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Our October Author of the Month is Jannifer Powelson, who has found a unique way to combine marketing with education. A children’s author and conservationist, Jannifer strikes a balance between promoting her books and using them to teach kids about nature through hands-on programs. She has been writing children’s books since 2003. The first in her current series, Rachel and Sammy Visit the Prairie, was followed by Rachel and Sammy Visit the Forest. She is now writing Rachel and Sammy Learn About Trees.

These educational stories use entertaining animal characters, realistic illustrations and colorful photographs, taken by the author. In addition to her work as a resource conservationist for the Stark County Soil and Water Conservation District in Illinois, Powelson provides programs for events at state parks, nature centers, libraries, civic groups, churches, and schools. Her programs for children use her Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk book characters; often, she takes the groups on nature hikes to point out the plants featured in the books. This way kids can see, touch, and smell each plant’s features.

Jannifer says, “I have had success with combining book readings…with hands-on educational programs. I read the book that is appropriate for the time of year and bring in samples of plants that are featured in the books. These specimens are a great way to get people excited about the books and learning about nature. I have even taken groups of children and adults outdoors for prairie walks or spring woodland wildflower hikes, using the books as field guides.”

The author also lectures about her books. “Since the books are educational in nature, it works well to use them as learning tools and make the programs educational events and not just book events. Parents and teachers can see the value of purchasing the books when they can be used for educational purposes. The books combine many of my passions, including writing, photography, educa-tion, and nature, so I really enjoy showcasing the books’ educational aspects when doing programs.” Jannifer signs books that were pre-ordered or purchased that day.

SBPRA congratulates our October Author of the Month on a job well done. For more information on Jannifer, visit her website


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