Books by Fran Hodgkins
Fran published her first book, The Orphan Seal, in 2000. Since then, she's written more than two dozen books for young readers, most of them nonficton. Visit this page often because there are always new books in the works!
Use the key at right to get an idea of the intended audience. Of course, every reader is unique, and what is easy for one reader may be challenging for the next. Reading with a grownup is a great way for young readers to learn new words and content!
Books are available through your local independent bookstore or through major online retailers.
Thump Goes the Rabbit
Did you know that animals each have their own unique way to communicate? Birds sing, dogs bark, cows moo—and animals use their ears, tails, feet, and bodies to communicate, too! But what is everybody saying? Read and find out about how animals communicate and what they’re talking about in Thump Goes the Rabbit.
The book is filled with bright, accurate art and includes ton of visual aids like sidebars, an infographic, and a hands-on activity all about how to be a citizen scientist and make good observations in your own environment.
Do Seals Ever...?
Have you ever wondered if seals burp? Or what exactly is the difference between a seal and a sea lion? And what the heck is a dugong, anyway?
In Do Seals Ever ...? you can find all those answers and a lot more! I had a lot of fun doing the research for this title, and learned things I didn't know.
There's more than just seals in this book. We also cover walruses (which are related to seals) and manatees and dugongs (which are not related to seals; actually, they're more closely related to elephants!) This is the kind of book you can read aloud to your friends at lunch and stump them with the questions....!
The Secret Galaxy
NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!
"You might not know I'm here . . . " So begins the story of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, which is, sadly, invisible to many people because of the brightness of the night sky. In poetic words that instill wonder while having fun, the galaxy tells some of its secrets, but leaves some to be uncovered by future astronomers.
Illustrated with the remarkable night-sky images of Mike Taylor, noted astrophotographer, and artwork from NASA, this is a great introduction for young readers to astronomy.
"Highly recommended" — Seymour Simon
"awe-inspiring" —School Library Journal
A selection of the Junior Library Guild
Named one of Bank Street's Best Children's Books of the Year, 2015
Selected by the California Reading Association for a EUREKA! Gold Award 2015
Hex: The Apprentice
Robin West lives with her mother and Gram and attends River County Junior-Senior High in Franken, a small town where everybody knows everyone else. Robin plays field hockey and she’s good at art. But her best friend, Pita, is a Greek-American, and she and Robin don’t quite fit in with any of the groups at school: “Living in the spaces between the cliques is hard enough; if anyone found out about Madder business, I would just have to stop going to school completely.” Madder business is what Gram does, and Robin is only beginning to learn about it—the painting of hexes to help people in need of good fortune or protection. Gram wants Robin to be her apprentice. The girl is a natural and shows signs of becoming a powerful hexenmeister. But it’s tough to balance schoolwork and field hockey practice with Madder business (let alone a social life). And when a crazy preacher arrives in town, railing against hexes and denouncing the “witches” who make them, Robin has to contend not only with lost field hockey games, a martinet of an art teacher, and snooty class princess Melody Dwayne, but also a general upsurge of superstition and distrust. Can Robin carry on upholding the virtues her Gram has instilled, or will the town turn against her? Hodgkins (Do Seals Ever…?, 2017, etc.) writes in the first person and depicts a believable cast of characters, each recognizable but not clichéd. Robin herself is full of life. She has foibles, yet these haven’t been thrown in merely to create conflict and further the plot (which the author keeps realistic within the premise of Madder business). Robin is self-aware, empathic, conflicted, but rational, and her relationships with Pita and Gram are full of warmth. The dialogue flows, and Hodgkins delivers a tale that maintains its pace throughout. This leads to some key moments rushing past—the ending, for one—but the narrative pull is undeniable. YA readers should partake of Madder business as eagerly as if under a hex.
A heartening apprentice tale and a sound introduction to teenage issues and adult prejudices. — Kirkus Reviews
Andre the Famous Harbor Seal
Sometimes, just sometimes, a human being and a wild animal make a special connection that changes both of their lives. So it was with Rockport, Maine's Harry Goodridge and the harbor seal pup he named Andre. The two became inseparable, though the seal was free to come and go as he pleased. A moving story that can never be duplicated!
How People Learned to Fly
People have taken dangerous risks trying to fly. Some inventors built wings for their arms and flapped them like birds. Others tried to fly with balloons or tried to glide with the wind. This book describes the creative, fascinating, and wacky experiments that people tried before the airplane was invented.
