Not only is my debut book, NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS, coming out this fall from Roaring Brook Press/David Macaulay Studio, but just last week Publisher’s Weekly announced that Roaring Brook will also be publishing both of my next two non-fiction books. The first will be on African elephants, and the second on reproductive biology in the natural world. I’m over the moon about being an author times three!
For the elephant book, the story will follow a young elephant from birth through maturation, and conclude by zooming out a bit to examine the role that elephants play in their ecosystem. I plan to go to Africa to do research this spring, just as I went to San Francisco to do research for SHARKS. The main difference, of course, is the Africa part; I was in Egypt in January of 2010 but have never been anywhere else on the continent, and getting there and back again isn’t quite like waking up in my childhood bed at my mother’s house and driving a borrowed truck the short 45 minutes to meet the shark team on a San Francisco pier. I’m completely excited and completely terrified about almost every aspect of this trip, but I’m taking deep breaths and jumping in anyway—I’ve been wanting to do this book for way too long to let the (many) fears get in my way.
In just two weeks the trip is already beginning to take shape. More and more leads are pointing to southern Kenya, and so far I’m keenly interested in the research happening at Mpala Research Centre, Save The Elephants, the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, the work of the Sheldrick Orphanage (so incredible!) and the Tsavo elephants, and the research of Joyce Poole and Elephant Voices. I’m sure to have a lot of specific questions about young elephant behavior and their stages of development, so I hope to find as many on-the-ground researchers as possible to help ensure that my drawings and text are accurate. My desk is piled with books and travel guides, nearly every day brings a new lead or new information, and I continue to be blown away by the generosity and enthusiasm of strangers to help me create this adventure.
In the meantime some gorgeous advance copies of NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS are keeping me company, along with the remaining few pages of art for THE EXPEDITIONERS Book Two currently on my desk. Thank you all for your love and support of my work. I can’t wait to share these books with you!