Kid Lit Village: Jellies in the Belly

I’m thrilled to have a new guest on the Kid Lit Village blog today. As you may know, I am Canadian, and I love to feature books by Canadian authors and illustrators. Add to that the fact that I teach nature preschool and am drawn to books with topics related to the natural world and clearly, Jellies in the Belly – an Atlantic Sea Turtle’s Journey is the perfect picture book to feature here. Author/Illustrator Carol McDougall is joining us today to share more about her book and give us a behind the scenes look at her creative process.

Jellies in the Belly: A sea turtle’s journey

Jellies in the belly. Swim far sea turtle, swim far . . .

Join the leatherback sea turtle’s beginnings in tropical sands and during its huge migration through northern seas and back again.  During its journey, the leatherback helps balance the ocean and protect fish by feeding on jellyfish. We are reminded of this endangered animal’s challenges and determination. The story ends with a step-by-step instructional guide for children to create their own ink and watercolour leatherback images to enhance learning, creativity, and fun.

Carol McDougall

Carol, thanks for being a guest on the Kid Lit Village blog. It’s a pleasure to host another Canadian book creator.

Why do you write books for children?

I enjoy writing and illustrating books for children to engage them in an interesting animal story in a new and original way.  I use art integration so that children can create their own art shown in the story through step-by-step directions at the end.  My latest book, Jellies in the Belly – an Atlantic sea turtle’s journey (releases summer 2022 and is available for pre-order) has directions for painting a leatherback sea turtle with ink and watercolour.

  • Tell us the inspiration for your book.

I moved from the west coast of Canada to the east coast about five years ago.  I spend a lot of time outside taking photographs of nature and visiting museums like The Rooms in St. John’s for inspiration.  One day there was a display by Whales Release & Stranding, a local non-profit that helps marine mammals in distress.  I was surprised to find a leatherback skeleton as I thought sea turtles lived in tropical waters.  Once I discovered an art technique to represent the leatherback, I started to do more research.  Discovering that leatherback eat jellyfish, which are a major threat to young fish, provided me with a strong connection to the fishing culture in Newfoundland.

  • What part of being a writer/illustrator do you love the most?

There are two parts of writing and illustrating which I love equally. Firstly, I am awed by young readers and their creativity and learning.  During the creation of my first book A Salmon’s Sky View, I used my manuscript to inspire my Masters degree by researching creativity and literacy gains in 5 classrooms, which were raising wild salmon for release.  Secondly, it is deeply satisfying to hear someone say they got goose bumps when they read my book or to show me art young readers did.  I was also deeply humbled to be awarded the Science in Society award for best youth book in 2009 from the Canadian Science Writers Association (now known as the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada).

  • What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

Through my books, I hope readers will gain a love of reading and creating art as well as a deeper understanding and love for nature. 

Carol, that’s so lovely. Your books will do exactly that. What a great give for a young reader, an art lover, or a nature lover!

Connect with Carol and look for her books with the links below:

https://www.instagram.com/salmonskyview1/?hl=en

https://boulderbooks.ca/product/jellies-in-the-belly/

https://www.strongnations.com/store/item_display.php?i=3415