Life, the Universe and Everything


World Environment Day and the Problem of Polar Pollution

When I started research for Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth, I knew that Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change. I didn’t know that they are also particularly vulnerable to pollution. It’s World ... Read More  

Becoming Bionic, by Heather Camlot, illustrated by Victor Wong

Heather Camlot: Truth, Justice, and the Nonfiction Way

How does an author known for books about history, social justice and sports write a book about science and superheroes?  By calling up her past. I never studied science, and I’m certainly not a superhero (I don’t think), but as ... Read More  

A Flower is a Friend, by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Karen Patkau

Karen Patkau: A Flower is a Friend

This book was a collaboration from the beginning. Ideas for words and images exchanged between friends. On a warm summer day, as Frieda and I relaxed in her beautiful garden, we noticed birds and insects whizzing and settling among the ... Read More  

The Marathon Migrations of Arctic Terns

Today is World Migratory Bird Day, making it the perfect day to talk about terns - the champion migrators of the biological world. Adult terns weigh about 100 g, and every year, they make round-trip journeys of up to ... Read More  

Polar Presents: Official Activity Guide and Other Free Resources Around the Web

First things first! I'm doing a free Polar presentation with Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants today at 12:30 Eastern. Head over to their YouTube channel to watch. You can also catch the recording on demand. And remember ... Read More  

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Cooperative Hunting in Killer Whales

Polar is about animal adaptations - the behaviours, body parts, and body functions that help animals survive in extreme habitats. Each spread pairs two animal species - one in the Arctic and one in Antarctica - that are using ... Read More  

Party Like a Puffin with Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth

Two more sleeps until Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth lands in bookstores! I am so proud of this book and I can’t wait to share it with all of you. Which brings me to today’s topic: ... Read More  

Cache You Later: Leopard Seals and Their Leftovers

Despite what Coca Cola commercials would have you believe, polar bears and penguins have never met. Polar bears are apex predators of the Arctic, while penguins are only found in Antarctica.* That doesn't mean penguins are safe from predation... ...because ... Read More  

Waving Walruses: Cool Facts that Didn't Make the Cut (from Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth)

Waving Walruses: Cool Facts that Didn’t Make the Cut

Four more sleeps until Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth lands in a bookstore near you! During preliminary research for the book, when I was trying to figure out which adaptations I would cover and which animal ... Read More  

Ermines: Serial Killers or Survival Experts?

Predator-prey relationships are a natural part of nature - unfortunate for the prey, but necessary at the scale of ecosystems. As a scientist who studied carnivores, I sometimes forget that I was also a kid who sobbed whenever a ... Read More  

Book Cover - Polar Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth by L.E. Carmichael

Ice Worms and Appropriation of Inuit Culture

Six more sleeps until Polar! Today's post was going to be about the science of ice worms, a species I wanted to include in the book but ended up cutting because their range (at least in Alaska) is farther south ... Read More  

Stride or Slide? How Penguins Get From Place to Place

Polar is a book about the adaptations that help penguins (and other animals!) survive in Antarctic habitats. That meant I had to focus on showing the adaptation at work in the wild... which meant that I couldn't talk about ... Read More  

Eleven Reasons Arctic Foxes Are the Coolest

Eleven Reasons Arctic Foxes Are the Coolest

I learned about a LOT of amazing animals while researching Polar: Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth, but arctic foxes will always have a special place in my heart. One reason is that I spent 6 years studying ... Read More  

Book Cover - Polar Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth by L.E. Carmichael

The Work It Takes to Write a Book

Nine more sleeps until it’s pub day for Polar!  Kermit GIF from Kermit GIFs Today is World Book and Copyright Day, so I’ve been reflecting on how much time and work goes into writing just one children’s book. Time ... Read More  

The Earth’s Albedo: What It Is and Why It Matters

Despite the giant window in my office, the room was unbearably dark. Aging eyes feeling the strain, I replaced the light fixture with a brighter one. That helped, sort of. But on cloudy days, it was still a dim ... Read More  

Welcome Rain! by Sheryl McFarlane, illustrated by Christine Wei

Sheryl McFarlane: Celebrating Welcome Rain!

Hi, I’m Sheryl McFarlane and I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest picture book, Welcome Rain! It’s published by Greystone Books, and illustrated by the very talented Christine Wei. Welcome Rain! is a a celebration of rain in ... Read More  

Here Comes the Sun: Spring Equinox and Circadian Rhythm

Here Comes the Sun: Spring Equinox and Circadian Rhythm

Last weekend, many of us suffered through the tortuous ritual known as "springing ahead" - moving the clocks forward one hour to begin Daylight Savings Time. We hates it, precious. I live in the Northern Hemisphere, and I am very, very ... Read More  

Book Cover - Polar Wildlife at the Ends of the Earth by L.E. Carmichael

Award-winning Author Pens New Science Book for Kids on Polar Wildlife

Despite changing climate and savage conditions, animals in the polar regions can still thrive. Author L. E. Carmichael’s 23rd children’s science book takes a fascinating look at how they manage it—and how young environmentalists can help. Read More