Award-winning nonfiction author of books for young readers

Animal Themes

The Name Game

The Elephant Scientist

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (July 2011))

A Junior Library Guild Selection

2012 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children, K-12

2012 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor

2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book

"This amazing presentation is a must-have for all collections."
- School Library Journal, starred review

Caitlin O'Connell peered through binoculars and spotted an elephant family in the distance. Suddenly, the leader stopped in its tracks. The mighty matriarch shifted her weight and leaned forward on her front feet. The other elephants followed suit—standing still as statues.

What could they be doing?

The elephant scientist was determined to find out.

Join Caitlin and her team in the Namibian desert as they study African elephants and make a groundbreaking discovery about one of nature's most intelligent mammals!

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Phenomena: Secrets of the Senses

ER Vets

Life in an Animal Emergency Room
(Houghton Mifflin Company)
A Junior Library Guild Selection

* A bird breaks its wing.
* A newborn foal slips into a coma.
* A cat clings to life after an arrow's shot through its chest

Filled with poignant stories and behind-the-scenes photographs,
ER VETS follows the drama and excitement of the emergency
and critical care unit at one of the country's leading veterinary
hospitals and brings to light the courage and compassion it takes
to be an ER vet.

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'Well-researched and well-written. ER Vets is an engaging book on a hot topic.'
- School Library Journal, starred review

'A captivating behind-the-scenes look . . . '
-Karen MacPherson,  Washington Post, December 2005

2006 Orbis Pictus Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
-The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

2005 ASPCA Henry Bergh Children's Book Honor
-Henry Bergh Children's Book Honor

2007 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize Finalist

NPR: Best Science Books of 2006

VOYA (Voices for Youth Advocates) Nonfiction Honor List 2005

Phenomena: Secrets of the Senses

The Bug Scientists

(Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002; Paperback 2004)
A Junior Library Guild Selection

A 2003 National Science Teachers Association - Children's Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children

Small is beautiful - or so the bug scientists of the world believe. Insects, they say, boast qualities the rest of us have perhaps overlooked. They are among the earth's best fliers and farmers; they've survived and adapted for 350 million years; and millions upon millions of species have yet to be identified!

Follow the footsteps of several bug scientists and take a closer look at the extraordinary bugs that crawl, swim and whiz past us everyday!

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'The much-maligned world of insects becomes fascinating in this latest entry in the excellent Scientists in the Field series.'
- Booklist, starred review

'From start to finish, this book is a compelling and fun-to-read example of how good nonfiction can be.'
- Children's Literature

New York Times Science Book Recommendation
-New York Times

Blood, Bones and Bugs
-Kathleen Baxter, School Library Journal

Our Natural World Book Suggestions

In Your Face

Hero Dogs

Courageous Canines in Action
(Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2003)
A Junior Library Guild Selection

Dogs have long been faithful companions to humans, but there are some extraordinary canines with unique skills and superior work ethics that go above and beyond their traditional roles as pets.  These are the hero dogs.

From bomb-sniffing dogs to guide dogs, these specially trained canines play an important role in our lives.

Featuring stories from the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, along with tales of everyday hero dogs, this book demonstrates the many miracles that can happen when hearts, hands and paws join together!

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It's a Dog's Life
-School Library Journal

". . . Even cat people could like this book."
- Chicago Tribune

"Outstanding! You don't have to be a dog-lover to appreciate the compassion which emanates from the text and the photos in this story. . . I highly recommend the purchase of this book for every library. I will purchase it as gifts for my dog-lover friends."    
- Mary Jo Humphreys, Librarian, Cactus Ranch, Round Rock (Texas)

In Your Face

The Wildlife Detectives

How Forensic Scientists Fights Crimes Against Nature
Photographs by Wendy Shattil and Bob Rozinski
(Houghton Mifflin Company)

A 2001 NSTA - CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children

Slaughtering elephants for their ivory, shooting bears for their gall bladders, capturing sea turtles for soup.  In the name of vanity, fashion and greed, people stalk and kill wild animals -- and get away with it, even when their acts are clearly against the law. But now scientists have a way to catch and convict poachers.

In a laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, they analyze clues from bone fragments to bloodstains. Firearms experts match bullets to guns. Ornithologists identify feathers.  Using a high-powered scanning electron microscope, scientists distinguish ivory taken illegally from elephants. Even though ninety percent of these crimes still go unpunished, the wildlife detectives are, more and more often, linking suspects to victims.

 In words and pictures, The Wildlife Detectives tells a poignant story and shows how good science can indeed save the day!

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"Unfolds almost like a mystery novel . . . A book that will be welcomed by mystery fans and anyone who cares about animals."
- Booklist

"A riveting and thorough account of dedicated people banding together with the help of science and the law to catch an elk poacher . . . . A real-life animal detective story."

"If all information books were structured as well as this one, students would read and read and read."    
- Children's Literature

"This book presents science as exciting, worthwhile work, and from many young readers will spark a 'Hey, I could do that!' reaction."
- John Peters, The Five Owls