I grew up on 50 acres in western Pennsylvania, the second of four children. As a child I spent lots of time outdoors—roaming woods and fields, splashing in streams, climbing trees, and swimming in my family's backyard pool. I also loved drawing and reading and writing.
In college, I studied biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts and then molecular biology and plant biology at the University of Wisconsin.
After college and graduate school, I worked as a laboratory scientist for two years. Then I decided it was time to try something new. At this time in my life, I was married and had young children of my own. I was exploring nature with my children and reading wonderful books with them. I decided to begin writing about science and nature for children.
My first book (on polar bears) was published in 2008. Since then, I have authored more than sixty books, ranging from picture books to nonfiction for teens. My writing draws both on my background as a scientist and on my endless curiosity about the world of living things.
When I'm not writing, I love to dig in the dirt in my garden in central Pennsylvania, cook good food, drink coffee (mostly decaf, so I can sleep), and explore the nearby woods with my dog, Sadie. My favorite people in the world to spend time with are my husband, Rick Hirsch, and our three children, Anna, Eva, and Ellie.
One of the things I love about being a writer is that I am always learning something new. I love the daily challenge of wrestling my thoughts into words, and I get a thrill out of sharing my fascination with science, nature, and discovery with my readers.
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)
Websites of friends who make wonderful books