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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - May 2024 Interview with STEAM Team Books Members (Part 1)

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 and a decending rainbow of books on a white grid globe and a black background.

Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to four creatives from the STEAM Team Books – a group of authors and illustrators 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?...)

Author photo of Heather Lang.

Heather Lang – Superdads!: Animal Heroes (Candlewick Press 5/7/2024) – For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books and stories and creating things. When I started writing for children twenty years ago, I was also a full-time mom of 5-year-old triplets and a 7-year-old, so I learned quickly to write anywhere and everywhere.


I’m constantly in awe of nature and its countless gifts and surprises. Nothing sparks my curiosity more, so I especially enjoy researching and writing informational picture books that celebrate our natural world. I also love writing picture book biographies about trailblazing women. Since science topics fascinate me and women pursuing STEM careers have faced incredible challenges, I’m drawn to their stories. The women I write about inspire me every day to push myself, step out of my comfort zone, and persevere. They’ve taught me important life lessons, transformed fear into passion, and helped me grow in so many ways. And my ultimate hope is always to pass that inspiration on to my readers.

[Author of 9 books, including Supermoms! Animal Heroes (2023), The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest (2021), Anybody's Game: Kathryn Johnston, the First Girl to Play Little League Baseball (2018), Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark (2016), Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (2016), The Original Cowgirl: The Wild Adventures of Lucille Mulhall (2015), Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump Champion (2012). And contributor to Nonfiction Writers Dig Deep: 50 Award-Winning Children’s Book Authors Share the Secret of Engaging Writing (2020).]

Illustrator photo of Jamie Harper.

Jamie Harper – Superdads!: Animal Heroes (Candlewick Press 5/7/2024) – Once upon a time, I was a pastry chef, and before that I worked in an office crunching numbers. Writing and illustrating children’s books are by far the best jobs I’ve ever had (well, that is, after being a mom). I fell in love with picture books after reading so many to my children. Then I took some classes at MassArt and tried my hand at making one myself. I got my first job illustrating a poem for Click magazine in 2001. Two years later, my first picture book was published. I’ve made a lot more since then.

What’s my process? I have a nifty keyboard that attaches to my tablet, so I can write or draw pretty much anywhere. I love libraries, always have, so often I’ll walk to the library with my iPad and work for hours. And I like sitting in warm, comfy cafés to write and draw. My book ideas are all so different. The one common thread is humor. And each book idea calls for a particular style of illustration. I do like trying new styles, new things. Once I’ve made and collected different kinds of papers in an array of colors and textures, I scan them and then rely on my iPad to create the illustrations.


[Author/Illustrator of 14 books, including Supermoms! Animal Heroes (2023), Miss Mingo and the 100th Day of School (2020), Bella's Best of All (2016), Miles to the Finish (2014), Miles to Go (2013), Miss Mingo Weathers the Storm (2012), Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill (2009), Splish Splash, Baby Bundt: A Recipe for Bath Time (2007), and the Illustrator of 16 books, including The Little Floofs' Book of Money (2020), the EllRay Jakes Series (9 books), and the Emma Series (6 books).]

Author photo of Michelle Cusolito holding an atolla jellyfish while on the expedition. © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marley Parker.

© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marley Parker.

Michelle Cusolito – A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea (Charlesbridge 5/7/2024) – I started writing for children around 2007 but didn’t sell my first book until 2016 (which came out in 2018). My first job out of college was as a Naturalist at an environmental camp on Cape Cod. Then I became an elementary school teacher and a science curriculum developer, so the transition to writing STEAM books for kids was a natural one. I have a deep sense of wonder for the natural world, and I want to share that with kids.


I write in a variety of places: at my standing desk, at the kitchen counter or dining room table, in my screened porch, in cafés (before Covid), lounging on the sofa, or in my bed first thing in the morning. (I wrote the first draft of my 4th book—which is not announced, yet—before I got out of bed one morning). I also like writing outside: the first draft of Flying Deep was written while I sat at the edge of a pond.


[Author of Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean (2022) and Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin (2018).]

