Welcome to the Spotlight Maria Gianferrari and COYOTE MOON


I’m over the moon (get it?) happy to shine the spotlight (or maybe the moonlight) on children’s author Maria Gianferrari and her nonfiction picture book:


Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Begram Ibatoulline (Roaring Brook Press/2016)

Coyote hunts at night – stalking mice, rabbit, geese, but not until the night is almost over does she successfully capture prey, food for her hungry pups, waiting for her in the den. Gorgeous illustrations capture this sleek predator on the prowl in a suburban town.

Those of you who know me know I am very fond of all animals. I have a degree in zoology and was an educator at a zoo, and volunteered as a raptor rehabilitator when I was in college. So, it is no surprise that I absolutely love this book! Stay tuned below for a chance to enter to win a copy of this book from the publisher!

Spotlight on Maria:

What was the spark that inspired you to write about a coyote?

I had a close encounter with a coywolf (also known as an eastern coyote) when I lived in Massachusetts in January 2007, and the seed of a story was born. It was such a majestic and beautiful creature. I became obsessed with learning more about them. At the time, I didn’t even know I had seen a coywolf until I had begun my research.

You do a lovely job – showing the natural balance of predator-prey relationships – how hard it can be for a predator to capture food, and how necessary it is in order for it to feed its young and survive. What were the challenges you faced in telling the story of a coyote hunting? What were some of the highlights of researching/writing this book?

I’d have to say the biggest challenge was trying to find balance between telling the story of a predator to young readers while remaining authentic about the coyote’s ferocity. By making the main character a mother coyote, hunting for her pups, kids can see that she’s hunting to feed her family, so her ferocity has meaning. It’s all part of maintaining balance in an ecosystem.

I loved doing hands-on research, walking in the woods with purpose, searching for signs of the elusive coyote—for scat, bedding sites, kill sites (I once found a bunch of turkey feathers, hence the turkey in the story).

The highlight was interviewing Dr. Jon Way, a noted eastern coyote/coywolf researcher, for what initially began as an article and evolved into a book. I read his book, Suburban Howls, and his scientific papers, and first learned about eastern coyotes/coywolves. I also visited the Stone Zoo where the orphaned coywolves that he rescued then lived. This is a photo of one of them named Lupe, who looked very much like the coywolf of my encounter.


Do you have a favorite animal? What is it and why?

I LOVE dogs. They’re so affectionate and expressive and full of unconditional love. My dog, Becca, is the best writing companion 🙂

Maria Gianferrari was inspired to write Coyote Moon after her first coywolf sighting on a moonlit night in her own Massachusetts backyard. Maria now lives in Northern Virginia with her scientist husband, artist daughter, and rescue dog, Becca. This is her first book for Roaring Brook Press. Visit her at mariagianferrari.com, on Facebook or Instagram.

Roaring Brook has generously offered to send a copy to a lucky winner. To win a copy of Coyote Moon for yourself, a child, or a school or library, follow these directions to enter in the drawing:

1. Comment on this post by Saturday, July 23rd by midnight EST. A winner will be drawn at random and contacted on Tuesday, July 26th (be sure to include your email address).

2. Entrants must have a US mailing address.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Katz who won a copy of COYOTE MOON! I’ve sent you an email – please respond with your mailing address. Thank you to everyone for stopping by and entering! Stay tuned for more spotlights, reading buzz, and giveaways!



29 responses »

  1. Congratulations on Coyote Moon, Maria! What a gorgeous cover. I have never heard the term coywolf before. Interesting! I hear coyotes howling from time to time out my bedroom window and I always feel so lucky when I do. It’s such a magical sound!

  2. Wonderful *moonlight* spotlight Deb! So excited to read Maria’s book. I’ve visited Lupe also – he was on the same rock in spring and even then was beautifully camouflaged!

    • How cool, Cathy!! When was that? It seems that Lupe & his siblings are no longer there. I thought they may have separated them. This photo was taken in Feb or March 2007.

      See you soon–can’t wait!! ❤

      • Back when the kids were little enough to want to go to the Stone Zoo! It is really struggling now and last summer was threatened with losing accreditation. 😦

      • That’s too bad. In general though, I’m not really a fan of zoos. Too depressing for me ;(

      • Okay, as a former Associate Curator of Education for the Detroit Zoo, I feel the need to chime in here. Not all zoos are bad – and zoos provide a way for the public to connect to animals and care about them. Most (good) zoo animals are captive bred and not taken out of the wild – and zoos help with endangered species programs, and can provide homes to those wild animals who cannot survive in the wild any longer. (Case in point. our zoo helped rescue lions kept in crack houses.) Just my two cents. 🙂

    • Thanks for saying so, Katz :)!

      Incidentally, Officer Katz is a character in my next book releasing in October: Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails ;).

  3. Here in Parker, CO, we have coyotes, though we hear them at night a lot more than we see them during the day. A few hiking trails have posted coyote warnings. Like you, Maria, I love all things dog. I’ve never heard of a coywolf either! Your book looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see it. Congrats!

  4. Sounds like a lovely book–putting it on my to-read list! (Fun fact: the first article that I wrote for kids was on coyotes, in Ranger Rick in 1983. And it was inspired by encountering them in Massachusetts!)

    • Wow–how cool, Buffy!! That’s where I used to live. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen live coyotes here where I live in VA 😦

  5. This looks like a wonderful book. I’ve had some encounters with coyotes, the most stunning one was with a mom and pups. I also lived for many delightful years with a feral dog that had some coyote in him, and his sister, who was half wolf. I have a special love for canines, both wild and domestic.

  6. I really like dogs too and for the same reasons that you do. I also enjoy most other animals and how they live and relate to each other. Thanks for the chance to win Coyote Moon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.