Two years ago this book was nothing more than a speck of an idea. As an environmental educator in the Pacific Northwest, snails and slugs were regular visitors in my outdoor classroom. The students and myself were enamored with their expressive antennae and curious reaching head that could move excruciatingly slowly yet disappear with lightening speed when scared. These new little friends began showing up in the margins of my notes begging to have their stories told.
Serena’s Story I met Serena on a ferry ride from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. She had stowed away under the hood of our car and just as the ferry pushed off from the dock she sneaked out and up onto the windshield. Worried about the future of our little gastropod friend, we discussed what such an adventurous snail might do in the big city. The story began to unfold. I won’t give too much away, as our next book will tell the big city adventure in more detail, but I promise it ends well.
My Story A brave little snail was the perfect character to help me share my new love of science with my elementary students. During school, I learned to be afraid of asking questions. Science had transformed from a joyful process of exploration to a pressure filled exercise of following procedures and replicating results with precise precision. Thankfully, through my graduate studies at IslandWood I was reintroduced to the adventurous world of science. At this magical school in the forest I fell in love again with the heart of science – its unquenchable curiosity, propensity for asking questions and looking for answers.
My hope is that this book will provide a narrative through which parents and teachers can encourage adventure and curiosity in the natural world. In The Curious Little Snail, Serena and her Papa encourage children to think beyond what is the “right” answer or the “correct” response and consider their own questions. As we exercise this open-minded strategy and ask questions before jumping to conclusions we can become better scientists, more thoughtful human beings and maybe discover a few secrets to the universe.
Bringing her passion for animal conservation and science, Ashley's stories strive to be powerful teaching tools for the parent or teacher. Her characters are often unexpected animals drawn from her experiences as a zoo keeper and environmental educator.
Learn more about her work in art and education here.