Local scientist and mom Megan Dow has published her first children’s book, a delightful tale of adventure for early readers called Miss Curiosity Saves the Cat. An Island resident of over four years, Ms. Dow is originally from Colorado. She is a scientist working in the field of immunology.
Island author and scientist, Megan Dow, holds up her recently published first book
Recently Ms. Dow made lemonade from lemons while undergoing a long difficult knee reconstruction by using her time convalescing to apply her creative mind to children’s stories. “I loved being able to tell stories to my daughter. I couldn’t play with her. But I could imagine things with her.” Dow’s daughter Gemma is four years old.
“My husband and I are always making up stories and games and songs. So one day I cranked out the skeleton and the base for this story in a rhyme, and then he and I just started workshopping the rhymes, and I bounced some ideas off of him and I just kept flushing them out,”said Dow. Her husband Luke is from Australia, and also a scientist.
Miss Curiosity Saves the Cat is a 28-page self-published book, appropriate for those aged 3-8. It centers around a small girl’s quest to find a cat she hears crying outside. A simple prospect becomes a grand adventure in which the entire, inquisitive family partakes. It’s a sort of follow-the-leader in which the leader is unquestionably the child, supported by parents who nurture her curious nature.
Seemingly small moments can become wonderful opportunities for discovery, the author seems to say. In little Gemma’s backyard, an appealing and varied natural world unfolds. This world is full of excitement as well as good information.
When asked about the artwork for the book the author said, “For an illustrator I’m fortunate enough to be friends with Mickey Quinn, otherwise known as The Mighty Mickey Quinn. She’s a great graphic design artist based in Ithaca. We’ve known each other for well over a decade.”
Dow has had a lot of practice. She says, “I’ve written quite a few manuscripts so far. This is the first one I’ve published. And the only one I’ve done in rhyme. Everything has had a focus on and is a spin on STEM (an acronym for the combination of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), and imagination with science, without making it overtly, ‘This is something you need to learn.’ It was really fun to do something in rhyme, because it just seemed very natural. Everyone likes reading rhyme.”
When I met the author at Starbucks I thought she could well be a character in one of her books. In a smart raincoat and tall boots, she looked ready for an adventure herself– as lively as the mom in the book following animal tracks with a magnifying glass.
Dow said she couldn't talk about her process without also talking about her husband, Luke, who encouraged and supported her every step of the way. So instrumental has her other half been, that Dow incorporated her husband’s name Luke, into her pen name, Megan Lukas.
Ms. Dow has several other books she’s writing as well. She is currently workshopping another ten different manuscripts and is working on a new series with publishers – a quirky New York City story about dinosaurs showing up around the City in unlikely places. Dow says the Q station at 72 Street inspired this story.
Dow also spoke of a series in progress that is based on her daughter’s experience “with our amazing swim team here on Roosevelt Island, The Marlins.” She describes it as “Toy Story meets Mission Impossible.” The toys go on missions to help their children, without the kids being aware that they’re cognizant.”
This was inspired by the Marlins coaching practice of tossing toys into the pool to get the kids to swim to them. What if those teaching toys came to life? Dow’s bright, imaginative mind seems well suited to children’s book writing.
“We see so many picture books where kids are doing these cool explorations, and TV shows too, but they’re by themselves, and then we end up disengaging. But if you can insert yourself in the story in a way that you can play with your kids and it’s fun, I would like to see more of that. That’s how I grew up, always outside,” said the Coloradoan.
You can purchase Miss Curiosity Saves the Cat on Amazon, however it is already on backorder. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher. Additionally, the Roosevelt Island branch of NYPL is working on procuring a copy of the book for their shelves. And some time in the near future Megan Lukas will be giving a reading of Miss Curiosity Saves the Cat at the library.