Katherine (Shelley) Orr is a scientist by training and an educator at heart. Many of her books, including her latest, THE DOCTORS IN MILI’S SUITCASE, use a storyline to bring important facts to life. By combining her scientific background with her love of nature, art, and narrative, she aspires to create books that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Katherine has authored and illustrated twenty books, mostly for children. My Grandpa and the Sea was named A Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Language Arts by the National Council of Teachers of English, and selected as one of 100 Children’s Books for Reading and Sharing by the New York Public Library. Story of a Dolphin was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children by the National Science Teachers Association/Children’s Book Council, and named an Outstanding Elementary Science Book by the Society of School Librarians International. Her other published writings include articles in professional scientific journals and popular magazines, and grant-funded booklets.
Katherine’s original book illustrations have appeared in exhibits, including The Society of Illustrator’s “The Original Art,” at the Museum of American Illustration, New York City; Olympia & York’s art exhibition featuring Children’s book illustrations at Park Avenue Atrium, New York City; and “The Illustrators Art,” at The Dairy Barn SE Ohio Cultural Arts Center. Her commissioned artworks have included paintings, drawings, logos, posters, scientific illustrations, cartoons, cookbook illustrations, a hotel mural, and a highway sign for the state of Florida. Her art has appeared on such sundry items as t-shirts, note cards, stationary, maps and Belize one-dollar bills.
Early Background and Education
Katherine was born in New York City in 1950, and grew up in Storrs, Connecticut. She received a B. A. in biology, cum laude, from Goucher College and a M.S. in zoology from the University of Connecticut, with additional graduate study in food science at the University of Hawaii, and aquaculture training at National Marine Fisheries Service in Galveston, TX. She holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from eCornell and the T.Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
Besides writing and illustrating, Katherine’s other occupations have included doing underwater field research as a marine biologist, conducting mariculture research, teaching sailing and snorkeling, leading nature tours on land and under water, creating videos, and teaching qigong. She has been a cruising sailor and scuba diver, has worked as a research associate at the Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole, MA, and is an alumna of the East West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. Her interests and pass-times include eating and enjoying healthy food, exploring the nature of consciousness and subtle energies, cherishing the natural world, and generally focusing on those things that promote health, happiness, and sustainable, compassionate living. Katherine has lived on islands most of her adult life, including islands of the Turks and Caicos, Caribbean, Florida Keys, and Hawaii. Today, she lives on Oahu with her husband, small dog, and an assortment of garden pets.