|At first I wrote Marie's name down as Maria.|
The wonderful and amazing Christy Ottaviano at Macmillan/Ottaviano Books has acquired my book, Marie Tharp; The Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor, which will be a mixed-format picture book biography of STEM pioneer Marie Tharp, whose work and discovery of the rift valley proved the theory of continental drift which eventually led to the study of plate tectonics. The publication date is Spring 2020.
I am honored to have the opportunity to tell this story. I read about Marie quite by accident and was fascinated by her life. I quickly jotted her name upon one of my mini-idea notebooks. I was perplexed that I had never ever heard the name Marie Tharp. The more I uncovered about who she was, the more angry I became that I was unaware of this ground-breaking scientist. When I mentioned my book idea to Christy, we both knew that we wanted children to grow up knowing that Marie Tharp was one of the greatest cartographer's of the 20th century.
I'll be writing this particular title under the name Josie James which is a mix of my parents' names, Josephine and James, who are two of the people I love most in this world. My Mom and Dad have always supported me as a writer and illustrator even when my prospects looked pretty bleak. Crazy! Right? My parents have taught me not to be scared and to live life to the fullest. One of my favorite quotes is from my mom. She says, "Sleep? Who needs sleep! You'll sleep when you're dead!" Great advice for anyone who has to make tight deadlines! Or raise kids! Or put together picture book proposals! Mom and Dad have shown me that it is possible to love others more than you love yourself and by doing so, love comes back to you in unexpected ways. My parents and the story of Marie Tharp have shown me that most great people are quietly living amazing lives under the radar. I hope the name Josie James carries that message with a splash of rebellion.
|James and Josie on a much deserved family vacation in the Dominican Republic.|
This book is a labor of love for sure and Josephine and James are over the moon that my story has found a home at Ottaviano Books! I guess it would be more honest to say that they are relieved. Thank you Christy! I hope that Marie Tharp; The Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor will broaden the scope of awareness for boys and girls about women's many important and often ignored contributions to science and history.