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 are lively, interactive, and full of surprises! I use PowerPoint slides with amazing images by my underwater photographer collaborators, props, samples of my books in progress, and lots of anecdotes. I present at schools, libraries, conferences, aquariums, and museums, sharing anecdotes about the subjects of my books and insights into my research process.

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NEW: How to Build A Book            I think of a book as three parts: the words, the artwork, and the overall design. First, you need to choose a topic that grabs your interest, a good excuse for seeking your own adventures to write about. Like, “Sorry, I have to go swim with sharks,” and “Bye! I’m going to study volcanoes in Hawaii.” I will describe my research and writing process—the fun and the frustration—plus the skills that involve other creative people to make a children’s book succeed. Using examples from my past books and new projects, I show how these pieces fit together: WORDS—how to grab your reader; ART—photos or illustrations or cartoons; DESIGN—assembling all the pieces like a puzzle.

Telling the Story of Science              I pose the questions I ask ocean scientists and the questions I’d like to ask marine animals. I challenge students to think about the questions they’d ask if they had the chance. I emphasize the importance of accuracy in writing nonfiction—while emphasizing that these facts may change as scientists learn more. I feature my interviews with researchers, new discoveries and theories, and my own adventures with dolphins, sharks, and octopuses in order to capture the excitement of doing science.

Shark Expedition         Underwater Photographer Jeff Rotman’s exploits and encounters with various species of sharks read like adventure stories, except that they are real! In five new books, we share his personal anecdotes and insights from 40 years of diving with nearly 100 different shark species, including great white sharks, whale sharks, basking sharks, manta rays, tiger sharks, scalloped hammerheads, and many more.

Searching for Sea Monsters: Giant Squid, Giant Octopus, and Their Kin                 A centuries-long quest for the giant squid weaves through myths, whaling captains’ journals, and scientific expeditions. Also meet other present-day sea monsters: the Humboldt squid, the rare colossal squid, and the captivating aquarium favorite, the Pacific giant octopus.

City Fish, Country Fish              Like the classic tale of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse, there are places in the ocean that have characteristics of the city and of the country. See how “city” fishes that live in coral reefs compare to the “country” fishes of cooler climates. For older students, we can discuss how climate change is affecting these ocean ecosystems.

“Dear Dolphin”: Advice that Dolphins Could Give If We Would Only Listen                              Humans can learn some life lessons from dolphins and their communities, from “Family first” to “Use your melon.” Through interviews with scientists and trainers, as well as personal encounters of my own, I share some amazing truths about dolphins—and a few dark secrets.

Sea Secrets    How does climate change affect the food web for three animals that depend on a small shrimp-like zooplankter called krill? This book introduces the marine food web and why it is changing in a Bingo game on Winners and Losers in the Gulf of Maine. Best for grades 4-6.

Sister Ships: Exploring Sunken Cities Beneath the Sea    Two shipwrecks—200 years and 2,000 miles apart—bring to light periods in our nation’s history that shape our society today. Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that sank off Key West, Florida, in 1700; the paddlewheel steamer Portland sank in 1898 on its way from Boston to Portland, Maine. Less than 40 years after slavery was abolished, a third of its crew members were prosperous, hard-working members of Portland’s middle class. We explore what these two ships tell us about life, death, discovery, and renewal.

“My wife and I attended Mary’s presentation on Shipwrecks at the Maine Historical Society.  We were so impressed with not only her content expertise, but also with her engaging delivery.  History and marine biology came alive! Mary is a true educator adept at facilitating the curiosity of all ages.”   Corvis Catsouphes

“You were wonderful!  Not only what you present is great, but your enthusiasm just glows!”         – Librarian

3 Responses to Presentations

  1. Beth Leahy says:

    Ms. Cerullo spoke at our library (March 2011) and was fascinating. We all learned so much about shipwrecks and sea life. She was a delightful speaker and answered all of our questions with aplomb. Any child would be lucky to have any of her books.
    Beth Leahy, York Public Library Trustee

  2. Mary is a smart, fantastic speaker and entertainer with a great sense of humor. Invite her to speak to your classroom or organization…that’s my advice. Did I mention smart!

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