Author photo of Nell Cross Beckerman.

Nell Cross Beckerman – From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us (Cameron Kids/Abrahms 5/7/2024) –My previous career was as a TV producer, where I produced fun news entertainment stories like the “nanoguitar” the world’s smallest guitar, for VH1, MTV, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, and the Discovery Channel. I stopped working in TV when I became a parent and found my way to picture book writing after signing up for a class taught by non-fiction master, Michelle Markel, at UCLA Extension Writers Program. She introduced some poetic concept books that blew my mind and gave instruction for structure. My first book, Down Under the Pier, started as a writing prompt in that class. That was in 2017. Since then, I’ve sold seven manuscripts and now I’m a writing teacher myself!


[Author of Caves (2022), When the Sky Glows (2022) and Down Under the Pier (2020).]


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


Heather Lang – I think the subjects I write about are what inspires me. Whether I’m writing about someone overcoming an extraordinary obstacle or about a cool animal, learning new things about interesting people, animals, and topics always motivates and excites me. Nothing inspires me more than nature, so perhaps that’s why many of my books are about our natural world.


Jamie Harper – I spend a lot of time researching animals on the internet and social media (Instagram turned out to be a surprising source of information on animals we included in our books). Now my feeds are flooded with animals in general but especially with animals with extraordinary characteristics. I am amazed almost every day by the sheer magnitude of species, the new ones discovered regularly, and how many are yet to be discovered. It truly is astounding. So, I’d say I’m inspired by animals and the desire to know as much as I can about them. I have loads of other inspirations, but I’ll share those another time.


Michelle Cusolito – This incredible planet and the scientists trying to uncover its secrets inspire me. Almost every day I experience something wonderful while out in nature, when I see an amazing photograph on Instagram (I follow loads of science accounts), or when I read an article about some new scientific discovery. I already have a lifetime of ideas for books and more keep coming. I keep chasing my own curiosity. I figure if I’m interested in something, others will be too.


Nell Cross Beckerman – I hike on a local trail many times a week (the subject of From Park to Playa!) and often get inspired by what I see on the hike or from just thinking internal thoughts while I hike. Newspaper headlines, things in my social feed can also inspire me—in fact, the last story I sold was inspired by a TikTok!

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

Book cover - three cartoon panels of cool ostrich dads in sunglasses.

Heather Lang & Jamie Harper – Superdads!: Animal Heroes (5/7/2024) (combined answer) – When we submitted the first book in this series, Supermoms!, we included a list of possible follow-up titles. A book about super animal dads didn’t make our cut, since the variety seemed limited. But once we decided to work with Candlewick, it was clear that they were looking forward to a second book about animal dads IF we could make it work. So, we dug deep into the research. And we’re so glad we did because the dads we found are incredible. Take the seahorse dad, for example, he’s the one who goes through labor and delivery! The Darwin’s frog dad keeps his tadpoles in his throat and “burps” them up when they turn into froglets. Amazing! It’s true that moms do most of the parenting in the wild, but they tend to get ALL the credit, so we wanted to celebrate these unsung heroes who go above and beyond to take care of their young.

Book Cover - photos of the boat and creatures found in the deep ocean.

Michelle Cusolito – A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea (5/7/2024) - In late 2018 and early 2019 I saw Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) posting about a new six-year research project they were undertaking called the Ocean Twilight Zone Project (OTZ). Those posts lead me to ocean scientist Heidi Sosik’s TED Talk titled, The Discoveries Awaiting Us in the Ocean's Twilight Zone. In the spring of 2019, I also received my copy of WHOI’s Oceanus magazine. The entire issue was dedicated to the project. I was hooked and I knew I needed to write about it. The fact that I eventually got to go to sea with WHOI was a dream come true.

Book Cover - trail weaving from a california city to the ocean, where 4 kids play along the edge of the surf.

