While my first non-fiction book comes out this year, some authors are masters at bringing true stories and facts to kids. It’s especially exciting when a book covers a topic that hasn’t yet been covered before! I caught up with Jennifer Swanson to learn more about her new book, THE LOST FOREST:

Me: Congratulations on your fascinating new book, THE LOST FOREST: AN UNEXPECTED DISCOVERY BENEATH THE WAVES (Millbrook Press, April 2024)! What an interesting subject, I had no idea. And about a secret location too (kids will love that)! What inspired you to write this book?

Jennifer: I happen to know one of the scientists at Nahant Marine Science Center. His name is Dr. Brian Helmuth, and he was one of the experts on my Astronaut-Aquanaut book. When he learned that his team was getting a grant from NOAA to be the only team to conduct a research dive on a secret underwater forest off the coast in Alabama, he called me. Brian wanted to share his exciting news and also ask if I was interested in writing a book about this.

Was I? Absolutely!

Me: How did you research this topic and get to know the team? Have you been to the site?

Jennifer: So, I was invited to go on one of their research trips into the Gulf, but those were postponed due to covid. So, instead, I got to participate in several of the online team meetings they had. They gave me access to all of their reports, the photos, and the videos. It was so exciting to get an inside look at how scientists conduct research in the field. Unfortunately, I have not been to visit the site, yet. I’m hoping to do so maybe one day.

 

Me: One of my most profound experiences is diving down along The Wall (part of the Puerto Rico Trench) off St. Croix. Are you a diver?

Jennifer: I snorkel. I wish I could scuba dive, but I have a condition with one of my ears that prevents me from going deeper than 10 feet. I love watching videos, movies, and looking at pictures of dives. The closest I got was “diving” near Aquarius (the underwater research lab off the coast of Florida) through VR – virtual reality—goggles. It was AMAZING!

 

Me: How did you get into writing for kids?

Jennifer: I am a huge reader! I’ve always loved reading stories and writing ones of my own. About sixteen years ago, I thought it might be fun to take a writing class. For me, writing for kids was the best choice because the writing voice “in my head” is about 9 years old. It’s fun, it’s mischievous and very, very curious. I have also loved science my whole life. It seemed the perfect connection to write science books for kids. And it is! I really love sharing my curiosity about the world with kids of all ages.

I got started writing for kids by doing work-for-hire books for various educational publishers. My first break into trade came with the offer to write a book about the hugely popular National Geographic TV show, BRAIN GAMES.

Me: Can you share what you’re working on next?

Jennifer: I am in final edits on the next Atlas Obscura book for kids that comes out summer 2025. I’m SO excited for this one! It’s called The Atlas Obscura Explorers Guide to Inventing the World, and I’m the coauthor. This is going to be such a cool book!!

Me: Can’t wait to see it! Thank you so much for being here. Wishing your book much success!

To learn more, please go to Jennifer Swanson – Author, Speaker, Teacher – Science Rocks – Jennifer Swanson (jenniferswansonbooks.com)

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