We are beyond excited! Umijoo won the 2019 Gold Medal for mid-grade fiction from the highly respected Nautilus Book Awards. This is a huge win, and will help us tremendously in promoting our message of ocean conservation!
The Nautilus Book Awards are some of the most highly regarded awards in modern American literature. They specialize in acknowledging and elevating “Books for a Better World”, which is all that Umijoo has ever striven to be.
A bit about Nautilus, in their own words:
The Nautilus Awards program seeks, recognizes, honors, celebrates and promotes print books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, families, communities, and global citizens… We look for exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, green values & sustainability, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and positive social change & social justice, as well as to the worlds of art, creativity and inspirational reading for children, teens and young adults.
This is one of the greatest honors we as the creators of activist children’s literature could ever hope to achieve, and is something we will treasure. We are so grateful to all of our supporters, to the team at the Nautilus Awards, and to everyone else who made this possible. Thank you!
Our friends and supporters at the Kokomo Manta Conservation Project named a juvenile female manta after our protagonist!
Fiji is a special place for manta rays, and there’s a incredible conservation team down there doing amazing work! Cliona Flaherty (@coflahe) and Luke Gordon (@lukegordonphotography) head up a team at the Kokomo Private Island Resort, tracking and studying mantas. Kokomo has a cutting-edge education program for their guests, where they teach kids and adults alike about manta rays, conservation, and the beauty and vulnerability of the ocean. They even use Umijoo (the book, not the manta ray) in their children’s education material!
Huge thanks to the team down in Fiji for their amazing work! Give them a follow to learn more about what they are up to, and to see even more incredible manta ray footage by Luke Gordon!
The Independent Publisher Book Awards (the IPPYs) have recognized the incredible work of our designer, Mike “Sully” Sullivan of Three Speed Creative, by awarding Umijoo the Bronze Medal in their design category! This is a real honor for Sully and for the rest of the Umijoo team, we are very excited!
From the beginning, we as a team were determined to make the cover of Umijoo something special. We knew that we were producing a book that would need to compete with iPads and other technology for a child’s attention. As such, we decided to make the cover as engrossing as possible, with both visual and tactile touches that were designed to pull the reader into the story. Everything from the text placement to the feel of the finish and the depth of the embossing was very carefully engineered. We are so happy that our efforts are paying off, and that people enjoy the experience of not only reading Umijoo, but of simply picking it up and holding it. Thank you to the IPPY team for the recognition, we appreciate it very much!
In partnership with the amazing Orca Network, we are thrilled to present an afternoon with Umijoo at the Langley Whale Center!
The Orca Network has been working to promote cetacean conservation for decades. One of the organization’s flagship projects has been working to free Lolita, a female Salish Sea orca who has been held in captivity at the Miami Seaquarium since the 1970s. In addition, the Network maintains the Langley Whale Center on Whidbey Island, which gives visitors and residents alike a chance to learn more about the endangered Southern Resident orcas. The Center also offers information about the North Puget Sound Gray Whales, a small, unique population of gray whales who find sustenance in the waters of Saratoga Passage and Possession Sound each Spring. During the summer months, the Whale Center invites school groups, visitors, and locals to attend monthly education weekends,
In addition to offering a reading of Umijoo, Casson will be signing books and taking questions starting at noon. The event will go until about 3pm.
We hope to see you all there!
Due to the nature of my work, I don’t often have the chance to hold readings or events that aren’t in seaside communities. Most ocean-related institutions, events, and festivals are in distinguished seaboard towns and port cities that have legacy relationships with the sea. This pattern would seem to indicate that ocean conservation themes might resonate more frequently with individuals who live near the shore. That said, to equate a love of our marine environment solely with those coastal communities would be a grave disservice to the millions of people who, despite living hundreds of miles from the ocean, still care deeply about our underwater ecosystems and their inhabitants.
