Book Trailer Premiere: The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang and Jana Christy

Hello, Heather Lang! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for stopping by to share the wonderful book trailer for The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest. What are three things you would like to share about Margaret Lowman before everyone watches the book trailer?

Heather Lang: Thanks so much for having me, Mr. Schu! First, Meg pioneered treetop science, using ropes and harnesses, canopy walkways, and hot air balloons with inflatables, and in the process she made countless discoveries. She’s an incredible educator who has taught and mentored millions of people from middle school students to women and minorities as far away as Ethiopia and India. Meg works tirelessly to come up with creative ways to save trees locally and globally. And she’s an extremely kind and generous person. (I know that was four, but that last one is just as important!)

What inspired you to write a biography about Margaret Lowman?

Heather Lang: I’m so concerned about our natural world, especially our rainforests. I knew I wanted to write a biography that was also a science book about the rainforest. When I read about Meg’s pioneering work and deep passion for trees, I knew I’d found the perfect person. I was fascinated by her journey from a shy child, who loved nature and didn’t know women could be scientists, to a world-class scientist and conservationist.

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Jana Christy’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! They beautifully capture the richness of the rainforest. She did an amazing job illustrating the rainforest’s biodiversity, accurately sharing many different kinds of trees and animals. And I especially love how she shows Meg climbing and exploring from so many perspectives. I couldn’t be more thrilled with Jana’s art.

Most rainforests are in deep, deep trouble and therefore so is our planet. Our rainforests are the oldest living ecosystems, and the canopy alone is home to half the plant and animal species on land. These forests provide us with water, food, oxygen, shelter, medicine. They are soldiers against climate change, storing carbon dioxide and cleaning our air. They’re essential for life on earth. People are logging and burning down rainforests for farming and agriculture at an alarming rate. More than half our forests have already been destroyed, and scientists believe rainforests like the Amazon are near a tipping point. There is no time to waste! 

Picture book biographies not only help us understand how people in the past have made things better for us today, but they are also tools for personal transformation. They provide us with real-life role models and show us that activism can come in many shapes and forms. They can help us overcome fears or discover new passions. And they inspire us to dream big, embrace failure, and persevere.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I met Meg Lowman. Not only did I meet Meg for an interview, I went to the Amazon rainforest with her on a citizen scientist trip. It was a magical and life-changing adventure that I will never forget. You can read more about it in my Author’s Note!

Heather Lang loves to write about extraordinary women who never gave up on their dreams. Her award-winning picture book biographies include Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark, Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine, and Queen of the Track: Alice Coachman, Olympic High-Jump. Heather’s research has taken her to the skies, the treetops of the Amazon, and the depths of the ocean. When not writing at her home in Lexington, Massachusetts, she enjoys going on adventures with her husband and four children.

Jana Christy currently lives in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. She is the illustrator of various titles, including I'm the Big One Now!: Poems about Growing Up.

Look for The Leaf Detective on February 9, 2021. 


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