Spring in the Desert

I always look forward to spring the way a kid looks forward to their birthday…counting the days, waiting, counting, waiting. And then it arrives. And it is a gift to be treasured.

In the desert especially, spring is wondrous event. I’ve been doing an annual trip to Utah in April for many years now and am always awed by how the landscape is transformed for a short time. The desert itself is always amazing but the fact that life survives there is even more so. In the spring, there are potholes filled with water and blooming flowers. I always feel lucky to witness that transformation.

Happy Earth Day

Today is a day to celebrate our planet and its amazing biodiversity. The first Earth Day was in 1970 and marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement to raise awareness about the human impact on the environment and to inspire action to preserve it. The movement had been building steam since the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, in which she warned about the effects of DDT on living organisms. Despite vicious backlash from the agriculture and chemical industries, Carson was able to stand behind her exhaustive scientific research and said, “We must begin to count the many hidden costs of what we are doing.”

So today take the time to hear the natural world around you. Slow down to watch the birds or discover a flower in bloom. Hug a tree. And perhaps, even if you are not joining an Earth Day event in your area, make pledge to make one change in your life that will have a positive impact on the planet and all that lives here.

Stink Fight!

I am currently working on a series of picture books about animal adaptations. We all know about camels’ humps, bats’ echolocation, and rabbits’ camouflage. But as I research, I’m learning about so many obscure and wonderful adaptations that get little credit. Right now I’m working on mammals.

In the animal world, there are many different ways that species fight. Conflict resolution ring-tailed lemur style is a whole different approach…STINK FIGHT! Lemurs have glands that produce horrible odors. When male lemurs need to settle an argument, they rub the odor on their tails. Then they waft their tails at each other. The one who can stand the stench the longest is the winner! This kind of stinky stand-off allows lemurs to fight without risk of getting hurt. If only people could learn from this.



I couldn’t believe it when my editor at Nomad told me that Biodiversity earned a starred review from Booklist. I’m honored. But not just because it’s my book. I’m honored because it has such valuable information in it about the amazing biodiversity on our planet and the threats to it. My hope is that the starred review will get the book into more kids’ hands. And that more kids will awed by Earth’s biodiversity. And that kids will be inspired to act.

The full review is on Booklist.





I know that spring officially arrived over a week ago, but it has seemed like winter just doesn’t want to let go. Despite this, the birds are singing, things are greening up, and the flowers are starting to make an appearance. Oh, how I love spring.

So as I wait patiently for warmer, flip-flop days, I will enjoy the flowers and watch the transformation.