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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - April 2024 Interview with STEAM Team Books Members (Part 2)

Whether you're here to support the STEAM Team authors, curiosity, or because you love nonfiction books, I hope you read to the end because you'll discover some amazing authors and super spectacular books!

Steam Team Books Logo - Name ans a decending rainbow of books on a white grid globe and a black background.

Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to five authors from the STEAM Team Books – a group of authors who joined together to celebrate and help promote their STEAM books. I hope you enjoy this peek at these delightful books and fascinating creatives.

"STEAM Team Books is a group of authors who have a STEM/STEAM book releasing in 2023. It includes fiction & nonfiction, trade or educational books.”

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? What is your favorite type of book to write? What drew you to STEAM books?...)

Marta Magellan – Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies (Eifrig Publishers 4/14/2024) – I came to this country from Brazil at the age of seven and fell in love with the English language as soon as I could speak it. Portuguese was my first language. I’ve been writing and being published since I took Journalism in middle school (proud editor-in-chief of the Hialeah Jr. High Stampede). My professional life since then has revolved around writing. Before I became a full-time children’s book writer, I taught Survey of Children’s Literature, Creative Writing, and Composition at Miami Dade College. I wrote magazine and newspaper articles during that time but didn’t have as much time to dedicate to writing as I wanted.


It was my love of children, books, and nature that led me to writing children’s STEAM books. I like wild animals in their natural habitats, and that’s what I write about. Bats, bees, and vultures aren’t everybody’s favorite animals, but I write about them along with the more popular butterflies and dragonflies.

Author of 10 books, including Bee Catastrophe (2023),  Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor Primatologist (2022), Flying Jewels: A Hummingbird Story (2021), Python Catchers Saving the Everglades (2020), Amazing, Misunderstood Bats (2019), Anole Invasion (2018), and The Nutty Little Vulture (2017). 

Gabi Snyder – Look (Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) – Thanks for having us on The Picture Book Buzz, Maria! I dabbled in writing for several years before I took the plunge and studied creative writing, with a focus on fiction for adults, at the University of Texas. After earning my MA, I took a succession of jobs that used writing (like grant writing and instructional design), but I struggled to find time for my own writing.

When my kids were little (3 and 5), we moved from Austin to Corvallis, Oregon. With a break from work following the move, I found time to get back to my own writing. Only by then, I’d become immersed in the world of picture books and had fallen in love with that form of storytelling. In 2014, I wrote my first picture book drafts.

I find solace in nature walks and tuning into my senses on those walks. And so, I especially like writing about the benefits of tuning into what we hear, see, and feel when we take a moment to pause, especially in nature.

[Author of  5 books, including Today (2024), Count on Us (2022), Listen (2021), Two Dogs on a Trike: Count to Ten and Back Again (2020).] 

Lisa Varchol Perron – Tell Me About Oceans (Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) – I’ve been writing poetry and songs for most of my life, but my kid-lit journey started in earnest about five and a half years ago, when I started drafting my first middle grade novel. Shortly after that, I began writing picture books and children’s poems. (Poetry has always been one of my favorite genres!) I usually write at the dining room table, but I try to carry a notebook with me so that I can brainstorm ideas or work through a passage while I’m away from home. I’m often drawn to STEAM and nonfiction because I like following my curiosity when writing. I was a kid who enjoyed reading for fun AND to learn, and I’m a big believer that those experiences don’t have to be mutually exclusive.


[Author of 4 books including Tell Me About Space (2023), My Love for You (2023), and Patterns Everywhere (2023), and over 70 poems in children’s magazines and anthologies.] 

Julia Wasson – Can you Hear The Plants Speak? (Harper & Collins 4/16/2024) – I was an educator for many years, and my favorite part of the day was read aloud with students, where we’d share books that might address topics that were on our minds – social justice, advertising to children, animal rights, and, of course, the environment. They asked such insightful questions. I saw how young people and families wanted to know what they could do, right here, right now. I was lucky to be able to write about local activists for the Huffington Post, and I realized that some of the stories of people I interviewed would make wonderful books. I met Nick in 2014, and we’ve been collaborating ever since! I enjoy meeting people with inspiring stories and sharing them. My next book is scheduled for 2016, and I’m currently working on an anthology.


[Debut Author.]


