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.
What could possibly be interesting about a sponge? As I researched this ancient animal for Extreme Survivors, I remembered something I learned long ago as a magazine writer: There’s no such thing as a boring subject. There are only bored writers. How do you break through boredom in your own writing and in the classroom? […]
I was standing in front of 150 kids when a second-grader asked me a science question I couldn’t answer about an animal in my book The Secret Pool. “Why are a spotted salamander’s spots yellow?” he asked. Panicked, I spluttered, “I don’t know.” Then, it dawned on me. “Let’s see if we can find out,” […]
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 […]
Students in grades 3 and 4 at Lubec Consolidated School created this wonderful 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 […]
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.”