About the Story
Penny Chisholm and Molly Bang have been friends for many years, Penny is a scientist; Molly is a writer and illustrator who also likes science. Molly's parents were both scientists, but she herself failed most of her science courses in college. She got a C in biology only because she made beautiful drawings of starfish as part of her term paper. But she loves learning about what scientists are doing and discovering.
Both of us wanted to do something so children would love some of the science that we love. Or rather, we wanted children to get a sense of the awe we feel as we learn about how life works. We had talked about making a book for several years, and our first one, Living Sunlight, was about photosynthesis — how plants catch sunlight and turn it into sugar, at the same time making oxygen gas, which then floats out of their leaves into the air.
But Penny's real research love is phytoplankton, the tiny one-celled plants that float at the surface waters of the seas. She wanted to make a book about how important these are to all life on Earth – especially because most people have never seen or even heard of them. So we began to write Ocean Sunlight. A year and a half and 134 versions of the story later, the book is finished. As the story kept changing, word by word, detail by detail, Molly kept changing the pictures as well. But she had to throw away only about 4 of the ones that were completely finished.
Ocean Sunlight tells how the tiny one-celled phytoplankton in the sea catch the sun’s energy and pass it on to all the marine animals. It tells how these same plants give us the oxygen we need for our own lives on Earth.