Laura Segal Stegman – The Chambered Nautilus (Young Dragon Press 4/30/2024) – Growing up, writing a novel wasn’t anywhere in the picture. I was determined to be an actress, and I have a B.A. in Drama. But life is funny, isn't it? First, I ended up running my own public relations firm specializing in arts clients, and publicity work sharpened my writing and storytelling skills. Then, one day, inspired by the childhood kidlit I still loved, I began work on a novel for middle grade readers. It was then I discovered that writing is my true passion. It took years -- decades, really -- to make my novel good enough to land a publisher.


After I signed a three-book contract, my debut – Summer of L.U.C.K. – was published, but my small publisher closed down within a year. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find another publisher, Young Dragons Press, which not only re-issued Summer of L.U.C.K. (2022) but also published its sequel, Ready or Not (2023). And now, The Chambered Nautilus, third and final in my middle grade trilogy, is coming out April 30. It's my first book with STEAM elements. See more on that below.


I've written – and am still working on – a middle grade contemporary novel, and I’ve also begun another. I love writing middle grade fiction because it's set at a time of life when kids are developing a sense of who they are, and there are so many opportunities to tell extraordinary stories. When I was a kid, I identified with kids' struggles in the books I read. I love the idea that no matter what their problems, middle grade readers can see themselves in the books they read and perhaps even come up with solutions.


[Author of Ready or Not (2023) and Summer of L.U.C.K. (2022).]


What helps you to be inspired? (perhaps a certain place, music, activity, etc.)


Marta Magellan – A sighting outdoors coupled with something I’ve read has usually been the inspiration for a book. Living in Miami, and a regular visitor to the Everglades, I see a lot of critters, some that are environmentally devastating like Burmese pythons. The sightings inspire me to write about them.


Gabi Snyder – Almost anything I see, read, or hear can inspire me. Some things that consistently inspire and inform my writing are nature, my kids, and memories of my own childhood. Tapping into memories of the emotions of childhood – how it felt to be a child living through a particular moment or situation – feels especially helpful.

Often inspiration strikes when I’m doing something other than writing. This happens most frequently while walking (especially in nature), riding a bus or train, taking a shower, or gardening. And that, folks, is why it’s important to bring a notebook and writing instrument with you everywhere! (Yes, your phone can work, too. But sometimes it’s nice to leave the phone at home.)

Lisa Varchol Perron – I find inspiration in various places, but by far the most common way I get inspired is by spending time in nature—walking in the woods or along the coast. If I’m in a writing rut, it’s almost always because I haven’t been outside enough!


Julia Wasson –The persistence and the motivation of the people I collaborate with to make their communities better places inspires me. If I need a lift, I take a walk! Or see which pollinators are visiting my curb strip native plant garden.


Laura Segal Stegman – Reading is one of my biggest inspirations! If I get stuck in my own work, it’s helpful to pick up a novel or go through a file I keep of how other authors use language, descriptions, and storytelling in memorable ways. While I’m writing, I love listening to classical music.


Now that we know a little more about all of you, what sparked your interest and caused you to write this book?

Marta Magellan – Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies (4/14/2024) – For several years, I have presented my books at a summer program, Nature Detectives, sponsored by the St. Augustine Garden Club. It started with my first book about lizards, which the garden club focused on about a decade ago. So, when the director of the program asked for a suggestion about anole lizards in particular, there was nothing that really fit, I pitched a whole series on pollinators to Eifrig Publishing, with the Nature Detectives in mind. Butterflies are an important pollinator, and monarchs are the most fascinating of all with their long migrations, so it was a no-brainer to finally write about them. 

Gabi Snyder – Look (4/16/2024) – I’ve always been a pattern lover. As a child, I found patterns both fascinating and calming. Discovering a pattern can feel like unlocking a mystery or solving a puzzle. Patterns help us make sense of the world around us. And seeing or creating a pattern is intrinsically satisfying and reassuring – like being able to predict the next note in a song. So, I wrote LOOK as an ode to paying attention to patterns in the world around us, both in the natural world and in the world of human-made things. 

Lisa Varchol Perron – Tell Me About Oceans (4/16/2024) – When I wrote Tell Me About Space (2023), the editor was interested in some possible companion titles, so I drafted a list of several topics, and I was excited that she chose oceans for the second book. I didn’t grow up near the ocean, but whenever I visited, I would feel such a sense of wonder and peace. Now that I live close to the coast and see how curious my own kids are about the ocean, I’m even more enamored with it and all that there still is to learn.


Tell Me About Oceans doesn’t directly address climate change or the pollution of ocean waters, but I hope that when readers learn more about our planet’s largest ecosystem, they will experience a heightened investment in the ocean’s well-being.

