A Word from the Author or Illustrator

Hear from the Creators of the Misty the Cloud series!

Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day

Hear from the collaborators behind Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day

Dylan: Mr. and Mrs. Happyman-Thirstyburger. That’s the first thing that came to mind when my husband, Brian, and I looked at our two suitcases sitting at the airport, mine with a bow and his without. We daydreamed about this dynamic duo traveling the world together and the children’s book it could become. But once we were on board our plane, flying above the clouds, we quickly realized that I know a little bit about traveling the world, but I know a whole lot more about clouds and weather . . . I am a meteorologist, after all. After that, all we could think about was this world we could create in the sky: childlike clouds full of emotions and feelings, excitement and fun. The more we thought about it, the more we realized how much weather affects our own feelings. It snowballed (ha!), and we came up with story idea after story idea about these clouds in the sky and how we could tie them into the world of kids, and how kids could understand and relate to them. We were so into it, we commissioned some artwork and Ollie was born. Wait . . . who’s Ollie? Ollie is now our second child, but it was also one of literally hundreds of names we came up with for this sky-high series. Now we know her as Misty the Cloud.

While this idea was all we could think about, getting someone else on board with the idea was harder than I thought. As this pitch was coming from me (a female meteorologist), I was often told I should come up with an idea about a little girl who wants to become a meteorologist, a strong-headed girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I did just that . . . I didn’t take no for an answer. I teamed up with the witty and kind (and experienced) children’s book author Alan Katz. We became a perfect team, and we each used our individual knowledge to bring Misty the Cloud and her world of Horizon to life. Combining my talents with Alan’s was a match made in the clouds. But I wonder what he thought about it . . .

Alan: I’m not sure I’ve told Dylan this story, but when I was in kindergarten, I played a cloud in the class play. Dressed head to toe in white, I proudly proclaimed, “Hello, friends, I’m a cirrus cloud.” (I probably pronounced it “serious.”) Little did I know my stellar performance would serve as research for a truly special project.

I’m proud to be the father of four incredible kids, and I’ve borrowed liberally from their real-life exploits to create more than fifty lighthearted, humorous books for young readers. But creating Misty the Cloud has been a whole different experience; Dylan and Brian’s characters—indeed, their world—have led me to a new form of creative expression.

From day one, this collaboration has been an absolute joy; I’ve written books and TV scripts with others before, but Dylan’s true sense of give-and-take has allowed us to weave a story that melds real feelings, real science, and a really engaging sense of humor. Misty and her friends are clouds, but their actions and emotions are childlike and genuine. I’m very excited to be part of a book series that will help that kids learn a lot about the weather (I definitely did!) and a lot more about themselves (I did that, too!). There were plenty of laughs during the creative process, and I’m so glad many of them made their way onto the pages, which were so wonderfully illustrated by another collaborator, Rosie Butcher.

And as Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day is released into the world, one thing is abundantly clear: Dylan Dreyer is now a children’s book author, and I am still not a meteorologist.

Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day

Misty the Cloud: A Very Stormy Day By Dylan Dreyer; illustrated by Rosie Butcher


TODAY Show co-host and meteorologist Dylan Dreyer launches a new picture book series featuring Misty—a little cloud with big feelings! The author combines her extensive weather knowledge with her experience as a mom in this very special social-emotional learning franchise.

When Misty the Cloud wakes up feeling stormy, nothing seems to make her day better! And Misty’s grumbly mood affects everyone when her big emotions cause a thunderstorm to rumble across the sky.
But with help from friends and family, Misty accepts that sometimes she’s just going to be a little stormy—and it will always pass.
Read the first book in a sky-high series about how to deal with good days, bad days, and everything in between!

Even More Misty the Cloud Books

Dylan Dreyer

Dylan Dreyer is a meteorologist for NBC News, a co-host of the 3rd Hour of Today, and the host of Earth Odyssey with Dylan Dreyer. She’s covered hurricanes with 130 mph winds, but she loves a nice breeze when she walks her dog, Bosco. She’s stood out in six-foot snowstorms (which is taller than her!), but she loves to go sledding with her sons, Calvin and Oliver. She’s watched roads turn into rivers during strong thunderstorms, but she loves to splash in puddles. She’s traveled the country (and has been to 49 states!) and the world…she’s even been to the North Pole! She loves the weather and thinks the world is a fascinating place. She lives in New York City with her husband, Brian; their sons, Calvin and Oliver; and their dog, Bosco.

Find her on Instagram and Twitter at @DylanDreyerNBC.

Rosie Butcher

Rosie Butcher is the illustrator of the bestselling Misty the Cloud. She has illustrated many other projects, including Cat Deeley’s The Joy in You and Vanessa Bayer’s How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? Rosie lives in England.

Author Created Resources

Our School & Library team is continually amazed by our authors and their dedication to their student, teacher, and librarian readers. These authors have created additional resources to complement their books that you can use with students and reading groups. Check out their pages for classroom and library ideas and additional information! Make sure you check back for new author created content as it becomes available.

