Horizontal photo of a bookshelf of Liz Lee Heinecke, featuring titles on conservation, ecology, and evolution. Photo by Liz Lee Heinecke

Liz Heinecke—Ecology for Kids: Science Experiments and Activities Inspired by Awesome Ecologists, Past and Present

Alternate text: Cover of the book Ecology for Kids with title, portraits of ecologists, and photos of children engaged in science projects

Ecology for Kids


Liz Lee Heinecke
Quarto Publishing Group, 2023, paperback $19.99, ebook $9.99
ISBN: 9780760375693, eISBN: 9780760375709

Heinecke reports:

I’ve been doing research for the last few years for a historical novel about a 1940 biological collecting trip to the Sea of Cortez. The seven people on the six-week voyage included the writer John Steinbeck, his wife Carol, and their friend Ed Ricketts, an early ecologist.

When my acquiring editor at Quarry Books asked whether I had an idea for a kids’ science book, an ecology book seemed like a logical fit for my Kitchen Pantry Scientist series. After all, I was fully immersed in the science of intertidal ecosystems. In the end, three of the scientists I feature in Ecology for Kids were inspired by the research for my novel.

Portrait photo of Liz Heinecke by Amber Procaccini

Liz Heinecke, photo by Amber Procaccini

While I’d already planned to include Ed Ricketts in the ecology book, a boat trip I took to the Sea of Cortez in January 2022 unexpectedly gave me two more scientists to write about. As we explored the sea and desert of the Baja Peninsula, we were guided on hikes and snorkeling trips by naturalists, including Carlos Navarro.

When I asked Carlos who the most famous ecologist in Mexico was, he pointed me to bat biologist Rodrigo Medellin. There also happened to be a barnacle scientist on the boat. After talking to her, I decided to write about Dora Priaulx Henry, whom Ed Ricketts often consulted when identifying specimens for his own collection. The other 22 biologists in the book come from around the globe.

Writing Ecology for Kids was a joy. It was delightful to learn about people who care about our planet and have been working to preserve the multitudes of ecosystems sustained by Earth. Modern ecologists I interviewed include Dana Bergstrom, Lesley de Souza, and Jodi Darquea Arteaga.

I also worked with a group of smart, enthusiastic kid scientists who planted seeds, cast plaster animal footprints, and netted freshwater invertebrates as we visited local nature centers to photograph the experiments that accompany each biography. As always, Amber Procaccini took gorgeous pictures, Kelly Anne Dalton penned stunning illustrations, and the design team at Quarto put everything together beautifully.

Contact info:

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.

See https://www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines.

Review Advance Copy archives at https://www.nasw.org/member-article/advance-copy.

Thinking of writing a book? If you are a NASW member, you may access a list of more than 150 books and online resources to help you create your book proposal, find an agent and funding sources, negotiate your contract, learn about self-publishing, publicize and market your book, and more at https://www.nasw.org/article/write-book.

Watch for announcements of NASW Books Committee Advance Copy virtual events on the NASW events calendar. View recordings of past events in NASW’s Video Archives.

Send book info and questions about book publishing to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor, llamberg@nasw.org.

Follow @LynneLamberg on Twitter for news about science/medical books and writing.

Banner image adapted from original photo by Liz Heinecke. NASW members: share photos of your office bookshelves for use on other pages of the NASW website. Upload photos to bit.ly/naswpicsubmit.

April 17, 2023

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

EurekAlert! at ScienceWriter2023

SPJ23 Journalism Convention

Advertise with NASW