 Julia Wasson – Can you Hear The Plants Speak? (4/16/2024) – I didn’t set out to write a book. Nick’s commitment to restoring our damaged habitat made a powerful impression. Through his eyes I saw palm trees, bougainvillea, and mustard as invasive species, choking the southern California native plants of our chaparral that make us a biodiversity hotspot, and how careless development puts that fragile habitat at risk. As I got to know Nick better, I learned more about the Indigenous teachings of the relationship of people to land that is at the heart of his work. I thought other people might enjoy learning about what we can do to support insects, animals, and relationships, even in small ways. I thought his words might make a beautiful book, and our illustrator, Madelyn Goodnight, brings the text alive in a way that is so true to what we envisioned. 

Laura Segal Stegman – The Chambered Nautilus (4/30/2024) – As the third in my middle grade trilogy, The Chambered Nautilus features self-acceptance, perseverance, and the power of friendship, the same themes woven through the first two books. Summer of L.U.C.K. introduces Darby (11), Naz (10), and Justin (12), three struggling kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival. Ready or Not, which takes place a year later, features more magical adventures with the three friends and the ghost, but it spotlights thirteen-year-old Justin, who faces a tricky choice: stand up to bigotry or let fear hold him back.


 In The Chambered Nautilus, Justin (by now, 14), Naz (12), and Darby (13) are focused on exploring the camp's new carnival ride, modeled after the spiral-shaped sea creature whose name it bears. But then pieces from the Ferris wheel begin vanishing, and they discover a connection between that and the Chambered Nautilus' secrets. The three friends must rely on their wits – and each other – to figure it all out before the carnival is destroyed. Winding up the trilogy with the kids helping the ghost who's helped them in the first two books was a highly satisfying conclusion.


As I mentioned, The Chambered Nautilus is my first book with STEAM elements. My own introduction to chambered nautiluses came as the result of reading my favorite book when I was a kid. That middle grade fantasy, called The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton, had a chapter in which the main characters must battle their way out of the rooms of a chambered nautilus shell from the inside out by coming up with one clever idea after another. The power of that scene stayed with me all these years after. In Summer of L.U.C.K., I included a minor reference to an idea for a carnival attraction called the Chambered Nautilus. Although that was essentially a random tribute to The Diamond in the Window, it served me well two books later when I was searching for a plot. The Chambered Nautilus ride shows up again as a misbegotten attempt to bring that carnival attraction to life. Everything goes wrong, the way it does in novels, but I took advantage of this idea to weave real-life facts about these magnificently unique cephalopods into the story.


It's so interesting all the different ways a book gets started. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being a children’s author?


Marta Magellan – I always want to write too much. I find so many interesting facts, and I struggle to leave things out or include them using fewer and simpler words. It’s not as easy as it looks in the end product.


Gabi Snyder – The waiting! This is a slow-moving business, and it’s been extra slow since the pandemic. There’s waiting to hear back from editors, waiting for contracts, and then even after a manuscript is acquired there can be a long wait until publication. And, of course, that makes sense! The perfect-fit illustrator needs to be found and illustration is a time-consuming process. A manuscript may be on submission for a year or two before it’s acquired and then it’s usually another two years from acquisition to publication date. So, it’s not unusual to have a wait of four years (or more!) from completion of a manuscript to a finished book in your hands.


Lisa Varchol Perron – Things tend to move slowly in publishing, and it’s sometimes hard to wait (especially when on submission). I’ve found that working on the next project helps a lot. A friend recently referred to waiting as “a quieter time for creating,” and I like that reframing.


Julia Wasson – Learning to write a publishable book was a steep learning curve. Having read and shared with young readers so many books, I thought it would be easy to write one. As so many of us know, not so! So many, many drafts. So much waiting. We began this book in 2015. It’s been a long road.


Laura Segal Stegman – Timing. Sometimes an idea isn't right for the moment. It's hard putting away a book I believe in and holding it until the publishing climate for that particular story changes.

What was the hardest, or most challenging, part of writing or researching your book? Was there a bit of your research you didn’t get to include?

Marta Magellan – Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies (4/14/2024) – The hardest part was trying to incorporate everything I thought was fascinating about these insects into a 1,500-word book. There are scientists who object to raising and releasing them as a form of saving them, and their reasoning had to be put in an understandable way. I could have written more on their threatened status, but I didn’t want to make it a climate change book, but one about the butterfly itself.

