A podcast interview with Katherine Applegate
The Children’s Book Review
In this episode, I talk with an all-time favorite author, Katherine Applegate, the Newbery Medalist winner for The One and Only Ivan. She talks about her latest stunning novel, Odder, the story of an intrepid sea otter.
Listen to the Interview
Number 1 New York Times bestselling author Katherine Applegate has written many books for young readers, including THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. Katherine’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and her books have won accolades, including the Christopher Medal, the Golden Kite Award, the Bank Street Josette Frank Award, the California Book Award Gold Medal, the Crystal Kite Award, the Green Earth Book Honor Award, the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award, and the E.B. White Read Aloud Award.
Many of her works have appeared on state master lists, as well as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and New York Times bestseller lists, and Best of the Year lists from School Library Journal, Kirkus, Amazon, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library. Katherine has two adult children and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and assorted pets. Learn more about her work at https://katherineapplegate.com/.
Read the Interview
Bianca Schulze: Hi, Katherine. Welcome to The Growing Readers Podcast today.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Bianca Schulze: The plan is to talk about your new book, Odder, but before we do, I just saw that The One and Only Ruby will release in May of 2023, and I just need to get it off my chest as to how excited I am. And I’m really, really, really excited. Not just because my middle name is Ruby, but I love her character, so I can’t wait.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, that has been so much fun to write because she’s a totally different voice from Ivan and Bob. Well, she’s young, and she’s silly and very emotional. And I go back to Africa for a bit and discuss her new life. And it was just really fun. And, of course, I love doing research. So, it was great because I got to delve into elephants even more than I had.
Bianca Schulze: Oh, that’s awesome. There’s going to be so many excited people for this book.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, I hope so.
Bianca Schulze: Well, I’m always drawn to the books you create because of the level of humanity, care, and dignity you bring to your stories and the characters within them. I’d love to know what drives you and guides you in creating books for children.
Katherine Applegate: It’s so complicated because it’s so multifaceted. At the end of the day, the most important thing to me is that a children’s book leaves you with hope because I think sometimes hope is in short supply. I’m a devout pessimist, and I think writing books for children is actually therapeutic for me because it helps me find those paths to hope.
One of the things I love is doing school visits because I get to hang out with the very readers who will hopefully be connecting with my books. And they’re always so idealistic and energetic, and they’re figuring out how they fit into the world. And there’s just you can’t spend the day with middle grade readers and not come away feeling more hopeful. So, I think the most important thing is starting with that approach.
And I’ve been telling kids lately one of the things I find very interesting about writing is for me; I often find I’m channeling anger, things that make me really mad or frustrated, sometimes passionate, or curious. But more often, it’s like, oh, my gosh. Like when I heard about Ivan being stuck in a cage for 27 years, I was devastated and wanted to write about it. I wrote Wishtree during a very vitriolic election cycle, and unfortunately, we’re still kind of seeing that. But I just wanted to talk about compassion and acceptance. So sometimes, if you can’t think what to write about, look at what’s making you really mad. I think that’s a good place to start.
Bianca Schulze: Oh, my gosh. I love that. It made me understand why I love your stories so much. Let’s talk specifically about Odder. There are so many reasons why I had to pick up this book and read it. And let’s not kid around here. The story is about adorable and mesmerizing sea otters, which just happened to be one of my favorite animals. And I’m not going to hold back here. The world literally stopped for me just for a moment when I first spotted Charles Santoso’s book cover illustration.
Katherine Applegate: Yes.
Bianca Schulze: Let’s start with the book cover, Charles’s art, and how it makes you feel.
Katherine Applegate: Charles is absolutely amazing, and this is the third cover I’ve been lucky enough to have him do. He did Wishtree and Willodeen, and he is magical with everything, especially animals. He’s just got this gift. And when I saw that cover, I was like; I was just blown away. I don’t think I’ve ever had a book that didn’t have an amazing cover on it. I’ve been really lucky that way. But how can you walk past that and not go, oh, I must have this book? This adorable little creature is looking out at me with those beautiful eyes. Just amazing.
