Buckeye Valley East students entered the gym Tuesday wearing plastic safari helmets ready to hear stories about the animals David FitzSimmons photographed for his award winning book series Curious Critters.
Beth Bennington, library media specialist, said, “They’re ready for a picture perfect safari.”
The author was part of the school’s Family Literacy Night Tuesday at the school.
FitzSimmons told the children that his first book, Curious Critters, was published in 2010 and at the time he had a neat thought. “I thought wouldn’t it be neat if I could read own book to my own kids,” he said. “Now I read my books to both of my children.”
During his presentation FitzSimmons told the children stories of the animals he has photographed and written about. He showed a video of a squirrel he was trying to photograph, but the squirrel kept climbing up his arm.
“I told him that he was the subject and I was the photographer,” he said. “He kept wanting to be the photographer.”
FitzSimmons said he loves nature and photographing animals is his way of sharing it with others.
“I really like sharing my love of nature with children,” he said. “Even looking at picture of nature can improve mental acuity.”
Bennington said FitzSimmons donated three of his Curious Critters books to the school library. It had had nine others that were to be raffled off at Family Literacy Night.
FitzSimmons said when people are separated from nature it affects them negatively. “I heard it called nature deficit disorder,” he said. “People are happy when they are in touch with nature.”
FitzSimmons lives in Bellville, Ohio, with his family. He said he has been a photographer for 20 years and photographs other things besides small animals. He also photographs and writes for various magazines and has 100 plus calendar credits to his name.
FitzSimmons’ biography says he holds a PhD in English from The Ohio State University, with a specialty in narrative theory investigating the components of storytelling. He has also taught at Cornell University, OSU and Ashland University.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.