Nell Cross Beckerman – From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us (5/7/2024) – I had moved into a new house and found myself creatively blocked. I panicked that my writing space in my last house held all the writing magic! I decided to go for a hike to ground myself. While on the hike I crossed paths with a bunny. It was a wonderous moment of awe! We both froze, staring at each other. Then another hiker came from the other direction, too, and also froze. The three of us shared a moment of still, wordless connection. Then the bunny ran away, and the moment was over. But I was so inspired by how this urban hiking trail fostered such a magical moment of connection and ran back home to start writing.


I love discovering a book's origin story. Thank you all for sharing yours with us. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being a children’s author or illustrator?


Heather Lang – It really differs for every book. Sometimes I struggle to find a piece of research I need to make my story work. Sometimes I get stuck during the writing process. Sometimes the marketing seems daunting. But I’ve come to realize that the twists and turns and bumps are part of what makes the writing journey interesting and rewarding.


Jamie Harper – It’s a 24/7 job. There’s always something to get done, so it’s difficult to set boundaries. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to do that. I always feel pressure that I should be doing this or that. Sometimes, I wish I had a job where the evenings and most weekends were mine to do whatever I wanted once the workday was over.

I also struggle with the isolation that comes with this endeavor. (Having a dog, any pet, makes a big difference; I get good feedback from Louie when I ask him about an illustration.) It helps to work in a studio that has other artists or, better yet, a building filled with multiple studio spaces. I try to make a schedule that forces me to leave home where I work to meet friends, exercise, or whatever.


Michelle Cusolito – Right this moment, my biggest challenge is learning how to juggle multiple projects in different stages (one launching, two coming next year, and one in the development stage). It’s a good problem to have, but there’s definitely a learning curve. I’ve had to be diligent about managing my time and keeping track of deadlines. (I’m literally completing these responses the day they’re due! In the past, I haven’t worked that way—I’d get things done early—but lately, I’ve been down to the wire on deadlines.)


Nell Cross Beckerman – By far, the most challenging aspect is trying to do all the publicity on your own. There have been so many skills I’ve had to learn quickly. I did not have an Instagram or Twitter account before I was published, I didn’t know how to use Canva, build a website, cultivate a mailing list, reach out to bookstores, libraries, schools, publications. Learn how to write conference proposals!? At this point, writing the books feels like the easy fun part of being a published author. Although I have to admit, it has been empowering to learn all the other things as well.


I think many authors and illustrators will echo your sentiments. Is there anything special you want your readers to know about your book?


Heather Lang & Jamie Harper – Superdads!: Animal Heroes (5/7/2024) (combined answer) – We both dedicated Superdads! to our husbands (Dave and George)--two super devoted, super silly, and super lovable dads. And because of them, we met each other (they went to business school together)!


Michelle Cusolito – A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea (5/7/2024) - There’s a QR code in the back of the book that takes readers to some of my original, unedited videos from the expedition! I hope readers enjoy this behind the scenes look.

The photos were primarily taken by Marley Parker of ML Parker Media and me while we were at sea. Marley is an amazing photographer. She has a special gift for spotlighting the scientists,


Nell Cross Beckerman – From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us (5/7/2024) – My book is a fun adventure through many different slices of life. Spotting a bunny. Having a birthday party in the park. Making dandelion wishes. Riding a bike at twilight. Sitting around a beach bonfire. But it also has specific California experiences, like a grunion run, that I think are pretty unusual to find in a picture book. I hope people in California see it as a mirror, and readers in other parts of the world can see it as a window to a place where urban nature looks different from where they live. And I hope everyone is inspired to spend more time outside!


Lots of great tidbits about the books, thanks! What was the hardest, or most challenging, part of writing, illustrating, or researching your book? Was there a bit of your research you didn’t get to include?

Internal spread - cartoon-like panels of a malee fowl dad checking the temperature of his nest with his beak.

Text © Heather Lang, 2024. Image © Jamie Harper, 2024.

Heather Lang & Jamie Harper – Superdads!: Animal Heroes (5/7/2024) (combined answer) – The most challenging part of this book was finding a variety of dads and behaviors to include. We had to dig deep into the research. We found that most are birds. Initially, we had some feedback that the book should be more balanced with different kinds of animals, but once we decided that the birds should be highlighted–after all, they are spectacular dads as a whole–then the book became a lot easier to approach.

