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 later—Ta 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Velvet worms shoot nets of “super slime” to snare their prey. The more a hapless spider or cricket struggles, the more the slime net hardens. There’s no escape. Scientists recently discovered the amazing properties of velvet worm slime, which solidifies into strong threads when exposed to force. More remarkable, these threads can be dissolved in […]
Three rows of teeth. A third eye. A “chill” nocturnal lifestyle. The tuatara is unlike any other reptile in the world. Easy to mistake for a lizard or an iguana, the tuatara is neither. This Extreme Survivor is the last living Sphenodon, a diverse and ancient order of reptiles that slithered around with the dinosaurs […]
Ancestors of the nautilus were “the great white sharks” of the prehistoric seas. They evolved an edge that made them efficient hunters: a shell that allowed them to float—and stalk other ancient creatures still stuck crawling around on the ocean floor. Today’s nautiluses are smaller and more mild mannered than their ancestors from 500 million […]
What “sneezes” even though it doesn’t have a nose, comes in many shapes and sizes, and is probably the most ancient animal on Earth? Drum roll: the sponge! Scientists recently discovered that sponges “sneeze” to eject irritants from their body cavities. It takes a sponge about a half hour to sneeze. Ah-ah-ah choo………. Gesundheit! I […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.”
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]