Jennifer Keats Curtis is a Broadneck Peninsula based children’s author, whose 21st children’s book, the realistic fiction Baby Bear’s Adoption, was recently released.
The fictional story is based on orphaned black bear cub rescue efforts by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The story is narrated in first-person by Braden, a young boy hiking into the forest with his sister Finley, and their wildlife scientist father.
In addition to the narrative, the book also contains an education section “For Creative Minds, to further educate readers about the Black Bear Life Cycle, Stages of Bear Hibernation, Furry Fun Facts, and a question and answer with Bear Biologist Mark Boersen.
Curtis has penned numerous stories about animals, including Children’s Choice Book Award Winner Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue.
The graduate of Severna Park High School and The University of Maryland makes regular presentations to students and teachers about literacy and conservation. She has no formal science background, although as a child, she “regularly brought home creatures large and small and attempted to nurse them back to health, although not always to great success.”
Her first job after graduating college was working and writing for North Arundel Hospital, where she became fascinated with medicine and science. She then “fell into” writing children’s books about nature.
Her first book, Oshus and Shelly Save The Bay, was in the works six years before she received grant money to publish it in 1999. Since then, she has worked with traditional publishers and many of her books focus on animals found in the backyards of mid-Atlantic residents.
Her second book, Turtles in My Sandbox is “based on the diamondback terrapin program that allows Anne Arundel County students to raise these turtles in classrooms.” Some of her other titles include, Osprey Adventure, DaVinci Eye Award Winner Baby Owl’s Rescue, and the Animal Helpers children’s book series about the ways in which experts help conserve individual animals, recover and return to the wild, or find a safe setting when necessary.
“Over the years, I’ve learned that in order to truly help animals, I not only need more information, but the best way to use it,” she said. “Now I’m using this supportive spirit to teach children how they can help wild animals, one at a time.”
As such, she has been a presenter and author-in-residence in Maryland schools since 2006.
She visits many schools.
“As the writing process and an understanding of research become integral to our young students’ curriculum, I find I have more and more to talk about with students each year,” she said.
She offers standard and customized programs to schools depending on their specific needs. Author visits often include interviews with animal experts like wildlife rehabilitators Kathy Woods and Victoria Campbell and with illustrator Laura Jacques.
Her next Anne Arundel County Public Schools event will be the Annual Residency Nov. 28 with rehabilitator Kathy Woods, inspiration for Baby Owl’s Rescue. For more information on Curtis, her books, and school programs, visit www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com.
Curtis’ objective is “helping” the animals and the readers who learn about them, and her message to her readers is “if you can learn about it, you can write about it. You can have a passion.”
Maureen Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.