Case in point: after I announced the first Umijoo tour calendar back in May, I received a large number of requests to do events in towns and cities that were not on the list. The most frequently requested? Albuquerque, New Mexico: a desert metropolis that sprawls along the feet of the Sandia Mountains, 817 miles from the ocean. I like to think that this groundswell of interest in Umijoo illustrates the depth of the connection we as humans have with the ocean, regardless of whether or not it happens to be nearby.
So, thanks to the organizational efforts of our wonderful supporters in New Mexico, Umijoo is coming to the Land of Enchantment! I am honored and thrilled to offer a free Umijoo reading and signing at the Bachechi Environmental Center on July 24th. All are welcome; the event will begin at 4pm and run until about 6:30pm, I will either do one or two readings depending on attendance and flow, and books will be available for purchase. I hope to see you there!
Hi everyone! Here’s the current tour calendar for Umijoo events in June.
I’ll be updating this post in real time with any changes or updates!
June 15: Bandon, OR — Umijoo reading at the Washed Ashore Gallery
The Washed Ashore Gallery is a wonderful interactive learning space designed to educate guests around issues of plastic pollution and marine debris. I am thrilled to be collaborating with the team at Washed Ashore to help promote ocean conservation and to push shared vision of vibrant, healthy oceans for future generations. Not only is the Gallery located along a gorgeous stretch of the Oregon Coast, but it hosts an incredible amount of amazing artwork dedicated to our oceans. Visitors will not be disappointed!
When: The reading and signing will be from 2pm to 4pm on the 15th.
How much: Free with admission.
Reservations: No reservations necessary, stop on by anytime!
For More Information: https://washedashore.org/
June 16: Brookings, OR — an evening with Umijoo at Pacific Sushi
Pacific Sushi in Brookings, OR, has been quietly championing the cause of sustainability for years. Ever since the restaurant opened, owner Mike Horgan has been working diligently to find new and exciting ways to offer his brand of responsible, ocean-friendly dining to the Oregon Coast community. On June 16, I will be teaming up with Mike and his incredible culinary team to offer a dining experience to remember. The meal will consist of eight delectable courses interwoven with readings from Umijoo, and the menu will feature local and sustainably sourced delicacies that showcase the great potential of mindful dining. Diners/parties will receive personalized copies of Umijoo to take home.
When: Cocktail hour 5-6pm to be followed by seating at 6pm. A second seating may be added later in the evening as well.
How much: $75 per person.
Reservations: Please call Pacific Sushi at (541) 930-7900 to reserve your place. Seats are moving quickly!
For More Information: https://umijoo.com/june-16th-in-brookings-or-umijoo-at-pacific-sushi/
June 18: Chico, CA — an evening with Umijoo at Aonami
When it comes to sustainable sushi in the Central Valley, Chef Jimmy Lee has been carrying the torch for nearly a decade. Aonami Sustainable Sushi in Chico has won numerous “best of” awards over the past ten years while simultaneously promoting the values and goals intrinsic to mindful dining. Chef Lee is also not one to back down from a challenge: In honor of the importance of plant-based cuisine when it comes to responsible and ethical food systems, Aonami will be offering two back-to-back seatings on the night of the 18th, the first of which will be entirely vegan. I will also be reading at The Bookstore before the event for those interested!
When: The reading is at 3pm, the first seating (vegan) at Aonami is at 5:15pm, and the second seating (sustainable seafood) is at 7:15pm.
How much: The vegan seating is offered at $69, and the seafood seating is offered at $79.
Reservations: Please call Aonami at (530) 774-2981 to make a reservation. Be sure to indicate which of the seatings you would like!
For more information: Visit Aonami’s Facebook page at https://bit.ly/2WSxi9E
June 20: Capitola, CA — an evening with Umijoo at Geisha (with both Casson & Caia)
From his beautiful sushi bar overlooking the sea, Chef David Graham creates delicious, environmentally responsible dishes for locals and travelers alike. Geisha is known for its creative and complex flavors, its artful use of sustainable seafood, and the admirably bountiful portion of its menu that is dedicated solely to plant-based dishes. This evening was originally planned as a buffet, but will now be full service while still offering diners the opportunity to try many of Chef Graham’s wonderful creations. Additionally, both Casson and Caia will be at this event, making it unique among all of the tour stops. The Umijoo reading will be broken up into small, digestible pieces to fuel a lively and convivial evening.
