Friday, April 5, 2019

It’s a Book! Seashells: More than a Home

I’m excited to announce that my new book, Seashells: More than a Home, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen, has just entered the world.

It’s a Junior Library Guild selection and has received a starred review in Booklist.

The idea for this book popped into my mind when I saw Sarah gorgeous sketches for our book Feathers: Not Just for Flying. On the final page, a boy is running along the beach as gulls soar overhead.

I imagined that boy shifting his attention from the birds above him to the seashells scattered along the sandy shore, and then heading off on a new voyage of discovery. I connected with that boy because, in many ways, he was me.

I’ve been fascinated by shells since childhood, when I spent summer vacations beachcombing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As an adult, I’ve explored beaches all over the world, from Costa Rica and the Galápagos Islands to Hawaii, Great Britain, and Kenya.
I began my research for this book by looking through all my travel journals. Then I read every shell book and article I could find. I scoured the internet and spoke to a half-dozen scientists. After two years of work, I came to a sad conclusion. I couldn’t find enough information to write the book. I’d have to give up.

But then, a year later, I went to a seashell exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and found a newly published seashell book in the bookstore.
I couldn’t believe it! Not only did the book have examples I could use, it helped me develop a whole new way of searching for information.

After just a few more weeks of research, I was finally ready to write.

The book can be used in science lessons about ocean habitats or animal adaptations. It can also be used as a mentor text for informational writing. For activity ideas, please take a look at the Teachers Guide and the video mini-lesson I created about crafting voice in nonfiction writing.


  1. Congrats on your new book, Melissa! As a beachcomber myself, I can't wait to read it!

  2. That was a truly serendipitous discovery. Or perhaps a discovery based on hard work and your ongoing research process that opens new doors. Congrats on the new book!

  3. Looking forward to reading it, Melissa! I've also really wanted to travel to Sanibel Island in FL since they're supposed to have wonderful shells. Congrats!