And they have been giving away some art prints for preorders, and I, of course, managed to scarf a few for myself, and they’re just beautiful. I can’t wait to frame it because I never get tired of looking at it. He’s so good. And his interior art is equally charming. It’s just that cover; you just go, whoa.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, just the way Odder’s head is just kind of like cocked to the side a little bit, too. Just like everything about it is just gorgeous. And I love just the detail of every little streak of fur. Anyway, I love his artwork, so I do too.
Let’s dig into the story. We should never assume things, but it’s pretty safe to say that you enjoy researching and learning about new animals and environments. So, what was it about sea otters and essentially the conservation of sea otters that compelled you to write the story of Odder?
Katherine Applegate: Well, okay, let’s start with the fact, as you point out, they are about as cute as an animal can get. And I’m lucky, I live in Los Angeles, but there is this amazing aquarium in Monterey, Monterey Bay Aquarium, that I have visited a few times, and the otters are just mesmerizing. If you see them in the wild, it’s even more, the case. But there’s something about seeing them really up close, just a few inches away, twirling and swirling in the water. It’s just balletic. It’s absolutely beautiful. It looks like they never stop having fun. In fact, otters’ lives are very complicated. But man, when they’re in the water, they just look like nothing can go wrong and life is good.
So, I was really interested in them, knew very little about them, and for part of my research, I went to the aquarium. I was going to go back because an integral part of the story is the fact that they have a surrogate otter program that helps acclimate abandoned, orphaned baby otters back into the wild by using otters that have been declared non-releasable and live at the aquarium as sort of surrogate moms.
So, I was going to go back and hang out with the babies, but this was prime time for COVID, and they were very worried about any kind of infection. So instead, I went to the aquarium. And then I went to Elkhorn Slough, which is this little sort of swampy Monterey Bay adjacent waterway, where many of the otters have settled and where they breed and when they return to the wild where they acclimate. And it’s a really fun tour because you’re gliding through the water, and there they are, 2ft away, just having a good time.
So that was my initial research, and of course, I did have volume upon volume of otter books now piled up on my desk. But one of the most important things I think I did was to have the manuscript vetted once it was done by a couple of the marine biologists there. They called them aquarists, actually, I learned. And that was really helpful because I based my otters on actual otters in the same way Ivan was inspired by an actual gorilla. And I sort of created a composite because I needed bits and pieces of their backstory. But I tried to stay as close as I could to what had actually happened. And so, I wanted to make sure I got all that right.
Bianca Schulze: I think one of the great things about stories is that they can transport us back to a time or place or inform us and tell us about places we’ve never been. And as you said, like, Monterey Bay Aquarium is kind of a big part of Otto’s story. And for me, I’ve been lucky enough to go to that aquarium a couple of times, and it’s such an incredible space and place. And so, I love that, for some readers, it may connect them to the place that they’ve been. Like, I’ve been there, which is great, but for others, I feel like it will intrigue them into wanting to head to their local aquarium or head to Monterey. And I love that.
So, I’m just wondering, what do you want readers that haven’t picked up a copy of Odder? What do you want them to know about Monterey Bay Aquarium’s role in the story?
Katherine Applegate: I should mention before I forget that they have an otter cam on their website, and you can watch them playing and interacting with the caretakers, and it’s really fun to watch. Monterey Bay Aquarium has been at the forefront of this approach to caring for these orphan babies. And they would get lots of them over the decades, and what they used to do, which struck me as remarkable—and I include this in Odder’s story—they would basically try to pretend to be otter moms and dads, and that extended to teaching them how to open clams and how to wrap themselves in kelp, so they don’t float away but also taking them into the bay to swim. And strangely enough, they would stay connected to these human otter pals and go back to the aquarium.
But eventually, when they finally were ready, they hoped to be released. They were so used to humans that they were jumping on kayaks. And this was a problem, in fact, for Odder and my story and the otters on whom she’s based. So, they realized that if they could entice these, occasionally, they’d have otters who simply couldn’t go back into the wild. They were too injured. Great white shark bites are a big problem; toxoplasmosis, which comes from, strangely enough, from cat feces, from even domestic cats, but certainly feral cats are a big problem.
