Turning Up the Heat on Reading—and Teaching

My new book, Woodpeckers—available April 2018!

Winter in Montana–or is it? With fires raging in California and snow in Florida, it’s hard to know, but one thing we can all do is help educate young people about the perils of climate change and what we can do to combat it. Two of my books are great starting points: Fire Birds—Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests and Hopping Ahead of Climate Change—Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival. As 2018 debuts, however, I also have several “cool” new literary treats for kids and educators. To the right is a “sneak preview” of a book I’ve been writing and photographing for the past four years, Woodpeckers—Drilling Holes and Bagging Bugs. With lively, fun writing and stunning photos, you’ll be as pleased with this book as I am.

I’m also excited to share my first teacher textbook, Teaching Nonfiction Revision—A Professional Author Shares Strategies, Tips, and Lessons. This book is a collaboration between me, my superlative co-author Vicki Spandel, and our incredible editor and writer Katie Wood Ray. Read below for more details, but note that in addition to my author visits, I offer terrific teacher workshops for in-school professional development. For more details on my books, author visits, and workshops, just send me a note at collard@bigsky.net or call 406-531-9140. Oh, and this wouldn’t be my website without a few photos of amazing birds perched at the bottom of the page—these from our recent “expedition” to Ecuador and Peru. Enjoy!


Teaching Nonfiction Revision—A Professional Author Shares Strategies, Tips, and Lessons (Heinemann, 2017)

Teaching Nonfiction Revision

My very first textbook, Teaching Nonfiction Revision distills everything I’ve learned about writing top-quality, award-winning nonfiction during my thirty-year career. Thanks to my incredible co-author, Vicki Spandel, the book includes not only my own insights, but dozens of well-crafted exercises and lessons to help educators launch their students into the real world of writing. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, you’ll get to enjoy the hilarious illustrations of one of our favorite illustrators, my “cousin” Brad Sneed.


Gliding Now!: Catching Air: Taking the Leap with Gliding Animals

Catching Air: Taking the Leap with Gliding Animals (Tilbury House, Spring 2017)

Tilbury House, 2017—A Junior Library Guild Selection!








Buzzing Now!: Insects—The Most Fun Bug Book Ever

Insects: The Most Fun Bug Book Ever (Charlesbridge Publishing, March 2017)

Charlesbridge Publishing, 2017

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change—Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival (Bucking Horse Books, 2016)

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change, Finalist for the AAAS/Subaru/SB&F Prize for Middle Grade Science

Hopping Ahead of Climate Change, Finalist for the AAAS/Subaru/SB&F Prize for Middle Grade Science

  • Finalist for the American Association Advancement of Science/Subaru/Science Books & Films Prize for Nonfiction Science
  • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books
  • Eureka Nonfiction Award Silver Medal
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Booklist: “Collard does an excellent job of telling the story of the snowshoe hare, while also keeping stewardship and conservation as the core message.”
  • School Library Journal: “Captivating text and a stimulating use of color photographs make this a welcome addition for all environmental collections.”
  • Midwest Book Review: “Impressively well written, organized and presented, “Hopping Ahead of Climate Change” is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library Environmental Studies and Wildlife Studies collections and supplemental studies reading lists.”
  • Karen Yingling Reads: “veteran nonfiction science writer Collard gives us fascinating insights into what’s going on with this (extremely adorable) animal.”
  • Winner, High Plains Books Award
  • Finalist, Green Earth Book Award

Fire Birds—Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests (Bucking Horse Books, 2015)

Fire Birds has been racking up terrific reviews and receiving a lot of attention--no surprise given this year's record-breaking heat!

Fire Birds has been racking up terrific reviews and receiving a lot of attention–no surprise given this year’s record-breaking heat!

  • NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books
  • Eureka! Nonfiction Book Award Silver Medal
  • Green Prize for Sustainable Literature
  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize, Commended List
  • High Plains Book Award, Finalist
  • Starred Review, School Library Journal
  • A Junior Library Guild selection







  • February 7, 2018: All-day Nonfiction Revision Workshop, Region 4, Houston (dates available)
  • February 13: School Visits, Lewistown, MT (dates available)
  • Feb. 26-Mar. 1, 2018: School visits in Merced, CA (dates available)


A rainy, unforgettable day in Machu Picchu!

This past spring, we embarked on a family “bucket list” adventure we had long dreamed about—a five-week journey through Ecuador and Peru. We visited the Amazon, trekked around Peru’s Sacred Valley, and spent two weeks with a home stay trying to improve our Spanish skills. As you can imagine, a new author talk also emerged, along with several book ideas. Here are some preview photos to enjoy and share!

This is a Caiman Lizard. Ever heard of it? We hadn’t either!

We sighted this Cock-of-the-Rock literally in the shadows of Machu Picchu!


What would a trip to South America be without a toucan sighting—or in this case, a Crimson-rumped Toucanet?

If you’re into tanagers, South America is the place for you! This Flame-faced is one of twenty species we saw!

And finally…the hummingbirds. What can you say except that they’re incredible! This one: a Velvet Purple Coronet. Teachers, don’t you wish your students would call you by this name?