Supports the Common Core Learning Standards and Next Generation Science Standards
A Raccoon's Tale: Seven Saves the Notch
Seven-Rings Moon, called Seven for short, is a young raccoon who lives happily with her mother and siblings in an old, abandoned church. One day, though, a big yellow machine comes to tear down the building, and Seven and her sister, Arnica, barely manage to escape. When they stop running, their mother and brother are nowhere to be found. They find their grandfather Greyson, who relates a legend: ''In a month in which there is a copper-colored moon, a raccoon with seven black rings on its tail will be born''--just like Seven. Greyson tells her she must travel to a ''safe place for the creatures of the woods and the birds of the air'' called the Notch. ''It's your destiny,'' he says. ''You're not only meant to go there, Seven. You're also meant to save it, to stop those who would destroy it.'' Seven doubts that a little raccoon like her can do anything, but Greyson assures her that she can and must.
An odyssey filled with many adventures and perils ensues, giving Seven a chance to sharpen her wits by concocting clever schemes. She also gains allies who know of and support her quest, such as a bobcat, a Newfoundland dog, and a pair of voluble gray squirrels. Working together, they can perhaps find a way to defeat the men and their machines that threaten the Notch. Hodgkins (Little Loon, 2015, etc.) offers an exciting, well-written tale that's especially moving for its vision of a peaceable kingdom in which predators and prey cooperate against the real enemy: habitat loss and human greed. Another plus is that the author's animal characters act (more or less) like animals rather than being disguised human beings. There are echoes of Richard Adams' Watership Down in the creatures' stories and in an authoritarian raccoon community that's a mild version of Efrafra, but Hodgkins makes this tale her own. Though the environmental message is clear, the book isn't preachy (it's often very funny) and shows how some humans do care about and work for animals.
A rousing, feel-good animal story of courage and compassion--a winner. --Kirkus Reviews
Who's Been Here?: A Tale in Tracks
In this fun-filled and informative book, we take a winter walk with a rambunctious golden retriever Willy. Of course he leaves his paw prints in the snow. But there are other tracks, too, and none of them matches his. One by one, we find out what animals they belong to: a cat, a gull, a raccoon, a snowshoe hare, a bear, a moose, and—uh oh!—a skunk!
Earth Heroes: Champions of the Ocean
The Earth Heroes books feature the youth, careers and lasting contributions of some of the greatest naturalists and environmentalists in the world. This second book in the series for upper elementary and middle school children introduces great conservationists who explored the oceans and worked to save otters, whales, sharks, sunfish, and other inhabitants of the deep. In almost all cases they were scientists as well as activists and authors, and their passion made a lasting contribution to the world.
Awards for Champions of the Ocean: Mom’s Choice Gold Award, iParenting Media Award. Honorable Mention Nashville Book Fair, Honorable Mention Adult Nonfiction New England Book Fair, and Smithsonian Notable Books for Children.
The Orphan Seal: A True Story
Based on the actual rescue and rehabilitation of a seal named Howler and accompanied by vivid illustrations, the story of this endearing young seal will find a place in every reader's heart. The Orphan Seal was awarded the inaugural ASPCA Henry Bergh Award and was named by Yankee Magazine as one of 100 Classic New England Children’s Books
If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby
If you are looking for a terrific snuggle-book and ALSO want to introduce your young one to animals and their offspring, you have found it. Here is a love poem uniquely combined with non-fiction that explores how parents--both human and non-human--guide their young ones. It begins: If you were my baby squirrel, / I would welcome you to the world / In a secret nest I made just for you. The illustrations are gentle, magical, and yet in no way cartoonish - simple but visually luxurious, as the illustrator intended. The featured species are squirrel, otter, bear, opossum, deer, duck, bison, wolf, fox, beaver, skunk, mountain goat, bat, and (of course) homo sapiens. A comforting, sweet-dream book for nature lovers.
Earthquake! (HALF and HALF)
STORY: Shaken to the Ground
Louis and his family arrive in San Francisco on April 17,1906. The next day, one of the most devastating earthquakes in history rocks the city. Many of the buildings crumble and most of the rest are destroyed in the fires that follow. As Louis and his mother are evacuated from the burning city, he resolves to find a way to construct buildings that can survive a great earthquake.
FACTS: About Earthquakes!
Earthquakes are one of the most powerful and feared forces of nature. We cannot predict or prevent earthquakes, but we can be better prepared for them. Discover why earthquakes happen and why some earthquakes cause little destruction, while others cause such devastation. Plus, learn about some of the most famous earthquakes in history and where they are most likely to strike in the future.
Enter the fascinating world of eggs and hatchlings! Birds hatch from eggs, and so do reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. Even the dinosaurs came from eggs! In this nonfiction title, readers will learn about some of the most amazing animals on the planet and how their lives begin — hatching from an egg!