Kids have power to influence international wildlife issues

Kids' voices are powerful. They think about what CAN be done, instead of why it can't. That's why I love it when I'm asked "what can I do to help?"

It's a great question, with some great answers.

For kids, I think the easiest thing to start with is to share their passion with classmates, because they're already friends. Kids can talk about the difficulties orangutans or elephants or rhinos (or whatever animal you're interest in) are facing. They can share their knowledge through class projects or reports.

Kids should look outside their school, too, and think about friends or family that are in other social circles. They can help spread  ideas too. 

Another powerful method is to share stories. Kids can write a status on Facebook or send a letter to newspapers. They can educate people around them, especially their parents.

I agree wholeheartedly with a young anti-ivory activist from Hong Kong that I wrote about in February 2013, Celia Ho, who believes young people's voices can be far more powerful than grown ups.  

It's true. Young people’s voices are always noticed by others.

But the first step is to care and make global connections. To know that their ideas matter and that they DO have power. That's why I write. To help folks care.

While my story of Orangutan Houdini doesn't deal directly with current threats to orangutans in the wild, teachers can connect the story with current issues such as loss of habitat due to palm oil production. Many of these topics are included in my Teacher's Guide to Orangutan Houdini (available on my website here).

I'll be speaking on Making Global Connections at Bear Pond Books this Saturday, January 24, 2015.

For more, see: features Orangutan Houdini

I'm thrilled to have had my book, Orangutan Houdini, featured by, which calls it "full of charm" and "sure to capture the hearts of readers, no matter the age."

You can read the full review and interview with me here.


Orangutan Houdini is the true story of a clever orangutan who kept outsmarting zookeepers and escaped from his enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Laurel Neme.Orangutan Houdini is the true story of a clever orangutan who kept outsmarting zookeepers and escaped from his enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Kids' Home Library calls Orangutan Houdini a book that will provoke 'wows'

Kids' Home Library calls my book ORANGUTAN HOUDINI a "thoughtful, amazing true story" that "is indeed a book that will provoke "wows.""

All I can say is: wow. I'm thrilled.


Blog calls ORANGUTAN HOUDINI delightful and perfect for learning about primates

Thrilled by latest review of my book ORANGUTAN HOUDINI which calls it a "delight" and "perfect as a jumping off point for learning about primates and endangered animals."

Joy Makin' Mamas blog says: "As a story book, this is delightful all by itself. As a jumping off point for learning about primates, endangered animals, and non-local species, it’s perfect."

She also says: Raising children with an appreciation for our natural world requires that we show them that world in every way we possibly can. Visiting our nations best zoos and natural parks, going outside and building a rain garden, observing the comings and goings of birds, squirrels, lizards, butterflies, bees, and other everyday animals are all great ways of doing this. But to bring home the lesson about how amazing the creatures of our world are, sometimes you really just need a book. Because the world is so vast and life is so abundant you could never, ever, ever expose your child to every amazing living thing in the world without the help of books."

I agree. Books help expose us to this vast world filled with amazing creatures. It's why I write...and delight in sharing stories.

Orangutan Houdini by Laurel Neme Joy Makin Mamas Review

Circus Lion Rescue

Thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Jan Creamer, Animal Defense International, and meeting the lions she's rescued from circuses in Peru. Amazing to see mistreated lions on the path to freedom.

You can read the Q&A in my article on National Geographic.


A captivating tale based on the true story of an orangutan who loves outsmarting his zookeeper friend.


Animal Investigators by Laurel Neme


Readers go behind the scenes at the world’s only forensics lab dedicated to solving animal crimes in this gripping “CSI for wildlife.”

Available Now