Loreen Leedy and Andrew Schuerger

Loreen Leedy and Andrew Schuerger Photo

The husband-and-wife duo discuss delving into the fascinating plant world in AMAZING PLANT POWERS!

Q: Loreen and Andrew, please tell us about your new book, AMAZING PLANT POWERS: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, & Change the World.

A: Plants can face many problems, such as lack of water, stormy weather and hungry animals. Yet plants can’t run away, so what can they do? AMAZING PLANT POWERS gives examples of how plants find water with deep roots, bend in strong winds, play dead, defend themselves with thorns and spines and much more.

Q Where did you get your inspiration for writing about plants?

A: The diversity of the plant kingdom is truly amazing. From ocean waters to rocky mountaintops, plants are found almost everywhere on Earth. They cling to bare rocks, piggyback on other plants and may be microscopic or among the largest living things on Earth. This book was inspired by the many hikes we have taken in national parks, monuments and nature preserves in the USA and elsewhere.

Q: Tell us about your research process for this book. How was it different from other projects you’ve collaborated on? What were you most surprised to learn?

A: We focused on the various problems plants face every day, such as getting enough light, spreading their seeds or surviving wildfires. Then we found examples of how plants have adapted to the wide diversity of habitats on the planet. For this project we were able to take most of the photographs ourselves as opposed to our book Messages from Mars, which featured photographs from NASA and other space agencies. We were surprised that so many common plants are toxic to people and/or animals.

Q: Which were your favorite plants to feature in the book and why?

A: We love the majesty of the redwoods so were delighted to include them. We also are impressed by tough plants such as the ferns that colonize solidified lava and the fascinating Venus flytrap.

Q: What do you hope readers will gain from this book?

A: We hope that readers will notice more about the plants they encounter and appreciate the essential role they play in our daily lives.

Q: What made you decide to become authors and illustrators?

A: Loreen became a picture-book author-illustrator to combine two of her favorite things, pictures and words. Andrew enjoys communicating the beauty of science to students, and a book about his favorite topic of botany was a natural way to help young students understand the wonderful world of plants.

Q: What advice would you give to young authors/illustrators?

A: Find something you’re interested in, learn more about it and share what you’ve learned with readers so they can discover it too.

About the Creators

Loreen Leedy’s nonfiction books are staples in classrooms across the country and have been widely recognized with numerous awards. Loreen lives in Florida with her husband Andrew Schuerger. Visit her online at www.loreenleedy.com.

Dr. Andrew Schuerger has a PhD in microbiology and plant pathology and has conducted research for NASA. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Florida.

Books by Andrew Schuerger

AMAZING PLANT POWERS: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, & Change the World, REINFORCED