Ever since I was a kid, I loved three things best of all: books, animals and baseball. A pretty eclectic collection, to be sure, my shelves were jammed with books and filled with animal figurines (mostly horses, elephants and dolphins), stacks of baseball cards and an array of Montreal Expos memorabilia. I dreamed of being the “Jane Goodall of the ocean” or the first female major league baseball player (a pitcher for my beloved Expos, of course).
Growing up, I devoured all kinds of books! I loved Dr Seuss, Corduroy, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Winnie the Pooh. As I got older, I read every book in the Black Stallion series and more than my fair share of Hardy Boys books. But our house also happened to be filled with a million books about the ocean, many of which were books by Jacques Cousteau. In fact, I probably learned to read from those books, sounding out the words beneath those glorious photos of dolphins, whales, sharks and coral reefs. In the end, though my love of baseball never wavered (Go Blue Jays!), it was outmatched by my passion for nature and the ocean.
While I was always a voracious reader, it wasn’t until my final year of university that I tried my hand at writing. I took an amazing children’s literature course, and while my friends were lugging around chem and bio books, I was re-reading Charlotte’s Web and The Hobbit. As part of our final grade, we were offered the choice: write a children’s book or write an exam. Without an ounce of hesitation, I chose to write a story. It was messy and unpolished — but it got me my first A. And through it, I began to realize that maybe I could do more than just read books; perhaps I might even be able to write them.
A few years later, with a master’s degree in environmental studies under my belt, some amazing work experiences and a few messy attempts at writing fiction, a rejection letter for my latest picture book was accompanied by an inquiry. With your background, would you ever consider writing non-fiction? Believe it or not, I’d never considered it, even though everything I was doing pointed in this direction. An invitation to weave together my love of words and stories with my passion for nature was an opportunity I could not pass up!
In that moment, The Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth was born. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth followed shortly after, as did many other freelance writing opportunities. And now, after a bit of a book writing hiatus, I am excited to share that a new book is in development and will be released by Kids Can Press in spring 2022. Stay tuned!