Award-winning wildlife photographer and author David FitzSimmons combines these two worlds through the Curious Critters children’s book series. He will host a puppet show based on his newest book, Curious Critters Marine at 10:30 a.m., June 13, at Books & Books in Coral Gables.
When he was in middle school, the Ohio native’s mother was an elementary-school teacher who took him to children’s book conferences. At these conferences, where he was among some of the biggest names in children’s literature, an interest in writing children’s books was born.
But his house wasn’t just about books. His father was an earth-science teacher, who eventually ran a wildlife education program and his passion for wildlife made the FitzSimmons’ home one welcome to all types of animals.
These were “the two threads that came together,” FitzSimmons said.
This niche FitzSimmons found at a young age because of his parent’s backgrounds inspired him to start the Curious Critters book series in 2011.
Since then, Curious Critters has sold more than 100,000 copies and won the Independent Book Publishers Association Best First Book award in 2012 for the children and young adult category.
After the first book’s success, FitzSimmons decided to write a second book, Curious Critters Volume Two, and a third book, Curious Critters Marine.
Curious Critters Marine brought FitzSimmons to the Sunshine State, where he photographed indigenous marine creatures. Now, the book has brought him back to Florida where he will embark on a two-week book tour.
At the puppet show, FitzSimmons will bring his book to life by allowing children to interact with the puppets and learn about animals. Whether it’s by telling the kids to pinch their fingers like lobster claws or to hop like toads, the objective is clear: to get kids excited about nature.
“I want to help them develop their biophilia, an innate propensity to love nature, by getting them to have fun thinking and acting like zoo life,” FitzSimmons said.
After the performance, FitzSimmons will sign copies of his books, which will be on sale at Books & Books during the event.
IF YOU GO
▪ What: “Curious Critters” puppet show
▪ Where: Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
▪ When: 10:30 a.m., June 13
▪ Cost: Free and open to the public
▪ For information: Call 305-442-4408