Sneed B. Collard III is the author of more than 30 children's books about science, nature, and the environment. With a background in biology, Collard introduces aspects of the natural world to children in a way that is accessible. His book topics range from beaks to wings to cloud forests to animal dads. Through his books and school visits, Collard encourages young people to see science as an integrated part of their lives — and not as some complicated school subject removed from day-to-day life. "If I've achieved anything in my career," he says, "it's the hope that I've written books that are being picked up by people who have never picked up a science book before."
You can watch the interview below, view the interview transcript, read a short biography on Sneed Collard, or see a selected list of his children's books. (This video is also available on YouTube and iTunes.)
Sneed B. Collard III grew up in Santa Barbara, California. With two parents working at the university as biologists, Sneed developed an early curiosity and love for science and the natural world. When his parents divorced, Sneed's father moved to Florida and his mother married another scientist. During high school Sneed's mother and stepfather took him on a research trip to Asia, an experience that would inspire him to travel extensively as an adult.
After high school graduation Sneed took a job as a cook at Mount Rushmore. Once he saved enough money, he flew to Israel, worked on a kibbutz, and then hitchhiked across Europe. After returning to the U.S., Collard enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley and studied marine biology. After electro-shocking and weighing fish one summer for the California Department of Fish and Game, Collard decided he'd rather earn a master's degree in scientific instrumentation than work as a biologist. Yet while working as a computer consultant for biologists, he finally realized exactly what he wanted to do: write about science for young people.
Collard's first published piece was an article for Highlights for Children magazine about a deep-sea shrimp. After writing more magazine articles for the next four to five years, he published his first children's book, Sea Snakes. Through a combination of persistence, first-hand research, and travel, Collard began to carve out a niche for himself as a nonfiction science author for young people. Research trips to places like Costa Rica and Australia led to books about interesting topics such as cloud forests and coral reefs. In 2006 Collard received the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award for a body of work that "has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children."
Today Sneed B. Collard III lives in Missoula, Montana with his wife and children. When he is not writing, conducting research, or visiting schools, he likes to hike, garden, and play Frisbee with his dog.