SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Evan Griffith releases debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Evan Griffith on the publication of his Cover of 'Secrets of the Sea,' with a woman in a purple suit and tie illustrating sea creatures on a drafting desk at the beach, surrounded by floating fish, a turtle, and various shellsdebut picture book, Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist! The picture-book biography, illustrated by Joanie Stone, tells the story of Jeanne Power, a nineteenth-century scientist who pioneered the use of aquariums to study marine life and published her groundbreaking research at a time when scientific achievements by women were rarely acknowledged. The book will be released by Clarion Books on March 9th.

“This book oriClose-up author photo of Evan Griffithginated when I was a student at the Writing for Children MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts,” Evan says. “I first wrote Jeanne’s story as a biographical essay to submit to a children’s magazine, but my VCFA advisor at the time encouraged me to adapt it into a picture book. I’m glad she did! I was drawn to write about Jeanne because, as someone who grew up by the ocean, I related to her fascination with the sea and her desire to learn more about the creatures that live within it. As a writer, I was also intrigued by the many dramatic twists and turns of Jeanne’s life story, including the fact that she lost much of her research about the ocean during a shipwreck. There was a cinematic quality about her life that made it exciting to capture in story.”
 
In reflecting on the process of writing a nonfiction picture book, Evan recalls, “The research process for the book was intensive but so rewarding. I had the opportunity to correspond with scientists and historians around the world who are experts in Jeanne’s life and work. Along the way, I fell in love with researching and writing nonfiction, and hope to do more of it.”

Secrets of the Sea has been widely praised and has garnered a starred review from School Library Journal.