On Writing: Jennifer Keats Curtis Talks about her new release Baby Bear’s Adoption!

Hopefully, you are happily reading all the Arbordale new releases!! This week we will feature each book on the blog. Today we talk with Baby Bear’s Adoption creator Jennifer Keats Curtis, on how she took what she learned from wildlife biologist Mark Boersen and turned it into this fun little picture book!

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AP: How did this book come to be?

JKC: I don’t think I can express how much I love learning about different animals! I had heard about raptors and other birds taking care of non-biological babies in their nests; but, this was the first time I’d heard about a mammal. The first time I talked to Mark Boersen, the wildlife biologist who runs the program for Michigan, I knew there was a story here!

AP: What inspires you in this story?

JKC: So many aspects! For one, knowing that bear adoption is based on a real program for orphaned/abandoned baby bears, I am amazed that scientists could figure out how to unite a baby with a mother bear who is not his or hers biologically. While bears can be placed in human-run facilities, this is obviously the best outcome for a young bear. It tickles me that the mother bear will take that baby and raise him as her own. I also love the way that the illustrator Veronica Jones shows such amazement and wonder on the kids’ faces!

AP: What attracts you to write about scientists?

JKC: Well, for one thing, when I was a kid, I didn’t think I was “good” at science, so I avoided that (and math). I ended up with an undergraduate degree in English Literature because I love to read and analyze text and a graduate degree in Journalism because I’m so nosy! When you’re a reporter, you can ask people questions, and they willingly answer! I love to know about everything and scientists are such incredible sources of information. I get to learn details that may not be otherwise accessible, and I really have to work hard before we ever meet to discuss the topic because they often talk at such a high level of expertise that I must have a good basic understanding of the topic before I can begin asking good questions…and then comprehend their answers.

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AP: What do you hope kids get from reading this book?

JKC: For one, my intent was to allow the kids with whom I see during frequent school visits and author residencies to see themselves in my books. During those visits, when I look out, I see many races besides white. I read with and work with African-American, Asian, Indian, and Hispanic children. Rarely, if ever, do I see children of color represented in children’s nature books. (This is one of the reasons I was so delighted to work with Dr. Neeti Bathala on Moonlight Crab Count and see the illustrations represent an Indian girl and her mom.) I wanted my young readers to see themselves in my stories. The adoption angle was supposed to be subtle with the illustrations hinting at adoption in human families; so again, kids could perhaps see a similarity between the bear’s family and their own family. Incidentally, I wrote the story from the point of view of my nephew Braden (who was eight at the time) and decided to include his sister, my niece, Finley. The kids in the story don’t look like them, nor does the dad in the story look like my little brother, because, that is the beauty of realistic fiction. After reading this book, I hope kids will think as I do—science is awesome! I might be able to work with experts even though I’m a kid! Maybe I should be a scientist when I grow up! I could work outside and help animals at the same time.

AP: Do you think kids will think about adoption differently?

JKC: I am not sure if kids will think about adoption differently. Like many adults, I have friends who have happily, well ecstatically, adopted children. I would like to hope that there is a happy family for every child who needs one.

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Learn more, or get your own copy of Baby Bear’s Adoption on our website. You can also check out the many other books by Jennifer Keats Curtis there too!

It’s a Birthday Party!

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Happy Book Birthday to Jennifer Keats Curtis, Veronica Jones, Linda Stanek, Shennen Bersani, Kevin Kurtz, Sherry Neidigh, Brian Rock, and Carolyn Le their books are on sale at your favorite bookseller!

Get to know our new titles!

 

BabyBearWhen two young kids learn about their father’s job, they get a surprise experience not many of us could imagine. Braden and Finley quickly learn to snowshoe so that they can head out with their Dad and his team of wildlife biologists. Dad and his team are part of a program in Michigan that tag, track and eventually hope to unite orphaned baby bears with new mama bears. The kids keep the cubs warm as the team does their work and then places the cubs back with mom in the den for their long winter hibernation. The kids wait until spring when Dad gets a call that they have an orphaned baby bear that needs a new family and the kids once again tag along to watch the team strategically join the baby with a new mom.

 

CheetahDreamsMany know that cheetahs are fast, but many don’t know how challenging it is to be a big cat on the African savanna. A poetic text introduces the many trials and tribulations of hunting, raising young cheetahs, and other dangers. This book urges readers to feel empathy toward the cats while learning more about their life. The lyrical text is paired with more informative tidbits about habitat and adaptations. The realistic artwork gives readers an up-close look at these majestic cats.

 

DayForestWetSpend a day and a night with the animals that call a forested wetland home. Some of these neighbors bask in the sunlight through the trees; others prefer to lurk in the waters. But when the sun goes down, a whole new group of animals thrives under the cover of darkness. Throughout the book, we learn fascinating facts about these animals and the unique habitat they call home in short rhyming stanzas. The text paired with the amazing detail in the illustrations, readers are sure to ask to visit a wetland after reading this book!

 

King Lion draws a line in the sand of his dusty empire, and the racers wait for the start. WhichAnimalThe race is quick, and the cheetah is crowned the winner of the world’s fastest animal! But wait, the other animals cry that the race is unfair and make their case for a new competition. Birds are much quicker through the air, and over a long distance the husky would surely beat the cheetah, and the marlin is the speediest in the sea. Others show off their own special skills until King Lion had heard enough and then ponders the problem. The solution is simple King Lion will hold an Olympics with categories for all types of animals.

Download teaching activities, take quizzes or print the “For Creative Minds” section from the Arbordale website. You can also order your own copy in hardcover, paperback, or dual-language ebook in our store!