I BOOK ORDERING
Ryder is an award-
author whose books
a unique blend of poetry
science. Her innovative Just
series invites children
the world of wild animals,
from a sea otter to
rex. Ms. Ryder
"Children know that my
often ask them to imagine
a different creature. So
always ask me which
I would choose to be.
be a flying one, I tell them.
if I could, I'd wish for wings.
I've discovered children
love wings, too. But
ones to choose? I
Rainbow Wings to help
decide." Ms. Ryder lives in
Her Own Words...
I was small, my father would find tiny treasures in our garden
and bring them to me cupped gently in his hands. 'I've got something
fabulous to show you,' he'd say, carefully opening his fingers.
I might see a cicada watching me with ruby eyes or a snail gliding
across his palm. Then my father would slip the animal into my
hands so I could watch it and feel it move for a moment until
we returned it to its home. (In case you haven't held a snail,
it feels like cool Jell-O sliding over warm skin!)
father helped me find the magic in the natural world and appreciate
what it might be like to be another creature, someone wonderfully
my books, I try to share with my readers the experience of being
"shape changers." We imagine together how it would feel to be
someone new--a huge, furry polar bear running on an ice-covered
sea, a lean lizard changing colors in the hot sun, a humpback
whale singing its winter song, a sea otter floating on a seaweed
bed, a Jaguar prowling in a lush tropical rain forest, and a great
white shark gliding toward its prey.
liked reading when I was young, especially adventures about dogs
and cats, and I began writing my own animal stories. My family
and teachers encouraged my writing and made me want to continue.
So I studied journalism at Marquette University, and I learned
how to research and discover facts. Sometimes a book idea comes
from an amazing animal fact I've found. A curious person, I start
thinking of questions about where the animal lives and how it
spends its days and nights. I may hunt for the answers for months
before I write a word of my book.
several years I was an editor of children's books in New York.
Now I write full-time and live in California. I enjoy hiking through
woods and parks and by the sea. There, it is still easy for me
to imagine what it might be like to be a tiny insect hidden in
the leaves above or perhaps a whale swimming deep below the pounding
waves. So my language is poetic, full of images, sounds, and sensations
to help readers slip into a new skin, a new shape.
father helped me discover the wonders hidden all around me, and
in my books I try to share my own discoveries with children. And
I hope when they explore the natural world on their own, they
will also find it a most inviting place--as I did and still do."
are Joanne's favorite awards:
American Nature Study Society’s Eva L. Gordon Award for
Excellence in Writing for Children in l995. This is for the body
of a writer’s work.
The Gold Medal in Children’s Literature from the New York
Academy of Science for The Snail’s Spell.
ASPCA’s Henry Bergh Award for Children’s Poetry—Gold
Medal 2000 for Each Living Thing.
Parents Magazine’s 2004 Best Book List—Won’t
You Be My Kissaroo?
Her books have also been on the ABA Pick of the Lists; NSTA, NCTE,
IRA, Children’s Choice and Parent’s Magazine Book