Gabi Snyder – Look (4/16/2024) – It was a challenge to choose which patterns to include when writing for a young audience. An earlier version of the story included a line about finding patterns in your dinner and the meal included beautiful Romanesco broccoli. The sidebar/back matter text explained that Romanesco broccoli is a special kind of pattern – a fractal (a pattern that repeats itself at different scales). And that it’s also a special kind of fractal – a Fibonacci sequence (the next number in the sequence is always the previous two numbers added together – 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, etc.). But in revising for clarity and flow, the dinner line and the broccoli were pruned.

Lisa Varchol Perron – Tell Me About Oceans (4/16/2024) – It's tempting to try to share as much information as possible when writing nonfiction, and I have to remind myself that my job is to pique a child’s interest and not write an entire textbook. I really enjoyed speaking to scientists during both the research and editing phase of this book. It’s a fun challenge to take big, complex concepts and simplify them for kids while still maintaining their accuracy. There’s always plenty that can’t be included, but I like to think some of that might become a separate book at some point!

Julia Wasson – Can you Hear The Plants Speak? (4/16/2024) – I would have liked to include more in the back matter about what native plants are and how to research those that are native to where you live. We recognize more and more about how vital they are to pollinators, birds, reptiles, and all animals, including those at risk of extinction.

Laura Segal Stegman – The Chambered Nautilus (4/30/2024) – The most challenging part of writing this book was coming up with an idea for the plot. I'm a true pantser, so I usually don't do much planning for my first draft, but The Chambered Nautilus was even more of a blank page than usual. I called it Book 3 forever! The thing is that once I got myself started, the story's ideas just sort of showed up. That's what I love the most about writing.


Thank goodness for back matter. But there's never quite enough room to get everything in. Is there anything special you want your readers to know about your book?

Text © Marta Magellan, 2024. Image © Mauro Magellan, 2024.

Marta Magellan – Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies (4/14/2024) – There are many things about monarch butterflies that people don’t know besides exactly how they manage their two-way migration, which is complex and fascinating. But there are monarchs that don’t migrate, problems with raising and releasing them to the wild, and the imposters that fool us into thinking we’re seeing monarchs. Everything about these insects is special! 

Text © Gabi Snyder, 2024. Image © Samantha Cotterill, 2024.

Gabi Snyder – Look (4/16/2024) – I hope LOOK provides an example of how tuning into the world around us and paying attention to all the patterns we share can help us feel centered and connected. I know I can sometimes go through my day with a kind of tunnel-vision, walking down streets or through the woods without really noticing much. But when I tune into the patterns that are all around us, it’s both awe-inspiring and reassuring.


As I was working on this manuscript, I really had patterns on the brain. And that turned my walks – both short neighborhood walks and longer nature hikes – into pattern-seeking treasure hunts! I highly recommend pattern-seeking walks.  

Text © Lisa Varchol Perron, 2024. Image © Jennifer Falkner, 2024.

Lisa Varchol Perron – Tell Me About Oceans (4/16/2024) – Like Tell Me About Space, this book has layered text, meaning the main text can be read on its own, but there are also sidebars that provide more detailed information. We inherently have options when we read a book with kids. We can pause to ask questions, change our tone to emphasize certain phrases, slow down to point out details in the art, and so on. Sidebars just offer an additional option for those who want to delve deeper into the subject matter (including older siblings).

Text © Nicholas Hummingbird and Julia Wasson, 2024. Image © Madelyn Goodnight, 2024.

Julia Wasson – Can you Hear The Plants Speak? (4/16/2024) – If all of us followed Nick’s example, wherever we live, we could restore environments and relationships, and enjoy beauty and a feeling of making a contribution.

Text © Laura Segal Stegman, 2024. Image © Casey W. Cowan, 2024.

Laura Segal Stegman – The Chambered Nautilus (4/30/2024) – For readers who’ve never heard of chambered nautiluses, I’m hoping to inspire a new generation’s fascination with their intriguing biology and their precarious status as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. These fascinating soft-bodied cephalopod class creatures, which live inside an intricately chambered shell, have cruised in deep ocean coral reefs for more than 480 million years! These are just some of the facts kids can learn about chambered nautiluses from my book.


Such great books! Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?


Marta Magellan – A book on macaws.


Gabi Snyder – I’ve been working on a manuscript concerning starlight that I’m excited about. It has not yet gone out on submission, so keep your fingers crossed!

Lisa Varchol Perron – I’m looking forward to the release of All the Rocks We Love (Rise x Penguin Workshop) in July. It was co-authored with my geologist husband, Taylor Perron, and illustrated with warmth and accuracy by David Scheirer. This picture book is a celebration of outdoor play and the variety of ways kids enjoy interacting with rocks, with a focus on ten specific rocks and their play-worthy attributes.

