Science Book a Day Interviews Cindy Trumbore and Susan Roth


Special thanks to Cindy Trumbore and Susan Roth for answering 5 questions about their recently featured book – Parrots Over Puerto Rico

Cindy Kane is an award-winning author and editor with over 25 years of experience working in children’s trade and educational publishing. Under her married name, Cindy Trumbore, she began writing children’s books in 1999, publishing four nonfiction books for classrooms with Modern Curriculum Press and a fantasy novel for grades 2-5, The Genie in the Book (Handprint/Chronicle), in 2004. Her nonfiction picture book The Mangrove Tree, co-written with and illustrated by collage artist Susan L. Roth, was published by Lee and Low in May 2011 and won the 2012 Jane Addams Award, among other honors. – Adapted from Cindy’s Homepage

Susan L. Roth is the fascinating author/illustrator of over 35 children’s books. Susan is a native of New York City. Susan doesn’t paint! Over the years she has developed her own collage technique into one which is exclusively faithful to cutting and tearing. From the most complete background papers to the tiniest dots of eyes and I’s, she ONLY cuts or rips. She is very proud of the technique she developed. – Adapted from

Cindy’s Homepage:

Susan’s Homepage:

#1 – What was the impetus for Parrots over Puerto Rico?

Cindy: I read an article in 2012 in my local New Jersey newspaper about the America the Beautiful Quarters program, which features America’s state parks. There was a 2012 quarter for El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, America’s only rain forest. The article had a feature about Puerto Rican parrots, as the last wild population lived there and the first breeding aviary was also located there. That got me thinking about doing a book about the parrots, but the more I read about them, the more I realized the story of the parrots and that of Puerto Rico are intertwined.

Susan: Cindy introduced me to the parrots and she gave me many sources to read. I wanted to illustrate the book right from the start. It’s our second collaboration.

#2 – The story of the Parrots has a long history, how did you go about the research for the book?

Cindy: We started with print, online, and video research. Then we went to Puerto Rico in the summer of 2012 to do visual research in San Juan and in the two aviary locations. We also interviewed a scientist from each aviary. At the Rio Abajo aviary we got to see actual parrots in breeding cages and a released family of three parrots that flew overhead. That was a thrill!

Susan: Besides all that Cindy mentioned above, I studied thousands of photographs, many that she found for me, and I studied pictures in books–and sometimes even read a word or a million or two. I also watched, with new eyes, every bird I saw outside.

#3 – The art in the book adds a great richness to the book. Why did you choose to go with this style of visual art compared to photographs or drawings?

Cindy: This is really Susan’s question to answer, but to me, the book is about relationships, and art allowed us to show those relationships while remaining factually accurate.

Susan: I work in collage only, ever since 1986.

#4 – The book opens vertically. Why did you choose this? What options did it allow you for the book?

Susan: I chose this format because ‘birds gotta fly’ and this allows them to! Also, the vertical space permits sky and ground to be seen at one time, and that follows the text.

#5 – Are you working on any new books/projects you can tell us about?

Cindy: Yes, we are working on a new book about grasslands ecosystems. It’s fun as well as informational; part of the text is based on a folk song and we can’t wait to present it in schools. We head to New Mexico to research it next month.

Susan: Stay tuned to our published, Lee and Low, and you will hear about it pretty soon!!

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