Friend Friday

Ginger Wadsworth and I met at the amazing Humboldt County Authors Festival eons ago. She is a lovely person and wonderful writer and a fellow dog lover. So it’s no surprise that her latest title is Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field (Charlesbridge). You are going to need it for the dog lovers in your family or at your school. And if that isn’t enough, the hardworking Ginger had another book come out in August, set in one of her favorite locations, Yosemite National Park. Seasons of the Bear is illustrated by Daniel San Souci (Yosemite Conservancy).


Ginger Wadsworth

Black Bears, Scat-Detection Dogs, and Poop . . . Lots of it!

 I love to read and write books, but most of all, I like to do research, especially when it involves “working” in Yosemite National Park, standing in Rachel Carson’s cottage in Maine, hiking desert trails in search of wildlife, or examining rare, archival images.  Over the years my devoted dogs have snoozed under my desk during my writing hours.  I’d like to imagine them giving me a “four paws” review for my newest title.

Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field (October 2016), published by Charlesbridge, is illustrated with nearly 100 color photographs, and includes an Author’s Note, resource section, Acknowledgement page, a glossary, and a bibliography. For young readers, fourth grade and up, it is a Junior Library Guild selection.


Camus (a dog) searches for grizzly-bear scat. “Go find it!” Her handler calls out . . . .  Camus races along rough roads, riverbeds, and ridgelines.  Suddenly she stops. There it is: a fresh, heaping pile of dung.

The race is on to save endangered species around the world and finding solutions now is critical. Canine detectives are using their super sense of smell to locate scat from gooey whale excrement to tiny fisher poop. Scat tells scientists a lot about an animal without harming the animal or putting the researcher in danger. Poop Detectives is about these scat-detection dogs and their dedicated handlers. Together they are conservation heroes on the cutting edge of science, helping to save the world one poop at a time. Meet Camus, Wicket, Orbee, Pepin, Tucker, Gator, Max and other dog stars in Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field.


Seasons of the Bear, A Yosemite Story (August 2016) celebrates black bears and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Daniel San Souci, my friend and artist from Oakland, California, and I have teamed up twice (Yosemite’s Songster, One Coyote’s Story) to introduce readers ages 3 and up to some of the wild animals in Yosemite National Park. Both are picture books published by the Yosemite Conservancy, an educational organization supporting the park. From Seasons of the Bear:

Yosemite National Park wears winter white.

A hawk searches the high country for food

While Bear stirs below in her cozy den.

 Waaah! Waaah! WAAAH! Bear’s newborn cubs yowl.

 Picture a black bear and her cubs’ view of Yosemite’s high country through Dan San Souci’s gorgeous watercolor images, first in their winter den, and before long, you’ll travel outside with them as they eat, ramble, survive danger, and explore their world in four seasons.

The Author’s Note gives an overview of Yosemite National Park’s black bears and shares guidelines for visitors so they can enjoy them in the wild. Seasons of the Bear, A Yosemite Story is dedicated to the memory of children’s book author, Robert San Souci (Dan’s brother), who wrote about and loved Yosemite National Park.

Ginger credits her writing “genes” to her father and grandfather, who wrote primarily about the west. Over the years Ginger has published thirty books, but she has files of stories and ideas waiting to be revised and/or discovered. Her books are nonfiction, and they feature famous Americans, wildlife, natural science, and western American history.  They include: Julia Morgan: Architect of Dreams, Rachel Carson: Voice for the Earth, First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low, Desert Discoveries, Words West, Voices of Young Pioneers, Up, Up, and Away, and Camping with the President. Her newest titles are Seasons of the Bear, A Yosemite Story and Poop Detectives: Working Dogs in the Field. Ginger lives in Northern California with her family.