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 stories. I present at schools, libraries, conferences, aquariums, and museums, sharing anecdotes about the subjects of my books and insights into my research process.
NEW: How To Build A Book
It takes more than words to make a book. You need a writer, an artist, and a designer to put all the pieces together. First, you 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.
NEW: Sharks At Your Service
Sharks are often depicted as scary people-eaters, but underwater photographer Jeff Rotman says that these skillful predators are essential to sustaining the health of the world’s oceans. He would know, having dived with nearly 100 different shark species in his career. His adventures with great white sharks, whale sharks, basking sharks, manta rays, and many more have helped him understand the many roles that sharks perform in the sea—some of which even resemble jobs that humans do on land! Jeff says that recognizing some of the things we have in common may make people want to work to protect sharks from their top predators: us!
NEW: Volcano, Where Fire and Water Meet
Imagine standing on the edge of a volcano, watching fiery lava spurt into the night sky as earthquakes shake the ground beneath your feet. The destructive forces of volcanoes are terrifying and well-known. Volcanoes can destroy, but they also can create. Ancient volcanoes helped construct an atmosphere that we can breathe, sparking all life on earth. Oceanic volcanoes build islands, anchor coral reefs, and fuel a deep-sea ecosystem that doesn’t depend on the energy of the sun. See what scientists are learning about the powerful forces deep inside the earth that shape our landscape and impact life within the ocean.
NEW: Sister Ships: Time Capsules Beneath the Sea
Two shipwrecks—200 years and 2,000 miles apart—bring to light periods in our nation’s history that still 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 officially abolished, a third of its crew members were prosperous, hard-working members of Portland’s Black middle class. We explore what these two ships tell us about life, death, remembrance, and resilience.
NEW: “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.
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 ferocious 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.
NEW: Sea Secrets
How does climate change affect the food web for three animals that depend on small shrimp-like zooplankton 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 individual classes in upper elementary and middle school grades.
“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