When I was offered my own plot at the local urban community garden, I thought it would be fun to invite other families to learn to grow food together. As an environmental educator, I knew that for toddlers and preschoolers, digging in the dirt and growing plants for food could plant seeds for a life-long love of exploring the wonder of nature, hands-on science inquiry, environmental stewardship and joy in healthy eating.
As we gardened, I noticed what questions children and their parents had, and how we found the answers together. I wrote the picture book How to Say Hello to A Worm: A First Guide to Outside to inspire more kids and their parents to get their hands dirty.
How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside is available to order from your favorite local independent bookshop.
When I was little, I thought that the best pages of any coloring book were the blank endpapers. There, I could draw whatever stories I dreamed up. When I got bigger, I studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The woodcut printmaking I studied there drives my illustration style.
After earning my Master’s in Environmental Science and Science Teaching at Antioch New England Graduate School, I taught science in public schools for several years. I am writing and illustrating books on science inquiry, nature, how children can get involved in citizen science, and picture book biographies of activists and scientists. I also lead workshops making masks and banners for parades with Wonderland Spectacle Company, I lead the Early Birds’ Garden Club for pre-schoolers at the community garden, and lots of other stuff. I live with my husband and two children, close enough to the subway to get around Boston, but also close enough to a giant waterfall to visit often for inspiration.
And my heart still skips a beat when I see a blank page for drawing on.
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“Earliest readers will love this deep dive (sometimes literally!) into gardening, growing, and learning.” – School Library Journal, 31 Days, 31 Lists: 2022 Science and Nature Books for Kids
”A great guide to growing young gardeners!” 4/2022 Kirkus Review
“Once you read this book you will get your hands dirty” 4/2022 Shameer Reads: The Reading and Writing Teacher
“Wonder and delight are in joyful evidence,” 2/2022 Boston Globe Arts New England Literary News
”Sparkling debut” 12/2021 Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf starred review
“A gorgeous guide to exploring the garden in a respectful and gentle way.” 3/2022, Let’s Talk Picture Books
11/2022 Sun Journal Book Review
4/2023 Cyrisse Jaffee, Children’s Book Feature: How to Say Hello to Local Author-Illustrator Kari Percival,The Arts Fuse, Boston.
2/2023 Colette Lauture, “If you’re gonna learn to garden, you need to know how to say hello to a worm.” Neighborhood View, Urban Media Arts, Malden.
6/2022 Victoria K. Chapman, KidLit Connection: Getting to Know Author-Illustrator, Kari Percival
1/2022 Mack Keating, Malden Author Releases Kids’ Book, The Blue and Gold.
RECOGNITION & AWARDS
School Library Journal 2022 Science and Nature Books for Kids, 31 Days, 31 Lists, Betsy Bird, 12/2022
Favorite Picture Books of 2022, Let’s Talk Picture Books: Children’s Book Design and Illustration, 12/2022
TALK Award, 2023 CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards for Early Literacy, 12/2022
Photos: Greg Cook