Thursday, September 15, 2022

Book Birthday Blog with Kathleen Jae



Welcome to SCBWI-MI's Book Birthday Blog!

Where we celebrate new books from Michigan's authors, illustrators and translators. 


Congratulations to Kathleen Jae on the release of An Amazing Manatee* Journal

*also known as the sea cow 


How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The sea cow is an important character in Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery, and I made sure to include worksheets on manatees in my book, The Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery Study Guide for Teachers and Parents. I always like to keep up with news on Florida manatees, and when I read articles on how a large number of manatees were (and still are) dying in Florida, especially in one particular county in Florida, I wanted to create a journal for all ages that included not only pages to write down thoughts, but also one that would include manatee graphics, facts, illustrations, and puzzles.

What is something you hope your readers will take away from your book?

I touch on the events of this past winter at the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County, Florida. Eleven hundred manatees died in 2021 in Florida, and more than half of the deaths were related to starvation in the Indian River Lagoon. The reasons for the deaths include fertilizer runoff, wastewater treatment discharges, and the release of cyanobacteria and harmful algae blooms in Florida bodies of water by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers released the contaminated water from Lake Okeechobee, and the algae blooms killed seagrass beds, triggering a man-made famine for manatees. At the end of the book, I include some organizations that rescue sick and hurt manatees. My hope is that people become aware of the plight of these fragile creatures.

What inspires you to write?

I always have more than one story to tell at a time, so I must constantly prioritize my writing. I love coming up with new characters, places, and situations, so If I don’t write for several days because of obligations, I make it a point to sit down and just start writing.

What are your marketing plans for the book?

The journal is available worldwide, and I am constantly posting on social media and my website about its publication. In addition, I will be starting a newsletter.

What's next for you?

I will be publishing my historical adult mystery, Island Times Three, at the end of the year. It’s a Raymond Gray mystery about a Manhattan private detective who travels to Sanibel, Florida, for a blackmail case that soon turns into something more sinister. The novel takes place in 1952, and I had a blast researching the clothing, vehicles, island life, and world events.

A little bit about the book . . .

A manatee, also called a sea cow, is an important character in the middle-grade novel, Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery. Now you can record your thoughts in your own lined journal. In addition to dozens of lined pages, the book includes manatee facts, illustrations, graphics, puzzles, to-do lists, and much more!!

An Amazing Manatee* Journal is the perfect notebook for children, teens, and adults!

A little bit about the author . . .

Kathleen Jae has been writing in one form or another for almost twenty-five years. In past lives the author has been a proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter and columnist, newsletter writer for a wildlife organization and writer of stage plays and screenplays. Two of Kathleen’s short stories made it to the finals of the 2017 Florida Writer Association Royal Palm Literary Competition. Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery was a finalist for the 2021 Page Turner Book Awards.  








  1. What a wonderful idea. Congratulations, Kathleen.

  2. Having spent years in Florida, I applaud your focus on the manatees (and the water quality issues) that we all should be more aware of. The Everglades and so much of Florida are threatened by all the development and changes in ecosystems. Thanks for writing this timely book.