Author, Advocate, Activist

I write books that connect children to the natural world.

During a recent classroom interview, the teacher asked me to tell her students what I'd like them to remember. They'd read Hurt Go Happy. You would think by now, after 30 years of writing, I'd know what I wanted my take-home message to be, but I had to stop and think. What was my sound bite? What could I say that they would remember? 

When I was growing up my mother took me to the Sanford (Florida) Zoo. I was only 6 or 7, but I remember feeling sorry for the animals. Sixty years ago, it was a horrible place. All the animals were in small cages, and people would throw peanuts or popcorn or the butt end of a hot dog bun at them, trying to get a reaction--some display of emotion. I've never been to another zoo, or a circus, or to a Sea World-like aquarium except to do research. Decades have passed and we still keep animals in cages, and whales and dolphins in concrete tanks, then starve them so they will do tricks for food. We lock monkeys and chimpanzees, dogs and cats in cages and test chemicals on them. 

So what do I want from you? I hope, if you go to a zoo, a circus, or an aquarium, or see a commercial or a movie with an animal in it, that you will ask yourself where did that animal come from, and what was done to it to make it do what it is doing to amuse me? Then I want the life it's living to break your heart.