Stephanie Leon

Stephanie Leon is participating in our book signing at the OLLI Authors’ Day, March 7th  from 11:00 AM to 1:30  PM.  Location: California State University, Fullerton, Pollak Library.  For more information click HERE.

The Answer is Armadillos: How to Save a Species Paperback  by Stephanie Leon,

Prince Mosi, son of Kenjo, king of giraffes, escapes from the royal tower. He wants fun; he wants friends; he wants freedom. He doesn’t want to be the ruler of a vanishing species. Then he meets the beautiful Monifa and rescues her from a crocodile. While he’s gone Oskar, Kenjo’s okapi cousin, seeks sanctuary in the tower because he no longer feels save on a preserve. He discovers that twins have been born. “If all giraffes had twins, our numbers would double and we’d be out of trouble,” Kenjo declares. He finds out that nine-banded armadillo has the most multiples and orders Oskar to find out their secret. But there are no armadillos in Africa. What they don’t know is that the Armadorables, middle school Texas techies will help. Can armadillos really save the giraffe species? When Mosi returns with Monifa, together they find the answer. This book contains facts about African animals and plants, and big ideas in natural science like genetics, inheritance, DNA and conservation.

Stephanie Leon is a former middle school teacher She has previously published non-fiction with her husband. (google: Burke Leon). She believes in the potential of the younger generation to make a difference by addressing real problems, and uses the young giraffes. Mosi and Monifa, to illustrate this theme. It is ultimately a “coming of age story” about tweens who are unhappy with their lives. “The Answer is Armadillos” deals with a serious issue: threats to enangered species, and ultimately to us. Kenjo, king of giraffes says, “Large mammals are the first to go.”

The book, written for upper elementary children, address this issue in a light and lively way. The main characters are like her students: they challenge their parents; love music and technology and want the impossible. The story is set in Africa. Stephanie’s home is decorated with African art.

She says this book was born when the zebra skin, purchased in her clueless youth, ripped, patched and tailless, fell off the wall. It was so fragile, that when she tried to pick it up, it crumbled. Next, she found out that giraffes and okapis were recently placed on the endangered species list and began her research.

She has included her own illustrations. Though her training is in English/education, her hobby is drawing. She is also the family poet, and her prose is peppered with interior rhymes and Suess-like short poems. this makes it is fun to read aloud. Though Stephanie comes from a family of scientists, Vera, the vet, also believes in natural remedies.

She regards Kenjo with doubt, but unwittingly provides Oskar with information that leads to the solution to the giraffe’s plight. She believes that “Nature has a plan/unknown to any animal/unknown to any man” Stephanie says her book can be read on many levels, and is designed to spark students curiouslity and inspire them to read further.

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