Last night I attended the Foundation for Children's Books "Conversations With Sy Montgomery" event. This is a great event series, a casual conversation between creator and moderator--similar to the "Actor's Studio" except the people aren't plastic.
I admit I didn't know a great deal about Sy Montgomery's work. I knew her books but never really examined them. I think perhaps I was scarred by too many boring science textbooks as a child. I always though photojournalism non-fiction seemed too much like school.
But, I was wrong. By the first ten minutes, I was captivated by her passion for her work and my appreciation for her work escalated tenfold. Her approach to creating her books is so different than any of my other colleagues, simply because of the nature of her subject matter. Sy travels to the Gobi Desert to research snow leopards. She goes to New Zealand to find flightless parrots. Every book is a life adventure as well as a cerebral one.
The most important thing I took away from the conversation was the sincere motivation behind all her books. For her, "science was a way to answer the question for the things you love most"; a true love that she wants to share with kids. Which I think she is doing quite well.