Thursday, June 16, 2022

Q&A with Meeg Pincus



Meeg Pincus is the author of the new children's picture book Make Way for Animals!: A World of Wildlife Crossings. Her other books include Winged Wonders. A former journalist, she lives in Southern California.


Q: What inspired you to write Make Way for Animals!?


A: I love to find and write what I call “solutionary stories” about solving problems for people, animals, and the planet. So, when I discovered the world of wildlife crossings (originally through an article a friend sent me), it just lit me up! Talk about finding solutions; wildlife crossings are a perfect example.


So, I dove into researching them and actually ended up with two picture books on the topic—an overview of the many kinds around the globe in Make Way for Animals: A World of Wildlife Crossings (Lerner/Millbrook) and the story of a single crossing and the animal who inspired it in Cougar Crossing: How Hollywood’s Celebrity Cougar Helped Build a Bridge for City Wildlife (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books).


Q: How did you choose the locations and the animals to focus on?


A: There were so many fascinating wildlife crossings to choose from! What I tried to do in Make Way for Animals was feature a variety of examples, balancing different parts of the world, different kinds of animals, and different kinds of crossings.


I wanted to show that wildlife crossings exist virtually everywhere (from cities to rainforests, on every continent except Antarctica!) and they’ve been built for not only a wonderful array of mammals but also, amazingly, amphibians, fish, bees…who knew?! There were some crossings I found hard to cut, but we only have 32 pages in a picture book!


Q: What do you think Bao Luu's illustrations add to the book?


A: I was thrilled when Bao signed on to illustrate this book. I think his illustrations are so full of color, life, and whimsy, while also being realistic and accurate. It’s a fine balance and he does it so well. His illustrations just draw kids into the scenes; they’re so accessible and warm. He brought the words and wildlife crossings to life!

Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book, especially about human impacts on animal habitats?


A: I hope kids feel wonder and delight seeing the many kinds of crossings and animals in the book because I find wonder and delight to be a direct link the heart, which often inspires a desire to help and participate.


The book lets kids see that there are real-life opportunities to make a difference for wildlife, using a variety of skills. I hope they get curious to learn more about wildlife and all the ways they can help conserve it.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Along with Make Way for Animals, I also launched another nonfiction picture book this spring, So Much More to Helen: The Passions and Pursuits of Helen Keller (Sleeping Bear Press).


And I’m working on two more books for 2023 and 2024. For 2023, it’s Door by Door: How Sarah McBride Became America’s First Openly Transgender Senator (Knopf/Penguin Random House). And for 2024, it’s a new, yet-to-be-announced wildlife conservation story that I’m also excited about. All stories of inspiring solutionaries, which keep me going!


I also love to mentor nonfiction picture book authors, which I’m doing through individual manuscript feedback and workshops.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: My website offers an activity guide for Make Way for Animals, as well as activity guides for several of my other books and for teaching “Solutionary Stories” lessons in classrooms, libraries, homeschools, etc. And it features many nonfiction picture books (solutionary stories) by a diversity of authors and illustrators that I also recommend and love to share.


This summer I’ll be re-launching my email newsletter with these book recommendations, teaching tools, and any new book/event news, so please come by and sign up at!


Thank you so much for having me, Deborah!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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