Nelly Buchet

Trudy Ludwig

Marina Budhos

Lauren Castillo

Gennifer Choldenko

Tyler Clarke Burke

Nick Courage

Chrystal D. Giles

Theanne Griffith

A. J. Irving

Louisa Jaggar & Shari Becker

Kelly Jones

Andrew Joyner

Diana Kapp

Helena Ku Rhee

Alice B. McGinty

Christyne Morrell

Donna Jo Napoli

Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin

Celesta Rimington

Elly Swartz

Vince Vawter

Book Club Clinical Tool for Paper Boy

Developed collaboratively by Ana Paula G. Mumy, SLP and clinical professor, Kellie Deutsch, SLP Graduate Student and the Class of 2022 at the University of Kansas

Laurie Wallmark

Liza Wiemer

M. Evan Wolkenstein

Natasha Bowen Author Post

Skin of the Sea

Dear Educator,

I first read “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen when I was six. I fell in love with the world under the sea and its magic. As I grew older, I still loved mermaids but began to wonder: Where were the mermaids who looked like me?

I read a lot. Growing up, I didn’t experience many stories where I saw myself. One piece of advice I’ve heard for writers over the years is to write the book you want to read. Skin of the Sea is that story for me. I wanted to read about Black mermaids and legendary creatures. I wanted to read about the excellence of the West African kingdoms. I wanted a tale that explored the magic, myths, and spiritual beliefs that have spread across the diaspora.

I was first motivated to write this book after coming across Yemoja, a Yoruba deity of the Ifá spiritual belief system. She was said to have left her home in the rivers and streams to follow the first Africans who were stolen. There are stories of her comforting enslaved people, while others tell of her wrecking the slave ships. Some say that Yemoja blessed the souls of those who died in the sea and returned them back home. This was the belief that inspired me. What if she created seven Mami Wata (mermaids) in her image to help her do this? And what if one of them saved a boy instead? The seeds for Skin of the Sea were sown and the tale grew from there.

My father is Yoruba, and being able to delve into that part of my heritage has made writing this story even more important to me. Skin of the Sea is a tale of magic and courage, but it also highlights a rich culture and a spirituality often overlooked. This story speaks of ingenuity and fellowship. It is a celebration of the ancestors and their strength.

It is incredible to be reading more stories that open up our worlds to other people’s experiences, cultures, and beliefs. I’m proud of Skin of the Sea and how it explores Black mermaids with African origins. Some readers will see themselves in this story in a way they haven’t before, while other readers will be able to expand their experience of magical beings, fantastical creatures, and history. I hope that all readers will be enthralled by Simidele’s world and will get lost in the glories of fifteenth-century West Africa.

All my best,
Natasha Bowen

Natasha Bowen

Natasha Bowen is a New York Times bestselling author, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she's not writing, she's reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog. Follow her on Twitter at @skinofthesea.

Hope Jahren Author Post

The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults)

Dear Educator,

First of all, thank you for reading books! In a world full of distractions, you are giving your time and energy to written ideas, thoughts and feelings … and teaching others to do the same.  What would the world be without you?  While we’re on the topic, I’d love for you to take a look at my new book for young people, “The Story of More” perhaps there is something inside that would interest you – and the students that you teach!

Like many of the people that I meet each day, I have plenty of questions about Climate Change: mostly along the lines of What should I believe? and Should I be afraid? Because a teacher’s job is to answer questions, I did my research and wrote a book entitled “The Story of More.”  It is the book full of the answers that I found for the questions above.  I’ve now re-written the adult version to a version that will be more accessible — and more interesting — to young people.  It’s full of simple explanations, personal stories, our shared history of Global Change and what we can do to bring forward a brighter future – what it doesn’t contain is preaching and propaganda.  It is the science that I needed to write, and maybe — just maybe — it contains answers and solutions that your students want to consider.  It is a book on Climate Change that is truly for everyone, regardless of their “politics.”

I’ll close this note with my very best to you, from one book lover to another!

Hope Jahren

Hope Jahren

Hope Jahren is an award-winning scientist who has been pursuing independent research in paleobiology since 1996, when she completed her PhD at University of California Berkeley and began teaching and researching first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given within the Earth Sciences. She was a tenured professor at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from 2008 to 2016, where she built the Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. She currently holds the J. Tuzo Wilson professorship at the University of Oslo, Norway. hopejahrensurecanwrite.com jahrenlab.com

More Books on Climate

Alice Wong Author Q&A

Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults)

Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults) By Edited by Alice Wong

Disabled young people will be proud to see themselves reflected in this hopeful, compelling, and insightful essay collection, adapted for young adults from the critically acclaimed adult book, Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century. The seventeen eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life’s ableism and inequality, its challenges and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy.

The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential reading for all.

Enjoy this Q&A with anthology editor Alice Wong!

In addition to writing Disability Visibility, you are the founder of the Disability Visibility Project. What prompted you to start the online community, and how can young readers interact with it to find community of their own?

