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Hello Readers!

Students often ask me where I get my ideas for books, and the answer surprises them: in my “backyard” in Maine! I have hunted for invisible “zombie bears” in the woods (they’re real), gotten soaked while helping spotted salamanders cross the road to their vernal pools on rainy spring nights, and slogged through stinky marsh mud to spy on shorebirds. Not to mention getting bitten by zillions of mosquitoes. It’s all part of research.

And you thought writers just sat at their desks all day. Well, I do plenty of that, too. Once I get an idea, I spend months reading, interviewing scientists, taking notes, and organizing the information I have gathered. Finally, I start writing—and rewriting many, many times. Eighteen months laterTa Da! A book!

I hope reading my books inspires you to explore your backyard, local parks, and wild places. I’d love to hear about the cool things you see and learn about—you can write to me at ridleyk09@gmail.com.

Bring Kim to Your School!

"Kim has a wonderful way of breaking down the writing process that helps even the most reluctant writers find their voices.”  - Jamie Reid, Librarian, Ellsworth Elementary School

Kimberly’s Blog

How to Find Water Bears

Does moss or lichen grow in your schoolyard or park? If so, you probably have water bears! These endearing and hardy micro-animals are fun to hunt for and easy to observe with a dissecting microscope at 40x magnification. Also known as tardigrades, water bears resemble gummy bears with eight legs. Don’t let their cuteness fool […]

Science Poem Quilt!

Students in grades 3 and 4 at Lubec Consolidated School created this amazing quilt of cinquains inspired by Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot. Writing cinquains is a fun way to integrate science and writing. A pattern for this five-line poem is one noun (the subject), two adjectives describing it, three verbs, a phrase that […]

Terrific Timelines

Whiting Village’s tiny, three-room school bustles with creativity. Stephanie Higgins used Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot to create this great timeline with her students in grades 2 through 4. Check out the way Stephanie brought together geologic time, the ancient animals in my book, and clear learning goals: “I understand that complicated life forms […]

From STEM to STEAM: Tunnel Books

A big joy of visiting schools is seeing how teachers integrate the Arts to ignite learning in fabulous STEAM-inspired projects. Beckery Renaud used this approach with her fifth- and sixth-graders at Pembroke Elementary School, who made these beautiful tunnel books inspired by Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot. This project brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, […]

The Secret Bay

by Kimberly Ridley illustrated by Rebekah Raye AWARDS: *Moonbeam Silver*, *John Burroughs Association Riverby 2016 Award* Estuaries form where river meets sea and fresh water mixes with salt. Teeming with life, these places of salt marshes, mudflats, and tidal backwaters serve as nursery areas for oceangoing fish, migratory stopovers for shorebirds, and homes for an […]

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The Secret Pool

Kimberly Ridley Illustrated by Rebekah Raye Publication date: September 1, 2013 Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-339-7 9 x 10, 32 pages, color illustrations Children / Nature; Grades 2-4 You might walk right by a vernal pool and not notice it. Often mistaken for mere puddles in the woods, vernal pools are the source of life for […]

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Extreme Survivors

Extreme Survivors : Animals That Time Forgot What do the horseshoe crab, chambered nautilus, goblin shark,tuatara lizard, velvet worm, lungfish, tadpole shrimp, and the indestructible beasts called tardigrades (which look like bears but are the size of the period at the end of a sentence) have in common? These and a very few other animals […]

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author photo

Science writer Kimberly Ridley is the award-winning author of nonfiction books that invite children and their grown-ups to explore the real-world magic and mystery in their own backyards.  Her joy is sharing her love of nature and writing with kids through her books and school visits. Kimberly’s picture books, The Secret Pool (Kirkus starred review) and The Secret Bay, have received honors including Riverby Awards from the John Burroughs Association for “outstanding natural history books for young people.” Her newest book is Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot.

An essayist and former magazine editor, Kimberly has written for publications including The Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor, and is a contributing editor to Downeast Magazine. She holds an MS in Science Journalism from Boston University.Kimberly grew up in Maine, and after 10 years in Boston happily moved back to her home state. She lives with her artist husband and their cat Tilly. Kimberly spends as much time as possible exploring the woods, fields and shores around her home in Brooklin, following her curiosity. Her father told her she was “born asking questions.”

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Upcoming events

Hunting “Zombie Bears” and Other Adventures with Extreme Survivors

Hear stories from Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot at Friend Memorial Library in Brooklin, Maine on Thursday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m. “Jurassic Park” meets “Animal Planet” in Kim’s new nonfiction children’s book, which explores the amazing lives of ten of the most ancient animal species on Earth. Stop by the library to meet […]

Children’s Author Festival at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth on Nov. 4!

Kim will be signing copies of Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot at the Children’s Author Fest at the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday, November 4, from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Stop by her table at the museum’s Tyco Visitor Center to discover the strange lives of goblin sharks, horseshoe […]

Free Nature Writing Workshop for Kids!

Kim will present “Go Wild: Nature Writing for Kids”on Saturday, October 21 from 10:00-10:45 a.m. at the Blue Hill Public Library as part of WORD: Blue Hill Literary Arts Festival. In this free program, kids will create their own mini-nature journals and get inspired to explore the wild world. This free program is geared to […]

Join Us at the Maine Science Festival on March 21!

Artist Rebekah Raye and I will talk about “frogsicles” and other amazing creatures in our picture book The Secret Pool on a Science and Children’s Literature panel on Saturday, March 21 from 3-4 p.m. at the Rock & Art Shop in Bangor. It’s all part of the Maine Science Festival, which features loads of cool […]

ESSAYS & ARTICLES

From STEM to STEAM: Tunnel Books

A big joy of visiting schools is seeing how teachers integrate the Arts to ignite learning in fabulous STEAM-inspired projects. Beckery Renaud used this approach with her fifth- and sixth-graders at Pembroke Elementary School, who made these beautiful tunnel books inspired by Extreme Survivors: Animals That Time Forgot. This project brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, […]

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Aliens of the Sea?

Wading in the icy waters of Maine’s Penobscot Bay one summer day, I spotted transparent creatures near the surface rippling with rainbow bands of light. I thought I was seeing things until a scientist friend told me that these thumb-long, otherworldly critters are called comb jellies. He explained that their namesake “combs” — rows of […]

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Maine’s Songbird Superhighway

The morning air smells of balsam and wet duff as Adrienne Leppold sets out on a narrow trail to check the mist nets she set up before dawn to capture birds in a patch of forest in Orono. A great-crested flycatcher cries “wheep, WHEEP,” one of a dozen or so species calling and singing in […]

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While You Were In  

While you were in, a hermit thrush called. There’s no telling whether or when he’ll call again, fluting his song into the forest, where it will linger less than an instant. A doe stopped by while you were in, entertaining a parade of anxious thoughts. She decapitated your favorite phlox, the ones with the snowy […]

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A Walk on the Wild Side

The moose peeks out between tall white pines, her dark brown hide blending with the bark. She swivels her ears and ambles toward us. My heart speeds up as she draws closer. She pokes her massive head through the door of the feeding station, where Steve Oliveri awaits with one of her favorite treats: sweet […]

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Scrounging for Spring 

It happens every March. Family and friends from Parts South call to rave about their daffodils and tulips while we’re in the middle of a snowstorm. My neighbor Bill, however, puts things in perspective. “Anyone can love a tulip,” he scoffs. “But it takes a real connoisseur to appreciate three months of pussy willows.” March […]

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