View our catalogue featuring 30+ books about and by Indigenous Peoples in North America

Groundwood Books

Mary Anning's Curiosity

Illustrated by Melissa Castrillon • Written by Monica Kulling

For readers 7 - 12 years old | Published May 01, 2017 | ISBN 9781554988990

Cover of Mary Anning's Curiosity

Regular price $12.95 CAD

120 pages | 7.50 in × 5.00 in
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

Mary Anning's Curiosity

Melissa Castrillon • Monica Kulling

Mary Anning, considered the world’s greatest fossilist, discovered her first big find at the age of twelve. This novel is an imaginative re-creation of her childhood in early nineteenth-century Lyme Regis.

Mary was born in 1799 in Lyme Regis, England, to a poor family. She and her older brother were the only two of ten children to survive. Her father, a carpenter and part-time fossil hunter, taught his children to look for fossils.

When her father injured himself and was unable to work, Mary quit school and took up fossil hunting full-time to help support her family, a task that became even more important when her father died, leaving the Annings in debt.

At the age of twelve, Mary, with her older brother Joe, found what they believed to be the skeleton of a gigantic crocodile, the Great Croc of the legends. Between dodging her rival fossil hunter, the Curiman, and the sheer work of carefully digging out the fossil, Mary took almost a year to excavate what would later be termed the Ichthyosaurus.

Mary Anning may have been uneducated, poor and a woman, but her life’s work of fossil hunting led her to make many discoveries that influenced our understanding of prehistoric creatures and the age of the Earth. In 2010, Mary was named among the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science. Charles Darwin even cited Mary’s fossilized creatures as evidence in his book On the Origin of Species.

In this triumphant novel about scientific discovery, Monica Kulling brings Mary Anning and her world to life for young readers.

About the Creators

Melissa Castrillon

Melissa Castrillon has a First Class Honors Degree in Illustration and a master’s degree in Children’s Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art. She is a freelance illustrator based in Cambridge, England.

Monica Kulling

Monica Kulling is the author of numerous books for children. Her most recent books are Mary Anning’s Curiosity, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon, and Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father, illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti. She is also the author of On Our Way to Oyster Bay: Mother Jones and Her March for Children’s Rights, illustrated by Felicita Sala. Monica’s books have been nominated for many awards, including the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction. Her other picture books include Happy Birthday, Alice Babette; Grant and Tillie Go Walking and The Tweedles Go Electric. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise
Mary's story should inspire young readers to seek unconventional paths, to work hard and to never give up hope.
  • Commended Cooperative Children's Book Center Best of the Year, 2018
  • Commended Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2018
  • Commended CCBC Best Books for Kids and Teens, 2017