Today I welcome my Rate Your Story friend author Mary Boone. She’s a former newspaper reporter and editor which explains why she’s highly skilled at critiquing and nonfiction research. Mary has more than 65 nonfiction books for young readers, a wonderful blog featuring other authors, and a fabulous website. Mary and I were part of a Nerd Camp panel last summer focused on encouraging young readers to be curious about a wide variety of STEM topics. Mary’s nonfiction middle grade book BUGS FOR BREAKFAST, How Eating Insects Could Save the World, published in 2021 added wonderful depth to our presentation.
Mary is offering one lucky winner a Winner’s choice giveaway! Comment on the blogpost to enter for a chance to win a copy of BUGS FOR BREAKFAST, How Eating Insects Could Save the World and cricket samples OR a Zoom classroom visit with Mary.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
It’s so appropriate that I write nonfiction for kids because, when I was in elementary school, biographies were my jam. Reading about sports stars like Babe Didrikson Zaharias, politicians such as John F. Kennedy, and difference-makers like Mildred and Richard Loving, truly changed my life.
I grew up in a very small town in rural Iowa, so those biographies opened my eyes and broadened my world view. They helped me understand and appreciate some of the challenges endured by others. Those books sparked my curiosity.
Whenever I could, I’d sneak away to the school library. By the beginning of fifth grade, I had read every biography owned by Lambert Elementary. Thankfully the librarian “got me,” so once a week she arranged for me to go to the middle school to check out books there!
What inspires you?
I take a lot of inspiration from nature. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so the beauty of the oceans, forests, and mountains is all around me. I love hiking and kayaking, and it’s important to me that we, as a society, take care of our environment. That all influences the stories I’m drawn to.
I also find my creativity jumps into high gear when I’m surrounded by natural beauty, so writing anywhere with a water view is one of my favorite things.
What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
BUGS FOR BREAKFAST is about entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) and how that ties both to world cultures and sustainability. Obviously, I hope readers think a little more about the resources it takes to produce the food we eat. But, even more importantly, I hope the book is opening minds.
A lot of readers hear what the book is about and immediately give me a big YUCK! But, the more they read and learn, the more willing they are to try new things and find solutions for our world’s sustainability challenges. It’s always heartwarming when teachers use the book with their classes and send me videos of students tasting bugs for the first time or mixing up a batch of cricket powder cookies.
What’s next for you?
I’m very excited to have contracts for two – not yet announced – nonfiction picture books set to release in 2024. Like most writers, I have files filled with ideas for future projects. I’m deep into research for another middle-grade nonfiction book that has me pretty excited. I can’t wait to talk about ALL these projects!
Readers can find out more about Mary and her books:
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