Mary Batten


Mary Batten is an award-winning writer for television, film and publishing. Her many writing projects have taken her into tropical rainforests, astronomical observatories, scientific laboratories, and medical research centers.

She is the author of Life in a Frozen World: Wildlife of Antarctica (Peachtree, 2020); Spit: What's Cool about Drool (Firefly Books, 2019); Baby Orca (Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin, 2016); Rattler (Grosset & Dunlap/Penguin, 2016); Aliens From Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems, updated edition, (Peachtree, 2016), Izaak Walton League of America Conservation Book of the Year Award Adopted by New York City Public Schools in support of science requirement for study of ecosystems; Baby Wolf (Penguin Young Readers 2015); Please Don’t Wake the Animals: A Book About Sleep (Peachtree 2008); Who Has a Belly Button? (Peachtree 2004); Hey, Daddy! Animal Fathers and Their Babies – Named Outstanding Science Read Aloud 2003 by the National Association for the Advancement of Science (Peachtree 2002); Wild Cats (Random House 2002); Anthropologist: Scientist of the People -- Named Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council (Houghton Mifflin 2001). Other books include: Hungry Plants (Random House, 2000); The Winking, Blinking Sea -- Named one of the Best Children’s Books for 2001 (Millbrook Press, 2000); Extinct! Creatures of the Past (Golden Books, 2000); Baby Wolf (Grosset and Dunlap, 1998); Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates, (Tarcher/Putnam, 1994); Nature’s Tricksters (Sierra Club Books/Little Brown, 1992), Discovery By Chance (Funk and Wagnalls) and The Tropical Forest: Ants, Ants, Animals and Plants (T.Y. Crowell). She has appeared on OPRAH and various other television shows.

Her magazine articles are published in a variety of publications, including Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, Modern Maturity, Shape, International Wildlife, National Geographic World, ZooNooz, and Science Digest,

Mary Batten was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Children's Television Workshop's science series 3-2-1-CONTACT, and she has written some 50 nature documentaries for television series, including the syndicated WILD WILD WORLD OF ANIMALS (Time-Life Films) and others for National Geographic and Disney Educational Films.

Her magazine article for Science Digest, Sexual Choice: The Female’s Newly Discovered Role, won The Newswomen’s Club of New York’s Front Page Award for best feature story.

She was editor of The Cousteau Society’s award-winning membership magazine, Calypso Log, for six years.

She was married to the late composer Ed Bland. They have two children: dancer/choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland and writer Robert Bland.

Smashwords Interview

Why do you write nonfiction?
I like real world subjects. Nature/science subjects are particularly exciting because they take me into the wild, wild world of animals and plants. The things that happen in nature are often wilder than anything science writers imagine. For example, some species of fishes routinely change sex. Some plants, particularly orchids, use perfume, nectar, shapes, and colors to seduce insects into transporting their pollen. In the plant world, three isn't a crowd; it's a necessity. Without these complex relationships, plants could not reproduce. I like the beauty and complexity of the intricate interrelationships between animals and plants. I like biology because it is the science of who we are and how we evolved.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on a farm in southeastern Virginia. This familiarity with the land, forests, streams, growing crops, and the seasons greatly influenced my writing. I look back on the farm as my first field stations.
Read more of this interview.

Where to buy in print


How To Have Sex If You're Not Human
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,650. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Animals
Despite all our love songs and romantic fantasies, reproduction is the name of the game in biology. All forms of life are genetically programmed to reproduce. Nothing is off limits so long as it produces babies. Animals—plants, too—“do it” in wild, bizarre ways. Some reef fishes change sex. Plants trick pollinators into doing their sexual bidding. Everything strives to pass on its genes.

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