Internal spread - on left, a photo of ship cabin and bunks. On right, 4 scientists and Michelle practicing getting into safety suit.

Text © Michelle Cusolito, 2024.

Michelle Cusolito – A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea (5/7/2024) - There is SO MUCH I could say here, but I’ll pick one thing to share. The hardest part of writing the book was deciding what point of view to use. There were nineteen people on the science team and twenty-three crew and technicians. I always knew I wanted to write this as a narrative, but I struggled to figure out how to tell their stories without confusing the reader with too many names. I was talking to one of the scientists, Kayla, a couple of months after the expedition about this challenge and she said, “It should be through your point of view. Tell it through your eyes.” I had thought this before but quickly dismissed it. When Kayla said it to me, I had an immediate, visceral reaction. I literally felt like my insides were churning… no, no, no! It’s not that I didn’t want to be in the book. That was fine. I wanted this book to focus on the people doing the work: the scientists, engineers, technicians, and crew. Not me. It was never meant to be about me.


But almost as quickly as I had that visceral response, another thought quickly followed:

“Shoot. She’s right.” I needed to be the point of view character because I had experienced science at sea for the first time, just like my readers would be. I’d be their stand-in.


To your last question: there is a boatload of research that didn’t get in. I couldn’t even begin to describe all of it. The OTZ project is massive.

Internal image - twilight bike ride along the path with a culvert of water sparkling and curving next to the trail.

Text © Nell Cross Beckerman, 2024. Image © Sophie Diao, 2024.

Nell Cross Beckerman – From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us (5/7/2024) – The Park to Playa trail is the result of a 20-year effort to connect five trails into one. It is actually a bit challenging to find the trail in a few places, especially crossing one massive intersection where about five giant boulevards come together. I spent a hot sweaty day with my dad, who is a biologist, and my husband, walking every section of the path (we skipped the full bike path part of the trail), so I could gather details for the book. It was sweaty and exhausting, but memories were made, and the book came into much sharper focus.


These books are so amazing! And I hope readers dive into all three of these great STEM books. Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?


Heather Lang & Jamie Harper (combined answer) – Making these books together has been one giant collaboration, so writing a book about animals that team up in the wild seemed like the perfect choice! Supersquads! will be flying into the world in late 2025.


Michelle Cusolito – I have two books coming in 2025 that I’m excited about. Jellyfish Scientist: Maude Delap and Her Mesmerizing Medusas, illustrated by Ellen Rooney (Charlesbridge) comes out in April. In rural Ireland, in 1899, Maude was the first person to ever raise jellyfish through their whole life cycle. (They go through a complete change like frogs or butterflies). Maude even published a paper about this experiment—in her own name—in 1900, a rare occurrence for a woman at the time. I got to see the cover last week and it looks amazing!


In the World of Whales, illustrated by Jessica Lanan (Neal Porter Books) publishes in June. This lyrically written (beautifully illustrated!) nonfiction book describes a man’s life-changing experience of freediving with a clan of sperm whales during a birth. 

Book cover - two hikers looking across a cloud-filled valley at an errupting volcano.

Nell Cross Beckerman – I’m thrilled that Caves is having a companion book come out in August called Volcanoes. Kalen Chock is the illustrator again and the lava glows right off the page. I learned so much about extraterrestrial volcanoes, underwater volcanoes, and that one of the biggest volcanic eruptions was so loud that the sound traveled around the world three times and burst all the eardrums of the crew in a ship nearby. Volcanoes is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and I can’t wait for it to come out!

I am so excited and can't wait to each of these books! How do you deal with, or celebrate, rejections?

Heather Lang – I always try to have multiple projects going, so I never sit around waiting for good news. Rejection is still hard and can be so disappointing, but keeping busy with other projects helps tremendously and gives me a lot of hope. Plus, I have very special writing friends and a fabulous agent to lean on for support when I need it.


