Author Mary Meinking visits St. Edmond

Mary Meinking, author of the “Predators vs. Prey” children’s nonfiction book series, visited St. Edmond Catholic School Tuesday.

“I wrote the entire series of eight books,” Meinking, a Spirit Lake native, said. “I’ve also written 26 books total, so this is just part of the books that I’ve written.”

The author visit was made possible with funds provided by the Emily Joy Averill Foundation, according to Ann Knobbe, St. Edmond elementary teacher.

“All the second grade teachers in Fort Dodge were given a monetary gift from the Joy of Reading Foundation, and the idea was to spread the joy of reading,” Knobbe said. “What we thought, the best way to share the joy is to meet a real-life author.”

Knobbe said she hoped Meinking would serve as an inspiring figure for her students.

“We wanted kids to know that anyone can be an author,” Knobbe said. “I think it’s part of the dream that anyone can be an author, anyone can write and anyone has a story to tell. It’s part of passing it on to them that they can do anything, or be anything they want.”

Meinking spoke with three groups of students Tuesday, detailing to each a series of predators and how they pursue their prey. A polar bear, the largest land predator, for instance, eats seals, and the barn owl eats mice, she explained.

Children volunteering to be a predator stood before the audience and selected their correct prey from a group of small push toys. A child volunteering to be the lion had to pick out a gazzelle, which joined the accompanying book Meinking wrote, “Lion vs. Gazelle.”

Meinking explained that the great white shark, the largest ocean predator, eats penguins, as detailed in her book “Shark vs. Penguin.”

“If you read this book, you can see how the shark tries to get the penguin,” she said.

The secret weapon of the wolf, the lion and the dolphin in catching their prey is, Meinking explained to the awe of the students, teamwork.

A pod of 10 to 30 dolphins, for example, works together to corral fish to eat.

“(A dolphin) can eat 300 fish sticks in one day,” she said. “That’s a lot, isn’t it?”

According to Meinking, reading is important.

“It’s really the foundation of everything that we know and learn,” she said. “Reading is what it’s all about.”