So, these otters would get sick, and they take them in, and they couldn’t go back into the wild. And they had a particular otter they brought in who was ill, didn’t know she was pregnant and had a stillbirth. And that very day, a baby orphaned otter came into their care, and they thought, hey, you know, let’s give it a shot. And it worked, and she took over.
But what was more miraculous was that subsequent otters who had not recently been pregnant or ever cared for young would take in these babies and just, okay, I got this, I’m going to teach them how to be an otter. And what the Aquas started doing was wearing these bizarre outfits. They called them their Darth Vader look, and they would wear welders’ helmets—they still do this—and these big black sorts of ponchos so that their humanness was almost entirely eliminated. And so that the baby otters were only bonding with these surrogate moms and not at all with the humans.
And since they’ve done that, they’ve had remarkable success getting these orphans back into the wild. They’ve bred, they’ve had their own babies, and other aquariums are duplicating the whole process. So, they really have done amazing work, and it’s been a trial and error. It was absolutely fascinating learning about how they came to the right process because it was hard.
Bianca Schulze: I don’t want to give any spoilers away. It’s always something I try really, really hard not to do. So, what I loved about reading otter is that I could tell that you had done so much research and what’s great is that you have that back matter in the last pages that really just tied in at a greater understanding, and it helped me to learn more about the otters. And so, do you hope that otter will inspire young readers to get involved in environmental efforts?
Because it definitely inspired me. And you mentioned the otter camps, which there were links in the back matter to the otter cams. So, I went right to those and checked them out, which was adorable. I think the Elkhorn Slough — there was a mama otter with a baby on its belly. Anyway, back to my question. Do you hope it will inspire young readers to get involved in environmental efforts?
Katherine Applegate: I actually had someone; I think it was on GoodReads say exactly that. But if you had a young aspiring biologist, especially marine biologists, this was just the book for them, and that made me so happy because I would love for that to happen. What’s so cool about this whole story is that in the early 1900s, they were down to 50 otters in this area. Miraculously, a handful of people went, wait, maybe there’s a way to keep these guys alive and maybe even expand the population. And it was the earliest start of the conservation efforts in that area.
And now they’re up to; I want to say, 3000. It’s not a huge population, but it’s a solid population. And they have all kinds of threats they’re still facing, as there are so many, of course, climate change, the water temperature.
I mentioned the great white sharks—it’s almost comical because these sharks are often hungry and young. And in fact, my opening scene with Odder is also a great white shark. It’s such a gruesome, but it’s scary, a little bit scary. And these guys are hungry. They got out of their range, and they see these black things floating in the water that look kind of sleek, and they think, oh, seal blubber. Or they think, oh, surfer tasty. And they bite the otter. And then the otter, of course, is nothing but the densest fur on Earth, which is how they manage to stay in the water all the time. And the shark is, of course, repulsed and spits out the otter. But unfortunately, it’s a little hard on the otter. So that has been a problem.
There are all kinds of issues, and otters are keystone species, which means they are vital to an ecosystem. In this case, the bay depends on the otters and their appetite, and it’s very important that we have them and that they stick around. So, if even two or three kids go, yeah, that’s what I want to do someday, oh, that would be great.
Bianca Schulze: I love that you brought up the shock scene and that it is a young shock at the beginning of your book. And even though, like, sure, the idea of this sweet otter may be becoming a snack for a shark, in theory, that’s a little scary, you do just this beautiful job of applying perspective. Even though you know the shark is a side character in your story. It moves the plot along, but you give a feeling to this shark that is a level of understanding that the shark needs to eat too. The shark exists in this place and is just doing what the shark knows how to do. In theory, it sounds scary, but it’s such a great introduction to just the life cycle and what happens in the ocean. And I love the way that you delivered it.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, that’s good to hear. Yeah. Obviously, I’m always thinking about my younger readers, and I want to make sure that nothing is too scary. But I want to be as accurate and honest as I can. I think because we don’t want spoilers, do they? I found myself heading into one, but fear not, let’s just say all will be well.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah, I feel like I hear some, like, listeners saying, no, we want the spoiler, we want the spoiler. Tell us.