Jamie Harper – I’ve been making books for a long time, and rejection still hurts, especially if you’ve poured your heart, soul, and hundreds of hours into a project. And even when you are in the process of making a book, there is rejection…of sketches and cover ideas and the name you want to give the book. But time helps, and I think I understand that it’s such a part of this business in many ways that I’ve grown a bit accustomed to it and maybe hardened to it. One thing that helps me is making sure I note all the things I learned while preparing a project for submission, which is then ultimately rejected. That’s important because all the time you spend on craft will not go to waste and, ideally, will bring you closer to success—however you define that to be.


Michelle Cusolito – I’m not going to say they don’t still hurt a little, but they definitely roll off me a lot easier than they did when I first started submitting. Some days, I read the email from my agent and just move on. Sometimes, if the rejection is from an editor I really thought would say yes, I go out for a walk to shake it off, but then the best thing is to for me to keep working on the next project. If I happen to get a particularly nice rejection, I’ll “celebrate” it by exchanging a happy email with my agent and talking about it with my husband.


Nell Cross Beckerman – I expect rejection, so it is a pleasant surprise when I’m not rejected! I’m always moving forward, on to the next, or trying to figure out other approaches for the rejected story.

Thank you all for for these great strategies and ideas. Last question, is there a plant or flower you love growing, or wish you could grow, in your yard or garden?

Heather Lang – I’m a HUGE fan of attracting monarch butterflies and pollinators to my garden, so I tend to lean towards plants that do that, for example butterfly bushes, echinacea, bee balm, black-eyed Susans, Joe Pye weed, and asters.

Photo of nasturtiums draping courtyard of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston. © Siena Scarff

 © Siena Scarff, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Jamie Harper – I don’t have a green thumb, but I wish I did. Heather does, and she has some beautiful gardens. I keep thinking I’m going to learn and make my yard look prettier, but it just hasn’t happened yet. If I could, I’d love to hang nasturtiums around the perimeter of my house from the roof. How cool to see them free-falling from every window inside my home?! It won’t surprise many of you who live in and around Boston that the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum drapes long, long vines of nasturtiums from third-floor balconies around the interior courtyard every year around the end March/beginning of April to celebrate Isabella’s birthday and her love of orange nasturtiums. It’s quite a sight. I never miss it.

Photo of Iris plant © Michelle Cusolito

© Michelle Cusolito

Michelle Cusolito – I have fairly extensive flower gardens with a variety of plants that originated in the gardens of my family and friends. My most cherished one is an iris. The original plant came from my great-grandmother’s garden (Her name was Albertine Durocher). My mom rescued the plant before the house was sold. The plant has remained so healthy that it has needed to be split over and over again for the last 60+ years. I literally have dozens of these plants from that single original growing in my yard, and I’ve shared them with friends all over my area. I even shipped rhizomes to fellow kidlit authors in other states, including the wonderful April Pulley Sayre, who was a real supporter of my work. [Wow, that's a gorgeous Iris!]

Photo of a passion flower and vine.

© Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia,

Nell Cross Beckerman – I adore passion flower vines and have always wanted one! The flowers are so intricate.


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

Book cover - three cartoon panels of cool ostrich dads in sunglasses.

Superdads! Animal Heroes by Heather Lang, illustrated by Jamie Harper (Candlewick Press 5/7/2024) - Dads get their day in this sequel to Supermoms! . Once again utilizing the comic panel formatting and snarky, wry humor speech bubbles, this book explores bird, mammal, reptile, and insect dads who save the day and care for their babies in some really unusual ways. A fun narrative text and humorous back matter exploring each dad's super award category (such as "super stealthy" or "super scientific"), habitat, food, and a super fact makes this an engaging STEM book and an awesome gift for your favorite "Super Dad" on Father's Day.

Synopsis: Raising babies in the wild is a mighty big job, but these super animal dads are up to the task! Packed with cool facts in a fun comics format.

