video: Zoo Scientists to the Rescue

Patricia Newman

award-winning author

Sacramento, CA USA

Patricia Newman
green author       

guest blogger

Patricia Newman shares her excitement for writing and hopes to inspire readers and writers of all ages to share their vision of the world. Full-day author visits include assemblies, small group read-aloud sessions, close encounter Q&A sessions, and writers' workshops. Students take an active part in each session through skits and demonstrations for a fun, in-depth look at how Patricia handles character, plot, revision, research, and more. Patricia explains more in her school visit video.

Year(s) of participation: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019

A4ED school visit photos & blurbs:

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman


Cambridge Heights Elementary School in Citrus, CA USA


I had an amazing Authors for Earth Day school visit. Students knew my books thanks to a diligent librarian, Lynn, and every last detail was perfectly organized.

Students also researched five nonprofit organizations for me to donate half of my honorarium. They voted for their choice the day before I arrived, and wore I VOTED stickers for Authors for Earth Day. We announced the winner during the assemblies. My $500 donation will got to Algalita, a non-profit powered by young people that educates us about ocean plastic pollution.

Oh, and the parent club organized a lunch with an undersea theme: banana dolphins, crab croissants, sea star rice krispy treats. A PERFECT day!

I was feeling on top of the world again when I received a note from Lynn the librarian saying, "What a fabulous day! You make a huge difference Patti as you show children of all ages they are global citizens with a personal responsibility to make the world a better place."

Ahhh! THIS is why I write!

Patricia Newman

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman


Rocklin Library in Rocklin, CA USA


I celebrated an early Earth Day with kids and parents at the Rocklin Library in Rocklin, California. Several enthusiastic volunteers helped me tell the story of our ocean and how our habits affect it. As our ocean model went from crystal clear to murky brown, we discussed specific choices we could make to help.

After the presentation the audience helped the ocean in a BIG way by designating my honorarium for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The funds will help Scripps' continued efforts to monitor ocean plastic and make policy changes to keep the ocean safe. Scripps holds a special place in my heart because it helped me make contact with the graduate students who appear in Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a Green Earth Book Award winner.

As an added surprise, The Nature Generation, sponsors of the Green Earth Book Award, sweetened the pot! They donated ten copies of Plastic, Ahoy! to the Placer County Library system (of which the Rocklin Library is a member) to spread the word about ocean plastic and how we can be the voice of change.

Make every day Earth Day!

Patricia Newman

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman


R. Roger Rowe School in Rancho Santa Fe, CA USA


Marine debris sounds like an ugly message to spread to student readers and writers, but I believe that science books such as Plastic, Ahoy! act as a bridge between students and science issues ripped from the headlines and between students and action.

My assembly on how our habits change our ocean ecosystem drove home for students the link between their actions and their environment. Students in grades three through six watched our model "ocean" turn cloudier, muckier, and more polluted as the assembly progressed.

After the assembly, I met with small groups of students. One group dubbed themselves The Ocean Science Group, and we talked about how what we read can change the way we think about the world.

Another group wrote essays for the "privilege" of meeting me, either to vent about writing, or to find out how to persuade people with your writing as I do in Plastic, Ahoy!

Here are a few excerpts:

"…I want to meet Patricia Newman because I can learn as a writer. Patricia Newman is a great persuasive writer…I believe I can help change our ways to protect the environment. If I meet Patricia Newman, I have faith that I will learn and be inspired so much, that I can make a difference to protect the environment."

"Did I hear correctly that I could have the opportunity to meet with the famous author, Patricia Newman?! This is something that I cannot wait for!...She is a world-changer…She inspires me to help the world become a better place. Her books helps raise awareness of the danger that the earth faces."

"Patricia Newman is different from other ocean experts, she is a persuasive writer! I love to write! Writing connects with acting and directing, which I love to do. I love animals too. So whenever I think about litter I think about a inisent animal killed for nothing they did wrong."

The day came full-circle for me because the students voted to send a portion of my fee to Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the very organization that originally sponsored the scientists in Plastic, Ahoy!—Miriam, Chelsea, and Darcy—to visit the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. According to R. Roger Rowe Librarian Stacey Halboth, "Scripps just called us as a thank you for the donation. We are going to maybe set up a time for Darcy to come to our school and speak. So THANK YOU!"

Imagine having one of the scientists in a book you've read about an expedition come to your school to speak! And it's all thanks to Authors for Earth Day.

Patricia Newman

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman


Cameron Park Library in Cameron Park, CA USA


Images: Our clean ocean around the 1600 / Our ocean around 1950 (each clothespin represents 500 million people / Our ocean today

I celebrated Earth Day at a public library with a crowd of kids aged 2 ½ to 12 and we spoke about all of the wonderful things the ocean gives us, such as food, recreation, transportation and oxygen. We watched a short movie by Plastic, Ahoy! photographer Annie Crawley with dolphins, manta rays, coral reefs and many other wonders of the ocean. But then we talked about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. To help this diverse age group understand just how we're affecting the world's largest ecosystem, I started with a vase of clear water which we called our ocean. I told the story of the ocean over the last 500 years. How our population has grown from 500 million people to over 7 billion people, and in the search to feed, house, and clothe these people we:

1) hunted whales to near extinction for lamp oil;
2) fueled machines for the Industrial Revolution with coal which polluted the sea with mercury;
3) fertilize crops with chemicals that wash out to sea creating algal blooms;
4) build oil wells that sometimes leak, killing marine birds and other marine life;
5) destroy mangrove forests, which protect the coastline and soak up carbon, to build fish farms;
6) toss litter from cargo and cruise ships into the sea
7) and more!

My audience helped me add the various pollutants to our "ocean" and increase the Earth's population. We watched it change from a clean, balanced environment to one laced with muck and debris. Lastly, the kids suggested ways we could rethink our relationship with plastic:
1) REFUSE straws in restaurants
2) REDUCE the number of plastic grocery bags we use by bringing our own bags
3) RECYCLING the plastic we do use such as yogurt containers, juice bottles, and milk jugs
4) REUSE plastic bottles and containers for as many things as we can things of, for example for storage or as planters

I hope Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and I tipped the scales toward loving and protecting the ocean on Earth Day 2015. The kids voted to support Ocean Conservancy again this year!


John Lyman Elemtentary in Middlefield, CT USA, Cambridge Heights Elementary in Citrus Heights, CA USA, Harrisburg Explorer Elem. in Sioux Falls, SD USA, and Calf Pen Meadow School in Milford, CT USA


The stars didn't align this year for an in-person A4ED school visit, but I wanted to participate because the mission of the organization is so important and valuable to students. I decided to offer Earth Day Skype visits on April 22 that specifically focused on my newest book, PLASTIC, AHOY! INVESTIGATING THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH. Instead of reaching one school, I reached four! I read several pages of my book, responded to student questions, and we discussed ways to reduce our single-use plastic. The day was tons of fun and I donated 100% of my speaking fees to the Ocean Conservancy in honor of the students.

Patricia Newman
Patricia Newman




I celebrated Earth Day with the students at Genevieve Didion K-8 in grand style. The students were curious, the faculty welcoming, and the PTA lunch outstanding (with linen and china, no less)! The day focused on the type of literacy we associate with reading and writing, but also environmental literacy.

Prior to my visit, I forwarded to the students a list of five non-profit conservation organizations I would consider supporting. On Author Day, the students voted and the votes were tabulated. Each assembly and writers' workshop throughout the day began with the exciting announcement that 50% of my Author Day fee will go to...(drum roll, please)...the Ocean Conservancy in honor of the students and staff at Didion K-8.