I'm a freelance science writer and the author of nearly a hundred books about science and discovery for children. My books have been NCTE Notable, Junior Library Guild, and the Children's Book Committee/Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. I won the 2018 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature in youth books and the 2017 Riverby Award for nature books for young readers.
I grew up on the outskirts of Greensburg, a small city in western Pennsylvania. When I was eight, my family moved to a 45-acre homestead in rural Clarion County. I spent hours roaming fields, wading in ice-cold streams, and tramping through woods. Nature fascinated me.
In college I pursued my interest in science and nature, earning a BS in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts, followed by a PhD in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin. My graduate research focused on how plants sense and respond to their environment, a subject that still fascinates me. I then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin and Penn State University.
In 2004 I traded my lab coat for a laptop and became a freelance writer focused on science for kids. My books range from picture books for young children to environmental nonfiction for teens. I also write for magazines for children and adults. I write most often about plants, animals, ecology, evolution, and conservation.
One of the best parts of my job is getting to speak with dedicated researchers all over the world about the work they do. And I love sharing what I'm learning with my readers.
I live in State College, Pennsylvania, with my family, a dog, a cat, and a small flock of backyard hens. When I'm not writing, I enjoy teaching others. I’ve spoken at conferences about science and nonfiction writing, and I’ve visited numerous schools, both in person and virtually. I also bake bread, grow gardens, and as often as possible, get outdoors to hike, journal, and take photographs.
Interviews, blog posts, and more
If you want to learn more about me or my writing, you can…
Read my answers to some questions frequently asked questions
See a list of awards my books have won.
Visit my author's page at Lerner Books.
Read this author interview on Nancy Sanders' Blogzone (January 2014).
See an interview in my hometown paper, The Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) (July 2014).
Check out this author interview with Sue Heavenrich on GROG Blog (September 2016).
Read my Authors for Earth Day Blog post on writing Birds vs. Blades? (December 2016).
Read an author Q&A on the Lerner Books blog (July 2016).
See my blog post, "Nonfiction truths," on Tara Lazar's StoryStorm 2017 (January 2017).