Janey Monarch Seed

Janey Monarch Seed is a gentle tall tale of a girl determined to make a difference for imperiled Monarch butterflies, by planting seeds of milkweeds from Texas to Quebec. It’s a long, tough journey, but one that’s filled with adventure and natural beauty, new friends and big dreams.

Told in simple verse, the story will work as a gentle but lively introduction to monarch biology and ecology, emphasizing habitat needs and our role as active stewards in the natural world. Sidebars add further information and details to engage and expand children’s fascination with butterflies and other pollinators. An afterword completes the story with additional explanation of environmental threats to monarch habitat and suggestions on how to learn more and help them through wildlife-friendly gardening. The afterword also makes explicit for any readers who didn’t recognize it already that Janey’s story parallels that of a true American folk hero, Johnny Appleseed.

Janey Monarch Seed will be a very useful title for classrooms following Common Core and Next Generation Science standards, engaging students in the study of butterfly anatomy and development as well as their basic ecology, particularly habitat needs and migratory patterns. As a playful response to the classic Tall Tale of Johnny Appleseed, it can also be used in language arts and creative writing units and for girls/diversity empowerment. And because its protagonist emphasizes observation and action, it will strongly encourage student engagement in hands-on activities such as experimental plantings and classroom butterfly raising—increasingly common activities in strong programs for early STEM learning. 

Janey Monarch Seed is a popular book for author visits and can be promoted and sold through widely-used educational programs such as Monarch Watch (http://monarchwatch.org/) and Journey North (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/). 

A particularly relevant monarch education, Monarchs in the Classroom from the University of Minnesota, focuses on K-6 activities including milkweed gardening and monarch pollinator habitat improvement (http://monarchlab.org/education-and-gardening/curricula/) and is used around North America by various organizations such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (https://usfwsnortheast.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/monarchs-in-the-classroom/).

The importance of protecting and restoring milkweed for monarch habitat is recognized by a coalition of government agencies and nonprofit groups that can all be considered potential markets for Janey’s story (http://monarchjointventure.org/about-us/partners/Monarch).

Sample illustrations


Janey was highlighted in the National Phenology Network quarterly newsletter.

“Janey loves the gorgeous butterflies that paint the sky each year with their vibrant, gossamer wings! ‘But a troubling mystery cast a shadow one spring. ‘Where are the monarchs?’ Janey asked from her swing.’ The flutterers’ precious milkweed is being mowed up; they have nothing to eat. Soon, Janey and other committed kids — a la Johnny Appleseed — begin planting milkweed pods from Quebec to Mexico. But “had they planted enough? Would the monarchs come back? At last, Janey shouted, ‘I see orange and black!’’’
Washington Independent Review of Books (link)

“Janey Monarch Seed is a delightful story demonstrating the importance of milkweed to sustaining our monarch populations. The fun-to-read story is supported with key facts about monarchs and milkweeds and what each one of us can do to ensure these treasures persist for generations to come.”
Theresa M. Crimmins, Ph.D., Director, USA National Phenology Network; Research Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of Arizona

Janey was highlighted in the Book Nook of Be Kind, Jr. a publication from Red Rover®


About the Author

Julie Dunlap is an award-winning author or co-author of several children’s books, and co-editor of two nature anthologies, Coming of Age at the End of Nature and Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together. She teaches wildlife ecology and environmental sustainability for the University of Maryland Global Campus, and has worked with schools, nature centers, and libraries to create butterfly habitats and native plant gardens through her work as the Schoolyard Habitat Grant Coordinator for the Audubon Society of Central Maryland. Julie lives and chases butterflies with her family in Columbia, Maryland.

About the Illustrators

Dana Simson has a background is in product design, licensing, and as an artist, but her favorite pool of sunlight is writing and illustrating books. She has fourteen published books in pop-up, gift book, and picture books. Her twenty-five-year-old company, Chesapeake East, has sold to over 700 galleries and her artwork is in collections worldwide and a few museums. She has also worked with companies through licensing of her illustrations, for design work and patterns in many products internationally. Dana is a life-long environmentalist and wrote a blog and a monthly print magazine article for many years called “Garden Warrior.” The theme is “organic gardening by someone who has absolutely no time but must have a garden no matter what.” Her current garden involves a DIY rain collection system to battle the salt-water encroachment undermining our well. Dana and her husband, artist John Orth, live on a small island in the Chesapeake Bay. They maintain a field full of milkweed.

Janey Monarch Seed
By Julie Dunlap
Illustrated by Dana Simson
Hardover, casebound wrap with endsheets
32 pages  |  8.5 x 11 vertical format
Full-color illustrations throughout
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-7336534-8-0
Pub Date: September 2021

Distributor: IPG; also available through Bookshop.org and Ingram, and other wholesalers.
Individuals can order via Bookshop.org, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & publicity contact Dede Cummings, publisher: dede@greenwriterspress.com