Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Author of the Month

April is Earth Month and the perfect time to focus on global warming.  I am pleased to be featured at CharlesbridgePublishing as the April Author of the Month along with my new book A Warmer World:  From Polar Bears to Butterflies, How Climate Change Affects Wildlife.  Here are some excerpts from my interview for the article:

A Warmer World tackles some serious issues and explores the consequences of global warming. What inspired you to write a children’s book about climate change?
     A Warmer World grew out of a suggestion from my editor, who knew of my interest in animals and the environment and my concern for the earth we live on.  Many subjects in the book–polar bears, walruses, penguins, sea turtles, migrating birds, coral reefs–are topics that I have written about previously.  In doing the research for those books I had learned how environmental changes are threatening their ability to survive.  A Warmer World gave me the chance to focus on those issues. 

How did you go about researching the different animals for A Warmer World?
Illust. by Jamie Hogan for A Warmer World

 My research process follows the same pattern for all of my books.  I start in the library and read books and articles.  I also search the internet.  In many cases, I consult scientists and other experts in the field.  And, whenever possible, I try to make my own observations about the animals in my books.  Ideally, I like to see animals where they live in the wild.  Several years ago, I visited a penguin nesting colony in southern Chile. More often, though, I observe animals in zoos and wildlife parks. To learn about polar bears and walruses, I went to Sea World and the San Diego Zoo.  The wonderful thing about zoos is that you can see huge animals like these just inches away on the other side of the glass.   Basically, I discovered, walruses are huge lumps.  They are a bit like your living room sofa with tusks.  And yet, they are surprisingly agile in the water. Unfortunately, melting ice in the arctic is making it harder for mother walruses to tend their calves.

It’s clear from your books that you love animals. Of all the different kinds of creatures you’ve written about, do you have a favorite?
Illust. by Jamie Hogan for A Warmer World
     I like all kinds of animals, but birds have always been a favorite topic in my books.  When I was a child I went on early morning bird walks with my father, who was an amateur bird watcher, and now my husband studies birds in his research at UCLA.  In my book Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines, I focused on all the different ways a bird’s body is adapted for flight.  In A Warmer World, I looked at how climate change is affecting nesting and migration patterns, or, in the case of Antarctic penguins, how melting ice is diminishing their main food source, krill.

To read the full interview, go to the Charlesbridge website.  You can also order A Warmer World from the Charlesbridge book order page.

No comments: