About Mary

my shark dive

Exploring the ocean through children’s literature…from microscopic plankton to giant squid

Learn about Author visits that combine science and literacy.

Imagine dancing with an octopus, looking into the jaws of a great white shark, accidentally annoying an aggressive Humboldt squid, or tracking Adelie penguins across the Antarctic landscape.

My presentations about the ocean and writing nonfiction books are lively, interactive, and full of surprises! I emphasize the excitement and challenges of doing science, using interviews with scientists and some of my own experiences.

I also share the challenges (and fun) of writing, using PowerPoint slides with amazing images by my underwater photographer collaborators, props, samples of my books in progress, and lots of anecdotes.

How I began:
I wandered into writing on my way to becoming a scientist.DSCF0021_4450

When I was 13, my parents’ friends would ask, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I thought, “Nurse? Meteorologist? Oceanologist?” It took me a year before I realized that it was an oceanographer that I wanted to become, but by then I was hooked. I went all through high school and college with the intent of studying oceanography.

After graduating college, I needed a break from studying. I got my first “grown-up” job at the New England Aquarium in Boston. It was there that I realized I wasn’t going to be a scientist. Instead, I found I liked learning a little about this and a little about that. So I turned to teaching and writing. Now I am a “science translator.” This career allows my curiosity to take me in many different directions as I continue to learn about and share my passion for the ocean.

I most enjoy getting to meet the scientists, divers, and underwater explorers I interview for my books. In doing my research, I’ve had a few undersea adventures of my own: swimming with 10 Caribbean reef sharks, lounging with stingrays in Stingray City, diving on a sunken ship, and spending a week in total immersion with bottlenose dolphins.

My day job as associate director of Friends of Casco Bay, in South Portland, Maine, allows me to work to help protect the environmental health of my hometown ocean.

An update of Life Under Ice in 2019 includes new research about how climate change is impacting the life in the ocean surrounding Antarctica. Talking about climate change–and acting to do something about it–are topics I increasingly focus on in conversations with kids (who GET it!) and adults  (who want to).

That is what makes the ocean so endlessly fascinating–new discoveries every day. Who knows what we–or you–will learn next?

I am just completing a manuscript on  volcanoes and the ocean, focusing on Kilauea in Hawaii. I must admit, that was a fun one to research! I am always are working on new book projects, and I welcome your suggestions for other ones! If you have a good idea, please email me at mcerullo@maine.rr.com!Friends of Casco Bay

Author Visits

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