I originally started the Disability Visibility Project (DVP) in 2014 as an oral history campaign encouraging disabled people across the country to record their stories in the lead-up to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015. I was tired of not seeing disability history taught in school, with the exception of the same small handful of famous disabled people like Helen Keller and FDR. The DVP grew quickly into an online community with a podcast, guest essays, and more. There’s a lot of content people can find on my website or by following me on Instagram and Twitter. The DVP is my attempt to create work by us and for us.

What advice do you have for young people looking to write or start their own entrepreneurial projects?

Knowing what’s out there is a start, and seeing other projects that are good examples of what to do and what not to do is helpful, too. Before you launch a name or hashtag, check if it’s already in use by others. If you’re working on a project, figure out how much time you have, what budget you’ll need, how you can make it sustainable, and what will set you apart. Are you filling a need? Will this give you joy? Is it a good use of your time? If you are interested in writing, start with what you care about. Journal writing can help you develop your voice and a place for your thoughts. It’s private so you don’t have to edit; you can just write without any rules. I also try to learn from my past work and try to challenge myself. I’m still figuring stuff out and cringe at some of my essays from a few years ago. So maybe that’s a sign of growth?

Can you talk about the process of selecting essays to be included in Disability Visibility? How did you find authors of the essays, and how did you decide what to keep in the young adult adaptation?

I bookmark a lot of great articles, essays, and websites for my own use. When I wrote the book proposal for the adult version of Disability Visibility, I had a spreadsheet of over fifty essays I wanted to include. During the manuscript phase, my editor, Catherine Tung, and I narrowed it down to thirty-seven because each was singular and covered an issue or perspective that is important to me. I knew most of the authors already from social media or as acquaintances and friends. It helped that I spent many years developing these relationships so people knew and trusted me. Beverly Horowitz and Rebecca Gudelis of Delacorte Press reached out to me and suggested the seventeen pieces that are in the young reader version because of length and content.

Are there any stories of disability you feel are yet to be told and would have liked to include?

There are always a ton more stories to be told! Universes upon universes! I want to hear from young disabled people, disabled artists, activists, and people from all walks of life. I want to see more work by disabled queer people, disabled gender-nonconforming people, and Black, Brown, and Indigenous disabled people. Publishing has barely scratched the surface when it comes to the richness and diversity of disabled lives.

As you were editing the essays, what were some things that really struck you?

It is a great responsibility to be an editor, and my role was to give the authors another perspective, to ask questions, and to make suggestions. I took a lot of care with their words. The contributions excited me because they were all very different, yet all were personal, political, and powerful. I appreciated the contributors’ participation in this anthology and the efforts they made in the editing process, which can be time-consuming and difficult. (I say this as a writer who understands the pain.) There wouldn’t be an anthology without them. I continue to love the essay form, since the contributors were able to express themselves clearly and concisely. Longform works seem more daunting to me!

Can you share some memories you have of being in school?

I am “an old,” as the kids say. I attended grade school in Indianapolis in the 1980s and loved reading, writing, social studies, art, and going to the library. One of my favorite places was the Nora Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, where I attended summer reading programs. Good times. Later, I became a volunteer and got to listen to kids talk about books at the Carmel Public Library in Carmel, Indiana, when I was in high school. By the way, support your local library and volunteer or donate if you can!

Do you have hopes for how this book will be received and used in schools and libraries now?

With any anthology, I hope there is something for everyone, and the length of the essays make them ideal for short assignments and readings. It would be awesome if teachers used this in English, cultural studies, or history classes. I’d love to see libraries or student groups form book clubs or use it as a springboard to encourage students, especially disabled students, to tell their stories. There’s also a free plain-language summary and discussion guide, both by disabled writers, available as resources for teachers, students, and librarians.

Time for a fun rapid-fire round!

Name a book or books you won’t ever part with.

Let Papa Sleep by Crosby Bonsall

What’s your favorite food or snack?

Coffee and pie (or cookies, or doughnuts)

Who is a person/group doing amazing work that you admire?

I think Sandy Ho, the founder and co-organizer of the Disability & Intersectionality Summit, is pretty awesome! Full disclosure: I am on their steering committee.

Name something that brings you joy.

Group texts with friends, fancy snacks, and Netflix

What’s next for you after finishing Disability Visibility?

Thank you for asking! I am about to turn in the manuscript for my memoir, Year of the Tiger, which will be published by Vintage Books in 2022. I have a few other fun projects lined up next year, and if I’m really organized, I’ll start outlining a proposal for another anthology I want to edit.

Alice Wong

Alice Wong is a disabled activist, media maker, and research consultant based in San Francisco, California. She is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture. Alice is also the host and co-producer of the Disability Visibility podcast and co-partner in a number of collaborations such as #CripTheVote and Access Is Love. From 2013 to 2015, Alice served as a member of the National Council on Disability, an appointment by President Barack Obama. You can follow her on Twitter: @SFdirewolf. For more: disabilityvisibilityproject.com.

Random House Teachers and Librarians