Another upcoming STEAM book I’m excited about is Wonder Why (Harper Kids, 2025)— an interactive picture book for every kid who’s wondered why the sky is blue, why the wind blows, or why thunder rumbles. Nik Henderson’s stunning illustrations really capture the beauty and might of nature.


Julia Wasson – My next collaborative project just went out to copy edits today! I’m also excited about that one. And I’m working hard to get my anthology ready to sub.


Good luck on your projects and we will keep our eyes open for these upcoming books. How do you deal with, or celebrate, rejections?


Marta Magellan – One is never immune to it, but I let it roll away without letting my heart break as it did in the beginning. I definitely don’t celebrate it or give myself treats for being rejected.


Gabi Snyder – Great question! At one time, I would plant a flower in my “rejection garden.” But that wasn’t sustainable when I was receiving several rejections each month! Now I don’t really have a ritual, aside from adding the rejections to my tracking spreadsheet, but I do try to remind myself that each rejection brings me closer to an acceptance!


Lisa Varchol Perron – I remind myself that editors have a variety of tastes and preferences, just like all readers. When a pass comes in, I take anything from it that might be useful and then return my attention to whatever else I’m working on. I think it’s important to care deeply about what we’re creating, but to also be able to detach from it to some degree, not deriving our sense of self-worth from someone else’s approval or disapproval. But if disappointment hits especially hard, I message a few critique partners to vent and then do something fun, like watch a good movie or tv show with my kids.


Julia Wasson – My problem is that I reject, or my critique group helps me reject, drafts before they ever leave our circle. I tend to hold on to things too long, when it would be better to let them have some air. I’m lucky to have critique partners who always help dilute the sting.


Laura Segal Stegman – Answer A: Badly. If I'm not careful, I start believing some old ideas that I'll never sell another book.


Answer B: Once I let go of taking rejections personally, I'm much better prepared to persevere and to accept successes and failures without believing they define who I am as a person.


Thanks for the strategies and advice. Last question, is there a plant or flower you love growing, or wish you could grow, in your yard or garden?


Marta Magellan – Bougainville and anything that attracts hummingbirds.


Gabi Snyder – It’s hard to choose one, but I am so happy that my yard has a lilac tree. I love the color of the blooms and the smell of lilacs always takes me back to my childhood and the lilacs growing in the back yard of my childhood home in Eastern Washington.


Lisa Varchol Perron – My mother-in-law’s gardens are a masterpiece. (People come to take pictures and get inspiration!) If I had her green thumb, I would fill my yard with flowers that attract hummingbirds, like cardinal flowers and butterfly bush. I could sit watching hummingbirds for hours. They're such magical creatures!


Julia Wasson – We just planted a keystone species to southern California, tiny baby oak, in our back yard. We’re looking forward to years to come when it will shade our house. I’m also growing white sage on my curb strip, because it has been so over-harvested for “smudging,” and has such a limited growing range. We need to do all we can to support species at risk.


Laura Segal Stegman – Ha, I have the opposite of a green thumb. Hydrangeas and jasmine are my favorite flowers/plants, and I have moderate success with them, but if I could have anything, I'd love a yard full of Heavenly Blue morning glories.


NOW, let me take a moment to introduce you to these amazing STEAM books!

Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies by Marta Magellan, illustrations by Mauro Magellan, photos by James Gersing (Eifrig Publishers 4/14/2024) – A wonderful combination of illustrations and photographs work with the question and answer text to explore fascinating facts, interesting research, and the dangers faced by monarch butterflies. Including the butterfly's battle with habitat (milkweed) loss, parasites, and pesticides. It ends with a hopeful call to action and many ways to be a citizen scientist and help the monarch butterflies. This is a delightful book exploring some lesser-known aspects of monarchs.

Synopsis: Monarch butterflies are the celebrities of the insect world. You probably know about their famous transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. But what else do you know about them? Are monarchs endangered? Why are there imposters out there imitating them? How do they manage their incredible two-way flights? And what’s up with those Florida monarchs?

Why don’t they behave like the others? The answers may surprise you.


Look by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill (Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) – This is such an intriguing book combining hand built, mixed-media three-dimensional sets photographed with a DSLR camera with black and white line drawings. When the world seems too big or loud, this book encourages looking for patterns - stripes, dots, repetition, zigzags, or combinations - in the world around us or in our own interactions with the world (how me move - step, hop, step - or stack rocks). Searching for patterns in nature, buildings, or the stars can make the world seem a little less big and confusing. It's a sweet book weaving a parent's love through a search for patterns.

