By Katie Seawright, Krista Kramer, Nicole Schuman, Brittany Corrothers, and Corey Woznichak
As a child, Sophie Webb loved drawing animals, saying she was crazy about all of them, as most girls her age were. When she was young, Webb didn’t think she would become a writer. According to Californiareaders.org, she “wanted to be like Jane Goodall or Jaques Cousteau” (O’Brian). This is what led her to the careers she has today and the busy life she leads. Before her life as an author, Webb went to school at Boston University and later made the decision to get married, not knowing that her life would soon become very hectic. In school she spent her first year studying the fine arts and then changed her major to biology when she was inspired working part-time at the New England Aquarium (O’Brian). After she received her degree she began working as a field biologist on different projects, which took her to places such as the Antarctic, the Galapagos, and the Arctic, to name a few. She would draw the animals she studied which gave her the start into field guides that launched her writing career (Webb). Currently Webb is not only an author and an illustrator, but also an ornithologist, someone who studies birds. Her time studying animals in the field has led her to relive her voyages and published them for children to learn about in an intriguing way.
Webb began her career as an author and an illustrator in 1995. She started as a co-author on her first field guide, A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, with Steve Howell, and went on to do another by herself called a Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast (Gismondi). Both guides were inspired by what she saw and studied on each of her voyages. It was later that she decided to write children’s books. On her first trip she kept an illustrated journal, which she showed her friends, who then convinced her to turn it into a book for children (Paul). This was her motivation for writing Far From Shore. She thought that it would get kids interested in science and wanted to use it to show children that if they have a passion for something they should pursue it. The success and enjoyment she got out of writing her first book led her to write others based on the multiple projects she was involved with. Currently she has three successful books; My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal, Looking for Seabirds: Journal from an Alaskan Voyage, and Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage. Webb’s first book was named a Robert F. Sibert honor book, won the 2001 IRA children’s book award for older readers, and received a parents’ choice award. Her second book was an Outstanding Science Trade Book, Selector’s Choice, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award. The last book was nominated for a Northern California Book Award in the Children’s Literature Section (Paul). However separate, all of her books are personal in their own way because they are written about her experiences on these journeys and about her life directly.
Gismondi, Elizabeth. “Sophie Webb: Artist, Author, and Ornithologist.” bethgismondiblog. 02 June 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
O’Brian, Bonnie. “Meet Sophie Webb.” California Readers. Web. 08 May 2013.
Paul, Pamela. “Science and Art at Sea.” The New York Times. 01 June 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Webb, Sophie. www.sophiewebb.com WordPress, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.