NCTE 2018

I’m thrilled to be attending the 2018 Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in Houston Texas next month. In addition to the presentations described in the infographics above, I’m honored to be attending the Children’s Book Award Luncheon on Saturday, November 17; my latest book, Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island, was an Orbis Pictus recommended title this year. I’ll be signing books at the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt booth after the luncheon, beginning at 3pm.

I’d love to see you at any or all of these events!


Life on Surtsey Love


It’s been an exciting few weeks for me and my new book. LIFE ON SURTSEY was reviewed favorably by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist (three stars! read the full reviews here!) and if that wasn’t thrilling enough, also named an Orbis Pictus Recommended Book, an SLJ Best Book (Nonfiction), and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book (Middle Grade Nonfiction). To say I’m overwhelmed would be an understatement.

And guess what? TOMORROW IS LAUNCH DAY! If you live in central Massachusetts, join the celebration at one of my favorite libraries on the planet. Details can be found here.

Thank you for reading!

Publication Day!


Today is the fifty-fourth anniversary of the eruption of the undersea volcano that birthed the island of Surtsey. It’s also the day my book about this special place, and the scientists who have been studying it all this time, is officially available to the public. I’m pretty excited to share this book with all of you, and so have compiled a few links to help you learn about it and, if you’re inspired to read it, get yourself a copy.

You can read about my journey to the island on the Nerdy Book Club blog; just click here.

You can read more about back story in this School Library Journal interview with Daryl Grabarek; just click here.

You can read a starred review of the book, from Kirkus Reviews, by clicking here.

And if you read Icelandic, you can read a nice announcement of the book’s release from my friends at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History; just click here.

You can buy yourself a copy through your favorite independent bookseller by clicking here.

You can also buy a signed copy through my website; click here for my bookstore.

If you live in central Massachusetts and are free on Thursday, November 30 at 6pm, you can join me in person for the official book launch party. Copies of LIFE ON SURTSEY and all my other titles will be available for sale and siging, with all proceeds going to my favorite hometown gathering place, the Beaman Memorial Library. Click here for more information.

Finally, if you are a teacher and you’ll be at the National Council of Teachers of English conference later this week, you can get yourself a signed copy at the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt booth on Friday; click here for more information.

That’s a lot of links. But publication days only come once every few years for me, so I’M EXCITED! Happy reading, friends.




Life on Surtsey Book Launch!

Please join me to celebrate the publication of my sixth book for children, Life on Surtsey, Iceland’s Upstart Island: 

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 6-8pm
Beaman Memorial Library
8 Newton Street
West Boylston, MA

Festivities will include a brief presentation, local refreshments, and all my books will be available for purchase. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Beaman Memorial Library. Please feel free to spread the word!

Coming Soon: Life on Surtsey

I’m thrilled to announce that my newest Scientists in the Field book will be released on November 14, 2017. Here’s a summary from the book’s flap copy:

On November 14, 1963, something exceptional happened in Iceland–and that’s saying a lot. In a country where the average summer temperatures is 50ºF and the sun only appears for a few hours a day during the winter, an event has to be pretty unusual to stand out. The explosive birth of the island of Surtsey, the newest earth on Earth, was just that.

In her newest Scientists in the Field book, Loree Griffin Burns joins entomologist Erling Ólafsson on one of his yearly expeditions to Surtsey, where since 1970 he has studied the arrival and survival of insects. Along with a small group of colleagues, Erling observes the island’s flora and fauna, records changes, and collects samples to bring back to the mainland for further study. Visit by visit, record by record, Surtsey’s scientists are uncovering the process of change that can transform a lump of lava into a thriving island ecosystem. Join the expedition to see just how demanding conditions on Surtsey can be, what it’s like to live and work while making the smallest impact possible, and the passion that sustains scientists working in one of the strangest—and youngest—places on the planet.

In the coming months, I’ll be adding reviews and additional resources related to Life on Surtsey to my website. I’m excited to share this book–and its backstory–with you. Stay tuned!