Here’s my other question for you, too, then, because you do visit a lot of schools. Even if it’s just 1, 2, 3, or 4 kids that decide they want to get involved in environmental efforts, have you discovered any fun entry points or ways for kids to get involved? They’ve read your book, whether it’s about Ivan or when Ruby comes out, or if it’s Odder and somebody says, hey, I want to do more, I want to know more, like, what are some good entry points for them?
Katherine Applegate: One of the things that my wonderful publisher Macmillan did with Willodeen, and I believe the site was readwillodeen.com, was create a sort of teacher slash student guide for ways to get involved, ways to think about conservation contacts, both at a very low community level where maybe you’re picking up trash, or perhaps you create a little club within your own school. I’ve often suggested to kids to become the resident expert on a particular species at their school and become the person who discovers they’re the best.
You know, if you collect some pennies, where should they go? What’s the best conservation effort going on? For example, it’s hard even to know where to start with elephants. There are so many. One I recommend, and this is largely because we were talking about Ruby, she ends up in an elephant orphanage for a while, and the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust runs an elephant orphanage. And the same thing is true for gorillas. There are magnificent organizations. So, you become a local expert, learn everything you possibly can, and then become a one-person advocate.
And I think one very cool thing is that schools are starting to create eco-focused groups. And there are so many ways climate change is affecting us all now that it’s vital that this happens. I sense that anxiety when I talk to kids. I mean, all you have to do is look out the window. It’s not lost on them that we adults have not exactly handled our care for Mother Earth as well as we might have. And I love seeing their energy and instincts to step up. That’s when I get most hopeless. And then I talked to them, and I think, now, maybe it’s going to be okay after all. So, there are myriad places to start.
Bianca Schulze: Let’s talk about writing style now. So, this book is a perfect candidate for anyone, in my opinion, who enjoys reading aloud to kids, because every line break or where the words have been designed to sort of dance and bubble across the page, it really lends itself beautifully to almost a playful and dramatic inflection and feeling. So, I’d love to hear you talk about the lyrical style in which you wrote Otter and why you chose to write this story this way.
Katherine Applegate: The last book I did in free verse was called Home of the Brave, and I love doing it. I think I’m a frustrated poet at heart, and my favorite part of writing is chiseling down that big, messy rock upwards and trying to find a diamond and all the coal and plodding. On the other hand, plotting is hard. So, for me, writing a free verse was just an absolute delight and made it much easier in many ways.
Also, when you’re in the head of an animal, by definition, you’re going to be somewhat anthropomorphic no matter how much research you do. And writing in free verse allows you to circumvent a little bit of that, I think, to get as close to the experience of twirling in the water, for example, or being chased by a shark and make it more, I don’t know, visceral. So, it felt very natural.
It felt very appropriate for this particular story because I spent almost the whole time in Odder’s head. Two or three times, I leap out just long enough to explain what’s going on with some of the human caretakers so that the kids can be so that it’s absolutely clear, for example, that they’ve tagged her so that she won’t get lost, things like that. But for the most part, it’s all in her head. And for me, free verse just lends itself perfectly to that.
Bianca Schulze: Honestly, it was so beautiful, I started to read it, and I thought, when you pick up a book, even if it’s an author like you, that I love. I’ve loved every story. But you really don’t know until you’ve read it how you’re going to feel. And I plan to read it over three different settings. And I sat down, and I read it from beginning to end. I couldn’t stop.
Katherine Applegate: That’s lovely to hear. That’s really nice. And it’s funny; I think kids will read anything. That’s one of the reasons I love writing for middle grade because they’re open-minded. Give it a shot. Sure, it’s an otter. Why not? But sometimes, adults are a little more resistant to animal books, and I think it’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed it.
Bianca Schulze: I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I kind of am going to put you on the spot. Do you have a copy with you now? And if you do, would you be willing to read a short excerpt?
Katherine Applegate: Oh, absolutely. All right, let me pull it up while we’re sitting here. Let’s see. I think I have it here. Okay, why don’t I just do the beginning? So, Odder opens, and Odder, by the way, is spelled with two Ds, which has already caused great consternation among many children. It opens with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: It is a happy talent to know how to play.
And I think when we think of otters, play is the first and most important thing you imagine. In fact, the first section is called the Queen of Play:
Not (exactly) guilty
In their defense,
do not (as a rule) eat
True, sharks sometimes
by mistake, leaving
or the jagged clue
of a tooth or two.
