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Hooked on Books with Author Jess Keating

Posted in English Tutoring, Parent Education Resources, Featured, Tips & Advice

This week/month, our Hooked on Books author is Jess Keating! She is a zoologist-turned-author.

What is Hooked On Books?

Our team at Teachers on Call loves to read and encourage students and their families to do the same. With Hooked on Books, we introduce our community to the latest children’s book with a behind the scenes author interview to learn more. There is also a chance to win the debut book in a social media giveaway, with a grand reveal of the winner(s) by the featured author themself. A large focus is introducing readers to Canadian authors and illustrators from coast to coast with a mix of emerging and well-known literary talent including Chris Ferrie, Jess Keating and Barbara Reid – just to name a few.

About Our Author: Jess Keating

Jess Keating is a zoologist-turned-author who writes with the sort of wisdom you can only get from multiple crocodile bites and skunk sprays. She has several books about amazingly strange and alien creatures found right here on our own planet.  

Read Interview


Enter to Win Jess Keating's Ocean Speaks Book!

We're giving away a copy of Ocean Speaks thanks to Tundra Books.  Ocean Speaks tells the story of Marie Tharp, a woman who persevered to explore an ocean in a time when women were not welcome in the sciences, or on research ships. 

Participate in our giveaway by following us on Facebook by telling us your favourite sea creature in the comments section of this post!

Rules: Contest open to contestants Canada-wide. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.

An Interview with Jess Keating

We’re super thrilled to have had Jess Keating with us for an interview! Check out her answers to our questions. 

You have a special love for the sea and all its creatures! Was there an event that inspired you to this passion? 

Great question! To me, the ocean represents some of the biggest and most beautiful mysteries this planet has to offer and has always felt like home. I don’t recall a single event that inspired my passion, but I have always felt such an affinity to ocean waves and the creatures that live beneath them. So many of these species seem so alien: creatures with flashing lights or translucent bodies exist and we know so little about them! From orcas to eels, I’m fascinated with all of it. 

If there’s one person from history that you could meet, who would it be and why? 

I don’t need to think long on this one: Beatrix Potter is my pick! She’s always been the epitome of polymath creator to me — not only was she a brilliant author and illustrator, but she was also a talented mycologist and conservationist. I think she would have incredible advice on staying true to yourself, while sharing what you love with others. (Plus, we both have bunny books, and that feels like an extremely special connection to me!) 

Are snot otters really gross? 

Snot otters sound gross, but they’re just doing what they can to survive! You’ve got to admit, their name alone is pretty spectacular. 

What is amazing about becoming a Zoologist, and what would you like to tell kids who are interested in this profession? 

It’s funny, people assume that there is a huge chasm between being a zoologist and being an author. But really, both are about asking and answering questions about the things that matter to us. Animals have stories too, and being a zoologist allows me to learn them and share them with others. The best part about being a zoologist is that you will never be bored — there is always some mind-blowing fact to learn and share!

If any readers are interested in being a zoologist, I’d recommend they read, explore, and learn about absolutely everything that interests them. Keeping a nature journal is a wonderful way to document your passions, and it’s so fun to draw and write about what you love. Don’t worry about making it fancy or pretty, just make it yours! 

Tell us about your book! 

Ocean Speaks is the true story of Marie Tharp, an oceanographic cartographer who mapped the ocean floor. Most scientists would do this by traveling on a ship, but Marie was told she wasn’t welcome on board because she was a woman. She could have given up on her dream of exploring the ocean because of this sexism, but instead she set her mind to the task and created a detailed map with their findings. And guess what: from her tiny laboratory office, Marie mapped the ocean’s most incredible secret. I won’t spoil it for readers, but let’s just say it doesn’t get any bigger than this!

I hope Ocean Speaks inspires all readers to do what they love in life, no matter what others say is possible. It’s been a joy to share Marie’s story with everyone, and I’m thrilled to see so many people getting inspired by her! Thank you so much for having me!

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