This month’s author interview features published author and illustrator (and seasoned Young Inkling), Kelsey Sweetland. Kelsey is an environmental activist and author of Natalie the Narwhal, Elliot the Egret, and Ozzy’s Adventure. We learned about Kelsey’s writing journey and what it’s like to use writing as a vehicle for sharing powerful messages and environmental activism.

“Get an idea you’re excited about because your audience can tell you are passionate about it.” ~ Kelsey S.

Learn more about Kelsey, her published works, and her writing journey at www.kelseymaesweetland.wixsite.com 

Writing Challenge

“A Great Adventure”

Create a short story about your favorite animal going on an adventure to find something. It could be something delicious like their favorite food or a mysterious magical diamond hidden deep in the earth.

● Are there friends, adventures, or humans the animal meets along the way?
● Does the character live in a tropical jungle, a great canyon, or a busy city?

Write that story.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I look into nonprofits that want to help raise awareness and share details about these endangered animals. Doing this research helps create the character.

What is the best part about being a published writer?

The best part is to be able to take what’s in your head and give it to an audience. With published writing, it can be sold in stores and shared with kids, and some of
that profit from my books is donated to organizations that help these endangered animals.

What would you say to young authors who have a powerful message to communicate, but need help with how to do it effectively through their writing?

Write it no matter how messy it will initially be. Allow what you want to say to come
out. You can edit it later.


A special thank you to Kelsey Sweetland for sharing with us! 

Kelsey Sweetland is 17 years old, lives in Los Gatos, CA, is an environmental activist and is the author, illustrator, and publisher of four children’s books that advocate for environmental issues. Kelsey was inspired to write her first book when she was 13, after hearing Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Ted Talk, “My Wish: Protect our Oceans,” about the dangers our oceans face and a Hillbrook School Scott Center trip to the Island School in the Bahamas, where she saw firsthand what climate change pollution, overfishing, and more is doing to our oceans.

After Kelsey learned that the nature she loved since she was a child was in danger, she was determined to do something about it. Young Inklings helped Kelsey craft and write her first children’s book, and since then, she has written, illustrated, and
published three more – Natalie the Narwhal, Elliot the Egret, and Ozzy’s Adventure. Kelsey’s mission for her books is to inspire children to learn about and love animals and nature in hopes that they will want to protect the world for themselves and future generations to come.


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