Destination Desert: Biome Explorers

Coming soon! In less than a month my latest picture book science series (Nomad Press) will hit the shelves. Before I started writing this series, I spent a great deal of time considering the format and tone of the books. After lots of notetaking and reading mentor texts, I decided that biomes deserve to be explored and experienced. The end result is that each book takes readers on a journey to visit the different types of a specific biome.

For example, did you know that there are four different types of deserts around the world? There are hot and dry deserts, semi-arid deserts, coastal deserts, and cold deserts. In Destination Desert: Biome Explorers we start in the Sahara, a hot, dry desert that gets less than three inches of rain per year and where temperatures regularly reach 110° F. Despite this, life thrives here – Dromedary camels, fennec foxes, deathstalker scorpions, ostriches, dung beetles, Sahara lovegrass, tamarisk shrubs, and much, much more. Each species of plant and animal is extremely well-adapted to the climate, and each has special ways to absorb and hold water.

A type of desert closer to home is the semi-arid desert of Utah with even more diversity of life, including jack rabbits, pronghorn, rattlesnakes, kangaroo rats, bats, skunks, and owls. It is slightly cooler there and there’s more precipitation. Still, like in the Sahara, most life is nocturnal.

I think the most interesting desert we visit in Destination Desert is the coastal desert of the Atacama where almost zero rain falls. Parts of it are so dry and barren, even bacteria struggle to survive. But here along the coast, there are cacti and guanacos eating the flowers off the cacti! This region is called a fog oasis. The fog drifts inland from over the ocean and when it condenses on the cactus spines dew collects. Animals can get moisture by lapping the dew off the plants or by eating the parts of the plant that aren’t prickly. Imagine drinking fog to stay hydrated!

The last destination in the book is the cold Gobi Desert of Asia. It’s very different from what you might imagine a desert to be because it gets so very cold in the winter. But it does get hot in the summer, and it is very dry. Still, like in the other deserts, live thrives here. You’d find grasses, herb meadows, wild onion, Bactrian camels, gazelles, jerboas, polecats, and even a bear – the rare Gobi bear!

So, pack up a hat, sunscreen, and a full water bottle and let’s go exploring!