Synopsis: In the tradition of Tomie dePaola’s Quiet, this lyrical, timely picture book with beautiful diorama illustrations shows that if you really look, you never know what the world might give you to see.

The natural world is full of patterns to enjoy for those who can ground themselves, be mindful, and truly see.

Tell Me About Oceans by Lisa Varchol Perron, illustrated by Jennifer Falkner (Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) –Ingeniously written as a rhyming series of questions from a child and answers from a father, this book explores many aspects of the sea from wave action, oxygen creation, seaweed, occupants, to light refraction. Each page contains explanatory sidebars that delve deeper into the child's questions or the father's explanations. Featuring a tender, loving relationship, it ends with the father's encouragement to stay curious and someday share discovered ocean secrets with him. It is a tender, gloriously illustrated STEM introduction to oceans.

Synopsis: A child gets answers to their many questions about the ocean in this rhyming, fact-filled nonfiction board book perfect for curious minds.

A child asks their grownup many questions about the ocean. From what creates waves, what lives in the deep sea, what makes the ocean blue, and more, scientific facts are conveyed in accessible language. Sidebars on each spread provide even more information for every question asked and answered.

Can you Hear The Plants Speak? by Nicholas Hummingbird and Julia Wasson, illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight (Harper & Collins 4/16/2024) – Beautiful illustrations follow a young boy's early interactions with nature and his great-grandparents, as he learns to listen to the plants. A fun weaving of note-less staffs swish through the book representing the plant's voices. But when the area is turned into a city, "the land was silenced." Later, as a young man feeling disconnected, a tiny milkweed growing in a crack reawakens his desire to listen and grow plants in pots and empty spaces, helping to increase the plant's voices. It's a wonderful call to action with great back matter suggestions to help readers grow plants and repair nature,

Synopsis: What do we learn from plants when we listen to them speaking? Indigenous plantsman Nicholas Hummingbird calls on the legacy of his great-grandparents to remember how one drop of rain, one seed, one plant can renew a cycle of hope and connection—for him and for each of us.

Perfect for readers of Sy Montgomery, debut authors Nicholas Hummingbird and Julia Wasson joyfully proclaim even the youngest person can be an earth protector. With gorgeous illustrations from Rock Your Mocs artist Madelyn Goodnight, Can You Hear the Plants Speak? encourages us to engage with the natural world.

The Chambered Nautilus by Laura Segal Stegman (Young Dragon Press 4/30/2024) - In the final book in the trilogy, the three friends Dary, Justin, and Naz are excited about the new ride at camp - the Chambered Nautilus., but the mysterious disappearances of parts of the camp's Ferris wheel threatens not only this ride, but the camp itself. The three kids have to discover the secrets of the spiral shape and its connection to the thefts, before their camp is closed for good.

Synopsis: Get ready for a whirlwind adventure with The Chambered Nautilus, the thrilling conclusion to Laura Segal Stegman's enchanting Summer of L.U.C.K. trilogy.

Best friends Darby, Justin, and Naz are facing their biggest challenge yet. Since last summer's adventure, they find themselves growing apart, making new friends, and being pulled in different directions. But when a ride at ghostly Mr. Usher's carnival experiences a mysterious malfunction, the trio reunites to answer his desperate call for help.

With expulsion from camp and the carnival's very existence on the line, Darby, Justin, and Naz will have to rely on their wits-and one another-to unravel the mysteries surrounding Mr. Usher's plea. The camp's newest attraction, the Chambered Nautilus, may hold the key, but it will take everything they have to unlock its secret.

Join them in a heart-pounding journey filled with friendship, courage, and the power of never giving up. Will they save the carnival and their cherished memories before it's too late? Find out in this magical tale of adventure, discovery, and the true meaning of loyalty.

Thank you all for giving us a little peek into yourselves and your books. Wishing you all enormous success.


To learn more about these writers, or to contact them:

Marta Magellan – Up, Up, and Away, Monarch Butterflies (Eifrig Publishers 4/14/2024) –


Gabi Snyder – Look (Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) –

Lisa Varchol Perron – Tell Me About Oceans (Little Simon & Schuster 4/16/2024) – 


Julia Wasson – Can you Hear The Plants Speak? (Harper & Collins 4/16/2024) –


Laura Segal Stegman – The Chambered Nautilus (Young Dragon Press 4/30/2024) -


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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