Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!
Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors and illustrators.
Congratulations to Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw on the release of Mighty Mahi
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
During the 2014-15 school year, my elementary reading students boarded an imaginary yellow submarine from Northville, Michigan to Jekyll Island, Georgia for a virtual field trip to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. There, they were introduced to Mahi a juvenile green sea turtle who was missing her right front flipper. My students adopted Mahi and we followed her journey—researching her rescue, receiving monthly updates on her rehabilitation, and seeing video of her release. Mahi’s tenacity was inspiring, and I knew then her story needed to be shared beyond our school community.
What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope readers will be inspired by Mahi’s strength and persistence and realize that with hard work, effort, and support from others, they too can overcome challenges.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by a mix of the subjects and values I am passionate about: family, education, space, making a difference, oceanography, national parks, leadership, birds, persistence, weather, finding your strengths, relationships, nature, and pursuing your dreams.
What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
After 23 years teaching upper elementary students, my writing naturally has a middle-grade voice. This would be great if I wrote the story of Mahi as a novel, but as a picture book reinventing my voice proved a challenge, but one I was grateful my publisher gave me the opportunity to tackle.
What are your marketing plans for the book?
First and foremost, is the realization that while writing tends to be solely a creative experience, like any other job, being a published author includes tasks I prefer not to do—put marketing at the top of my list! For Mighty Mahi, I am diving headfirst into Instagram and Pinterest and am hoping I don’t hit bottom. Additionally, I am emailing my press release and one-sheet to aquariums across the world and connecting with local media, bloggers, and podcasters. I look forward to school visits and interacting with the kids—that’s when the moments happen!
A little bit about the book . . .
THIS IS A TRUE STORY: A green sea turtle spots something shiny and sparkly. But when she swims over to investigate, the stringy stuff gets wrapped around one of her flippers. She can’t get loose! Soon she’s too weak to dive for food or swim to the ocean surface for air. Exhausted, the young sea turtle struggles on to the beach to rest. She doesn’t realize there are more obstacles and bigger challenges awaiting her outside of her ocean home.
A little bit about the author . . .
Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is a children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds.. Suzanne enjoys speaking at schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.
You can visit Suzanne at: