Kristin Joy Pratt was a complete unknown when she sent her first manuscript to Dawn Publications. But what she said caught the publisher’s eye. “Environmental awareness, at a very early age, is the key to preserving our world,” she wrote. “When young children gain a knowledge and respect for nature they in turn love and protect it. If this book takes one small step towards that end it will have served its purpose.” Perhaps Kristin had no idea the size of the step she was taking, but her attitude was right for a great leap.
In 1991 at age 14, Kristin wrote and illustrated her first best-selling book, A Walk in the Rainforest. It began as an English homework assignment. More than 135,000 copies have been sold.
At age 16, inspired by a marine biology class and her concern about contamination of the world’s oceans, Kristin wrote and illustrated A Swim through the Sea. It was selected as an outstanding book by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC), and almost 165,000 copies of this book have been sold. She was lauded as a young “Eco Star” by the Cousteau Society, and inducted into the Kid Heroes Hall of Fame by E: The Environmental Magazine.
In 1995, at age 18, Kristin turned the spotlight on the fragile invisible ocean of air around us, and wrote and illustrated A Fly in the Sky. In 2001 Kristin brought attention to the wildlife in our local ponds and wetlands in her beautiful Salamander Rain: A Lake & Pond Journal. In 2002, in Saguaro Moon: A Desert Journal, Kristin reveals the wonders the desert habitat to our next generation of naturalists.
And in 2007, now a successful author and artist in her own right, she teamed up with Rachel Crandell, a former teacher at her school to tell the story of The Children ‘s Eternal Forest in Costa Rica. They co-authored The Forever Forest: Kids Save a Tropical Treasure, with Kristin illustrating in her signature playful yet true-to-nature style. Kristin is something of a children’s heroine as a popular speaker at schools, museums and aquariums all over the U.S., and an inspiration for what even a young person can do given talent and the right attitude. She demonstrates not only an infectious love of nature that promotes environmental awareness among children, but also a “can do” positive attitude toward life.
She had learned how quickly a key global resource, the rainforests, were disappearing. Instead of being awed into apathy, Kristin acted. “I looked at what I had, not what I didn’t have,” she said. “What I have are my abilities to write and to draw, so I decided to use these talents to help.” She worked long hours after school and on weekends, sometimes 20 hours on an illustration to get it right. Her success is a model for any young person.
In the introduction to A Fly in the Sky, she writes, “What can be done to clean up our air? Is this global dilemma out of the reach of young people? Must we remain victims until we come of age? I do not believe so. Mankind’s greatest weapon against mindless degradation is planted deeply within every one of us. It is the power of thought. We all possess the potential to think purely, perceptively, and powerfully. Within even the smallest thought lies the beginning of action.
“We cannot continue to suppose thought, action and atmosphere to be unrelated, when in reality they are closely linked. Because we are all part of the problem, we are necessarily all part of the solution. It is up to all of us to translate clear thinking into clear, decisive action, which must result in clear air?” she concludes. For information on school visits, please click here.