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 the science of living things. I received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in molecular biology/plant biology from the University of Wisconsin. For a few years after graduate school, I worked as a post-doctoral scientist at the University of Wisconsin and Penn State University,
After my first two children were born, I was ready to try something new. I left the lab to stay home when my children were young and began to write books about science and nature for kids. Writing gave me a way to use my training as a scientist and share my love of the natural world with curious young readers. My first book was published in 2008, and since then I have authored more than sixty books, ranging from picture books to nonfiction for teens.
When I'm not writing, I love to dig in my garden in central Pennsylvania, cook good food, drink coffee (mostly decaf, so I can sleep), and explore the nearby mountains 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 and fascinating about the natural world, and I get a thrill out of sharing what I am learning 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