider myself a naturalist at all (and I live right in the middle of a huge city, with one house plant and a view out of my 10th floor window of a few ginko trees along the avenue), I have visited almost all of the ecosystems covered in the book.

Of course, ecosystem is a broad term—walk along a crowded street in the bustling city or wander alone in a forest filled with birds and other critters, and you are in a community of living things in a specific physical environment—an ecosystem of one sort or another. It can be as big as the earth (the biosphere) or as small as a pond, with particular species of frogs, fish, ducks, plants…

Researching EcoMazes was great fun. In the two years I worked on it, I tramped through rainforests in the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific, saw polar bears on ice floes and lichen on the tundra on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago high above the Arctic Circle, glimpsed reef sharks in Tahiti, and picked wild mushrooms in a southern Sweden conifer forest.

roxie travels

I have visited deserts in the United States, Mexico, and Tunisia. Climbed Mount Whitney (an alpine area) in the Sierra Nevadas, a volcano in Stromboli (Italy), and a smallish Swiss mountain; canoed along a bayou in the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta and the Everglades, and splashed in the waves off the Outer Banks. Lived in Hawaii and snorkeled in the coral reefs. Visited vast grasslands and prairies on huge Texas ranches. I grew up in the wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay, one of the great estuaries of the world, and camped out in Maine and West Virginia in temperate deciduous forests.

EcoMazes coverWhen I started EcoMazes, most of these earlier trips I did not remember, or even realize were relevant. But, in doing research and learning more about biomes, habitats, and ecosystems, it was exciting to realize how many I, and I’ll bet you too, have experienced. It is so important for all of us care about, to preserve, and to conserve our wonderous earth—our only home—and everything it contains.

Roxie Munro is the author-illustrator of more than 40 nonfiction books for children, including the KIWi Storybooks nonfiction series and the Inside-Outside Books, for which her New York City title received the New York Times Best Illustrated Award. App-users also enjoy her Roxie’s Puzzle Adventure and Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure, among others. Learn more about her exciting work at www.roxiemunro.com.


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Top children’s non-fiction author Melissa Stewart shares a few secrets behind the writing of her award-winning book Feathers

When I began writing Feathers: Not Just for Flying, my goal was to create a book that would inspire readers to see and appreciate feathers in a whole new way. I had plenty of great information, but I knew that if I wanted to intrigue readers, if I wanted to ignite their natural curiosity, I had to connect with them. I had to make the information relevant to their world and their lives.

But figuring out how to do that was no easy task. In fact, it took more than three years.

During that time, I thought deeply and wrote and revised. Draft after draft after draft. Some of those drafts were good, but not good enough. My readers deserved more.

On three separate occasions, I realized that revising my existing manuscript wouldn’t get me where I needed to go. I bravely hit the delete button and started from scratch.

And then one day, inspiration struck. I latched onto the idea of comparing feathers to familiar everyday objects, such as blankets and umbrellas, sunblock and sleds. That’s when the writing finally came to life.

Why did I keep toiling away for so long? Why didn’t I just give up and move on? Because I had an idea that I felt compelled to share. And for me, that idea was part of a bigger message, the message at the heart of every book I write. More than anything, I want children to understand that the natural world is full of beauty and wonder, magic and mystery. It’s a very special place that we need to preserve and protect.

As Richard Louv so aptly brought to light in Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, many, perhaps most, American children are disconnected from the natural world. This is tragic for kids because nature can be a sanctuary for young people with difficult lives. But it’s even more tragic for our planet because if children don’t learn to love and respect nature, they won’t grow into adults who are committed to saving wildlife and wild places.

Climate change. Water shortages. Dwindling natural resources. These are important issues now, and they will become even more important in coming years.

If we want to guarantee a habitable world far into the future, it’s critical for today’s children to have experiences that encourage them to become environmental stewards. My hope is that the books I write will motivate children to ask questions about the world and then go out in search of answers. If one of my books inspires a child to pick up a rock and look underneath or to chase after a butterfly just to see where it’s going, then my job is done.

Melissa Stewart has written over 150 science books for young readers, receiving numerous awards for her work. Her research travels have included Costa Rican rainforests, the African savannah and swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. Explore her world of books at www.melissa-stewart.com.


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