Say an empty-bellied.
great white shark
is enticed by
a long, sleek swimmer,
a sea lion, perhaps.
(Big fans of
Curious, the shark
moves in for a nibble,
only to discover he’s
sampling a surfer (oops),
or, more likely,
a member of the most
of the weasel family,
the southern sea otter.
You’ve been there,
in the cafeteria line
or the breakfast buffet,
taking a chance on
some new food?
Grab, gulp, grimace:
You spit the offending
item into a napkin,
no harm, no foul.
Same goes for the shark,
Of course, my bed is often
too late for the surfer.
And almost always
too late for the otter.
Bianca Schulze: Oh, my gosh. So, I have to tell you, when I sat down and started reading, my kids were sitting at the dinner table eating their dinner, and I read the pot where it says, you’ve been there in the cafeteria, spitting your food into the napkin. I had to look— I’m not going to say any names, but I looked exactly at one of my children, and we had to pause for a little chuckle.
Katherine Applegate: Been there, done that.
Bianca Schulze: As I said before, I love how the line break led to the poetic nature, and it almost creates, like, a silent musical soundtrack into how you read it. Anyway, that’s how it felt to me. And I love how you also bring the reader in to sort of have these relatable moments. Thank you for reading that. I loved it.
Katherine Applegate: Of course.
Bianca Schulze: Well, since this podcast is The Growing Readers Podcast, I would be remiss not to ask my signature question. To be a writer, it is often said that you need to be a reader first. So, was there a pivotal moment in which you considered yourself a reader?
Katherine Applegate: Absolutely. But I have to confess that probably unlike, I would guess, 90% of the people to whom you ask that question, I was not a big reader as a kid, and I always confess this right up front when I talk to kids, and it wasn’t any particular reason. I just hadn’t found the right book. I happen to have a daughter who has dyslexia, which can make reading very challenging, but with great teachers, you can overcome it. But that wasn’t my issue. I just thought it was boring.
And it wasn’t until I had a teacher reach Charlotte’s Web that I realized there was something special to books. And it was because I was a huge animal fan. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was growing up. In fact, I worked for a vet in high school. And then I realized along the way I was more interested in what was going on inside their heads than maybe inside their bodies. But Charlotte’s Web was the turning point, and it probably has been the turning point for hundreds of thousands of people. It’s just that kind of book. And I go back and read it every so often, and I still find new things to love about it. And that’s the sign of a very special book.
Bianca Schulze: Yes, I love that. That was a special book for you. It is such an amazing book, and as you said, a turning point for so many young readers. But I would say that even now, for a lot of people or a lot of children, that what Charlotte’s Web was for us; I would say The One and Only Ivan is probably that book for many children right now. I truly believe that.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, my, that’s high praise indeed. I have had a lot of people with reluctant readers who said it was a turning point because it looks like a real book. It’s a big, fat book with a big, fat story, but it’s accessible because there isn’t a lot on the page. And all that white space is reassuring. I think. I’m probably still writing that way because that’s the kind of reader I am. I’m still a very slow reader—I kind of read to absorb the words. I don’t rush through books, so I’m still writing for myself.
Bianca Schulze: One of my children proclaims that she’s a slow reader, as though that’s a negative thing. And I’m always like, no, I’m a slow reader, too. And that’s because you’re soaking up every single word. You know, you’re really taking it in. And I’m all here for slow reading. It’s the best kind.
Katherine Applegate: And sometimes I’ll read once for kind of the gist, the plot, and then I’ll go back and read to savor the words. Man, I just love that part. That’s the best part.
Bianca Schulze: Yeah. A lot of people in our space will say that if a child isn’t a reader yet, it’s because they just haven’t found the right book. And I do believe that’s true for, like, 99% of the kids. But you mentioned that your daughter has Dyslexia. And so, I’m just curious if you would share a little bit about maybe that experience from a parent’s perspective because I feel like sometimes dyslexia is missed in children. As though they’re just a reluctant reader and that they just aren’t choosing to or that they haven’t found the right book. But it’s challenging to read. And that’s why they haven’t been able to connect with reading.