It’s wild out there for baby animals, but nature’s superdads can handle it all. A great horned owl dad brings home tasty prey to his nest, while a sandgrouse dad carries precious water on his feathers across the desert for his thirsty chicks. Wolf dads love a game of tug-of-war with their rambunctious pups, glass frog dads protect their eggs from predators with powerful kicks, and kiwi dads sit on their eggs for eighty days, keeping them safe and warm. And did you know that giant water bug dads can tote a whopping 150 eggs on their backs while doing push-ups? The team behind Supermoms! delivers another humorous and fascinating look into wild parenting, highlighting how superdads from seahorses to gorillas feed, protect, nurture, and even incubate their babies. The comics-panel format, with its lively art and cheeky comments from offspring, makes for an engaging read. Back matter includes bonus super facts about each animal and recommendations for more children’s books, websites, and episodes to explore.

Book Cover - photos of the boat and creatures found in the deep ocean.

A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea by Michelle Cusolito (Charlesbridge 5/7/2024) – With a wonderful conversational voice, the book surges into the action with a prologue of day 9 as the boat is battered by rolling waves at the beginning of a big storm at sea in the North Atlantic. Joining the crew in Spain, Michelle Cusolito provides the focal point for the reader to live through a 24-day journey on a research vessel at sea. She surrounds the reader with the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations of living, eating, working, and surviving aboard a science ship exploring the secrets of the cold, dark ocean twilight zone. Offering exciting looks at the equipment, experiments, and scientists, as well as the challenges, inspiring discoveries, and teamwork involved in this amazing adventure, this is a wonderful once-in-a-life time middle grade STEM book sure to inspire the next generations of ocean scientists and ocean protectors. It is really hard to put down.


Synopsis: Want a front-row seat to cutting-edge ocean twilight zone technology? Climb aboard for twenty-four days of photo-illustrated science at sea! A fascinating middle-grade STEM book.

Join scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and international partner organizations on a research trip to study the ocean twilight zone using the newest technologies. Science writer Michelle Cusolito takes you along for the voyage of a lifetime.

From moving onto the ship and unpacking equipment to facing massive storms while in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this book details the fascinating equipment used to study the deep ocean as well as day-to-day details such as what you eat on a Spanish research ship. Meet people and animals and learn more at sea than you ever imagined!

Book Cover - trail weaving from a california city to the ocean, where 4 kids play along the edge of the surf.

From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us by Nell Cross Beckerman, illustrated by Sophie Diao (Cameron Kids/Abrams 5/7/2024) – This beautiful, poetic book leads the reader from a suburban trail, through numerous city parks, to the Pacific Ocean beach (playa). Offering the reader a glimpse of the wildlife (plant and animal), human diversity and machinery, and the sensations of exploring the 13-mile trail through Los Angeles. Throughout the dirt trails, steep stairs, winding bike path, and a moonlit beach, nature abounds in animals, a myriad of birds, and plant treasures. It's a trail that connects people and nature; encouraging and inspiring us all to get outside and look around. To explore and really observe our surroundings. A fun visual glossary explores the plants and animals shown along the trail.

Synopsis: Follow along as families from all over the city set out and connect on a trail that begins inland and winds its way through diverse neighborhoods, city playgrounds and parks, up and down open-space hills, past piñata parties and food trucks, downtown buildings, movie-studio rainbows, and public art murals—all the way to the beach at dusk, where they meet around a bonfire, next to a sparkling Ferris wheel on a pier.

Inspired by a real city trail called Park to Playa in Los Angeles, From Park to Playa includes back matter not only about the real path, but about finding your path where you live. Nature is just outside the door and free and accessible to all, even if you live in the middle of a major city.


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:

Heather Lang – Superdads! Animal Heroes (Candlewick Press 5/7/2024) -


Jamie Harper – Superdads! Animal Heroes (Candlewick Press 5/7/2023) - 

Michelle Cusolito – A Window into the Ocean Twilight Zone: Twenty-four Days of Science at Sea (Charlesbridge 5/7/2024) –


Nell Cross Beckerman – From Park to Playa: The Trails the Connect Us (Cameron Kids/Abrams 5/7/2024) –


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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