When: The evening begins at 6:30 pm.
How much: $75 per person includes all-you-can-eat sushi (lots of vegan and seafood options available), sake, wine, and a signed copy of Umijoo to take home.
Reservations: Please call Geisha at (831) 464-3328 to reserve your spot.
For more information: Check out Geisha’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/geisha.capitola/
June 21: Monterey, CA — signing books at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
This isn’t a formal event by any means, just an opportunity to come say hi and have your book signed. I will be visiting the legendary Monterey Bay Aquarium on the 21st (I am so excited!) and will sign all of the copies of Umijoo in stock at the Aquarium gift shops before I leave. If you’re there at the time and would like to buy a book, I’d be more than happy to personalize one for you!
When: I’ll probably be hanging around the gift shop from 11am until about 11:30am. If you are coming by and want to make sure we connect, just email me at [email protected] and we can make sure it happens!
How much: Information on admission prices for the Aquarium can be found here.
For more information: Here’s the MBA website, it’s amazing — https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/
June 22: Santa Barbara, CA — Umijoo reading at the Maritime Museum
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a monument to this wonderful community’s venerable relationship with the ocean. As the primary custodian of Santa Barbara’s maritime heritage, the museum showcases many different types of artwork, as well as numerous events, installations, and experiences designed to illustrate the importance and power of Santa Barbara’s nautical spirit. I am honored and humbled to be reading Umijoo at the Museum, which continues to be a tremendous champion of ocean conservation outreach.
When: From 1pm to 2:30pm. If the weather is good, we’ll be on the patio!
How much: Free!
Reservations: Not necessary, just come on by!
For more information: The Museum put together an event page, you can visit it at https://sbmm.org/public-events/umijoo/
June 23: Los Angeles, CA — reading, signing, drinks and music at Mystic Journey Gallery
The Abbot-Kinney neighborhood of Venice is known for its hip, modern storefronts, and my favorite is definitely the crystalline wonderland of Mystic Journey. Their magnificent gallery space is festooned with gorgeous artwork — some made by human hands, and some by the Earth itself — and I am incredibly excited to be sharing Umijoo aloud in this magical space. The reading will be followed by an evening of drinks, music, and conversation. Note that this is at the gallery space (on Lincoln Blvd), not at the bookstore!
When: The event will start at 3pm.
How much: Free admission to the event, books and drinks are available for purchase on premises.
Reservations: Not needed!
For more information: Please check out Mystic Journey’s website at https://www.mysticjourneycrystals.com/
June 24: Long Beach, CA — signing books at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Long Beach’s paramount ocean education destination has been a major Umijoo supporter ever since the book came out, and I’m very excited to have the chance to spend some time with the team there! We aren’t doing any formal reading or anything like that, but I’ll be hanging out at the gift shop and signing books in the afternoon. Come by and say hi! Similar to the Monterey Bay event, the hours for this aren’t set in stone so if you want to make sure we connect, please email me beforehand at [email protected]
When: From 11:30am until about 1pm or thereabouts.
How much: Information on admission prices for the Aquarium can be found here.
For more information: The Aquarium maintains a robust web presence at http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/
June 25: La Jolla, CA — Umijoo reading at the La Jolla Library
I love libraries and don’t get to work with them nearly as frequently as I would like. Thanks to the incredible staff at the La Jolla library (which is a jewel of the library system), I will have the chance to offer a reading as well as sales and signings of Umijoo at this wonderful institution. The event is free and open to everyone! There are a lot of wonderful Umijoo supporters in the San Diego area, some of which who have been with us since the very beginning of the project; hopefully they will be in attendance as well! I hope to see as many people as possible at this event!
How much: Free admission, books can be purchased at the event.
Reservations: Not needed.
For more information: The library team has put a great event page together, check it out at https://sandiego.librarymarket.com/kids-teen-author-talk-w-casson-trenor