24 Sep 2011


How come?

Those are probably the first questions a child asks in any language. I wished we'd never stop asking 'why' and 'how come'?
Looking for answers to these two questions has probably led to many inventions, and it has lead me to write many books.
How does a tiny little seed know to grow into a stalk of corn or into a towering cedar tree? How did it get programmed?

I love doing research and finding answers to my questions. For my latest book, Amazing Animals, I had so much fun reading and learning about mind blowing animals facts.
Did you know that the fig wasp and the fig tree have a symbiotic relationship? Neither one could live without the other.
The wasp bores a hole into the fruit, lays its eggs and dies. This means that when you eat one of those crunchy brown fig newton cookies, you are chomping down on some dead wasp remains... Gross huh? But a cool fact.

The octopus is a pretty amazing animal, too. Scientists in the Seattle Aquarium could not figure out what was killing their sharks. Little did they suspect the octopus. Have a look at this cool video which sheds a whole new light on the octopus: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7004909622962894202

When I write, I submit a proposal to a publisher whom I hope will be interested in this sort of book. The publisher decides on the title of a book. They also decide who will be in the illustrator. I have been lucky enough, with several of my books, to be allowed to collaborate with the illustrator.

W. Alan Hancock is a young, and impressive, wildlife artist. When I saw his art, I suggested to Tundra Books that he illustrate Amazing Animals. I was so happy that they agreed. His art looks so real... Check out his website:

Even if you don’t know much about anacondas or weaver birds, there are many questions you can ask about animals which you daily see around you.
Do you know how old ladybugs get to be?
Does a blackbird migrate? How far?
When my son was ten years old, he asked a great question. It had snowed and, when we stepped outside, he looked at the pristine white fields.
“Where does the white go when the snow melts?” he asked.
I told him “Don’t ever stop asking those kind of questions! And go in search of the answer!”
I wrote a poem about ‘where does the white go when the snow melts?’ and so you don’t need to write just nonfiction about your questions. Nonfiction can even be written in the form of poetry!
Have fun researching and writing!

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