Welcome to my website!
NOTE: 17-YEAR CICADAS ARE EMERGING RIGHT NOW IN SEVERAL STATES. CLICK ON MY CICADAS BOOK FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS AMAZING EVENT IN NATURE!
Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, librarian, or just a curious person, you will probably find something interesting, and perhaps useful, here. Of course there's information about my books, and also the stories behind their creation. Since I love visiting schools and talking with students about writing, there is information about school programs. And, to start, here is a quick introduction:
Growing up in rural western New York, I had two strong interests: reading, and learning about nature. I was one of those "bookworm" kids, not good at sports. I loved to explore outdoors, roaming woods and fields, investigating ponds. I never dreamed that a person could have a career that called for lots of reading, and learning about wild animals. And if you asked me--in elementary school, or high school, or even after college--if I would ever write a book, my answer would have been a loud, clear "No!"
Life is full of surprises. In 2003, my one hundredth children's book was published. I'm thrilled, and also proud because each of those books took a lot of hard work. My books have been praised for their high quality--by reviewers, teachers, librarians, scientists, and by the children and young adults who read them. It feels great to know that the Chicago Tribune called me "one of America's top nonfiction writers for young people," with "a remarkable ability to succeed with topics others would turn deadly dull." A reviewer for the American Library Association's Booklist called me "an esteemed children's author whose gift is turning natural history and science into page-turning reading." Also, in addition to rave reviews for individual books, I have received major awards from the National Wildlife Federation, the American Nature Study Society, the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
On the average day, however, I'm just a guy who often struggles to write a good sentence. For me, writing is hard work, and I have plenty of interests that lure me away from it. I have a wonderful wife, five children, and a house (or, as Zorba the Greek called this situation, "the full catastrophe!"). I still love being outdoors, whether working in flower and vegetable gardens, splitting firewood, fighting an invasive Asian plant called mile-a-minute vine, taking nature photographs, digging ponds for frogs and other aquatic creatures, or fishing at the ocean's edge.
I hope you enjoy exploring here, and using the links to find more information about my books, school visits, and writing life.
Click on the titles to the left to read stories and details about the creation of each book