Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green Guest of the Month: Suzanne Slade, Making a Difference with Environmentally-Conscious Children’s Books

Chicago-area author Suzanne Slade has written over 80 books for children, many with nature and environmental themes. Her recent picture book, What’s the Difference? An Endangered Animal Subtraction Story, combines environmental awareness with math practice. I recently had the privilege of talking with Suzanne about What’s the Difference? and some of her upcoming nature-themed books.

Suzanne, What was your inspiration for creating “What’s the Difference?”

I've always been a big animal lover, and have been concerned about endangered animals for years, but after I finished an earlier book, What Can We Do About Endangered Animals, I was inspired to write What's the Difference? This 2010 picture book (published by Sylvan Dell, illustrated by Joan Waites) shows twelve gorgeous endangered animals in their natural habitats, and shares important information about how people are making a big difference by helping them.

This book contains a wealth of information about endangered animals. What was the research process like? What challenges did you encounter?

One of the biggest challenges I faced with this book was obtaining current information about the status of each animal, and how people can best help them. To make sure my facts were up-to-date and correct, I contacted several experts on various animals at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The illustrator's sketches were also reviewed by wildlife experts.

What do you hope What’s the Difference? will impart to its readers?

My goal is that children will gain a fuller understanding of how animals become threatened and endangered, and also realize that they can make a difference. For example, this book shares how one beautiful endangered butterfly, the Karner blue, was helped by children who planted wild lupine (a lovely purple flowering plant that Karner blues need to survive).

What can your readers look forward to next? Any new nature books in the works?

I'm very excited about my next book coming out with Sylvan Dell in fall, 2011 titled Multiply on the Fly. This multiplication book features all kinds of cool insects (did I mention I like bugs?) It is currently being illustrated by Erin Hunter, an amazing California artist who specializes in entomological and botanical illustrations (in other words, she draws great creatures and plants!)

Thanks, Suzanne for providing such wonderful eco-conscious books for young readers!

To learn more about Suzanne and her books, visit:

If you’d like to find out about her virtual author visits, check out her Skype-an-Author page:
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