Students often ask me, “what’s the best part of writing a book?” High on my list is meeting them—and seeing how my books inspire them in their own writing, guided by their brilliant teachers. Young writers at one elementary school in Maine recently created cool comic strips inspired by ancient creatures in my book Extreme […]
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 […]
This Animal Might Save Your Life!
Horseshoe crabs have blue blood that contains a special substance that clots around bacteria to prevent infection from spreading. Called LAL for short, it is used to test medical equipment for bacterial contamination. If you’ve ever had a shot, stitches, or surgery, you can thank horseshoe crabs for helping to keep you safe! Horseshoe crab […]
Meet the Water Bear: Toughest Animal on Earth!
This “bear” is smaller than a grain of sand, but it’s super tough! Meet the water bear, or tardigrade, a tiny animal found on every continent–and maybe in your backyard! Tardigrades live in films of water on lichen and moss, as well as in ponds and in the ocean. If their moss clumps dry up, […]
Two surprises popped out of a hole in the ice on a small roadside pond on Deer Isle as I drove by the other week: river otters! They didn’t seem to mind the cold and snow a bit as they frolicked on the ice and then dove back underwater. Winter is a good time to […]
Glimmer of the Week: Born to Help?
Some biologists think humans might be hard wired to help others. They’re taking some of their cues from babies. I love this. Researchers have found that one-year-olds will point to an object that an adult pretends to have misplaced. At eighteen months, toddlers will assist a person they don’t know by opening a door or […]
Great Gift Book
When my book group picked Half the Sky, I thought it would be a depressing read. Wrong. Half the Sky is an unsentimental eye-opener about the oppression of women and girls, and it’s so inspiring that it moved us to take action. We realized that doing something small together could make a real difference in […]
Critter of the Month: December
Whoosh! A clump of feathers shot out of the predawn blue the other morning and landed on a birdfeeder ten feet from the kitchen window. I nearly dropped my coffee cup. The bird stared right at me with dark eyes in a pale face that was both familiar and alien. A barred owl. She […]
One Lovely Thing
I’ve been feeling the darkness and the depth of winter this week. Lots of sadness in the air. I’ve been trying to push this aside as I plow through a deadline, but then I decided to take a little break… I opened the back door to smell the air and was stunned to feel the […]