I don’t have experience with Dyslexia, but I would just love to hear your thoughts on maybe if we did have a listener who had a child with Dyslexia and has been trying to. Like, you know, just find the next right book. But maybe that isn’t the answer for them.
Katherine Applegate: You know, first of all, oh, it’s so important to have good teachers, and especially there are specialists who just did amazing work with my daughter, and recognizing it early is a huge part of it. And you’re right. A lot of times, people think you’re just not a big reader, and it’s so much more complex than that. We had great luck with graphic novels. She adored graphic novels like Smile was life changing.
And the other thing is audiobooks are great, and those two things, I think, will often help kids, both reluctant readers and especially kids with dyslexia, to overcome the initial resistance. Those illustrations in a good graphic novel will take you over the hard moments. And certainly, hearing an audiobook or reading along with an audiobook is amazingly effective. So, it’s a slow process, and you have to be patient, but it happens. And I think it’s so great that there are specialists now who can really walk kids through that. I wish they had more funding so that more kids could have that kind of help.
Bianca Schulze: Yes, absolutely. Katherine, before we go, if listeners were to take just one thing away from our conversation today, what would you want that to be?
Katherine Applegate: Such a hard question. I think the most important thing I want kids to know, far beyond otters, gorillas, or anything else, is to read what you love. There is a book out there that’s going to change your life, and it might be a graphic novel, it might be nonfiction, it might be journalism, it might even be song lyrics. There are all kinds of ways to fall in love with the written word and hang in there if you’re like me and you’re not quite there yet because you’re going to find a story that changes your life and touches your heart. And once that happens, you’ll never look back.
Bianca Schulze: Hear-hear. Katherine, thank you so much for writing the books that stay on my family’s bookshelves. Like, we have our bookshelves, where the books cycle in and out, and then we have our bookshelf, which is our forever books, and you write the books that stay on our forever shelf. So, thank you so much for being that person for us, that author for us. And thank you for being on the show and sharing your time with us today.
Katherine Applegate: Oh, thank you. It’s been an absolute delight.
About the Book
Written by Katherine Applegate
Ages 8+ | 288 Pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | ISBN-13: 9781250147424
Publisher’s Book Summary: Now a #1 New York Times bestseller! A touching and lyrical tale about a remarkable sea otter, from Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree.
Meet Odder, the Queen of Play:
Nobody has her moves.
She doesn’t just swim to the bottom,
She doesn’t just somersault,
She doesn’t just ride the waves,
she makes them.
Odder spends her days off the coast of central California, practicing her underwater acrobatics and spinning the quirky stories for which she’s known. She’s a fearless daredevil, curious to a fault. But when Odder comes face-to-face with a hungry great white shark, her life takes a dramatic turn, one that will challenge everything she believes about herself―and about the humans who hope to save her.
Inspired by the true story of a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that pairs orphaned otter pups with surrogate mothers, this poignant and humorous tale told in free verse examines bravery and healing through the eyes of one of nature’s most beloved and charming animals.
Buy the Book
Learn more about her work at https://katherineapplegate.com/.
Go Green with Willodeen kit: https://read.macmillan.com/mcpg/willodeen-landing-page/.
Sehldrick Wildlife Trust: https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/
Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Cam: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams/sea-otter-cam
Elkhorn Slough Otter Cam: https://www.elkhornslough.org/ottercam/
- Learn about Odder
- A brief moment on The One and Only Ruby
- Channeling anger into stories for kids and finding hope
- The book cover and interior artwork of Charles Santoso
- Monterey Bay Aquarium and the role it plays in Odder
- Environmental and conservation efforts around sea otters
- Writing in free verse
- Katherine Applegate reads an excerpt of Odder
- Being a slow reader, reluctant reader, and thoughts on dyslexia
- The book that made Katherine Applegate a reader
Thank you for listening to the Growing Readers Podcast episode: Katherine Applegate Discusses Odder. For the latest episodes from The Growing Readers Podcast, Follow Now on Spotify. For similar books and articles, you can check out all of our content tagged with Books Written in Verse, Conservation Books, Environmental, Katherine Applegate, and Otters.