Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Speaker Profile - Jonathan Tweet


Region: Western Washington
Age Levels: 5-10, 11-13, and 14-17
Will Travel: Anywhere in the world
Skype Visit: Yes
SCBWI Profile: Member Profile
Speaker Email:



 In 2016, my book, GRANDMOTHER FISH, released from Macmillan. It is the first book to teach evolution to preschoolers. I worked on it for 15 years, raised money for it on Kickstarter, printed it, and listed it on Amazon. I'm lucky to have partnered with artist Karen Lewis. When the self-published edition was released in 2015, it got great reviews, sold out, and was picked up by Feiwel & Friends at Macmillan. Its second edition released in September.

     I'm widely published as an award-winning writer of roleplaying game books. I've written for top games: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, MAGIC, and POKEMON. A new lease on life has allowed me to write GRANDMOTHER FISH.

     In 2016, Karen and I raised funds on Kickstarter for two evolution games: CLADES and CLADES: PREHISTORIC. They are an animal-matching card game based on evolutionary relationships, for kids and adults. CLADES and CLADES: PREHISTORIC ship December 2017.

Presentation Description:

“Jonathan and GRANDMOTHER FISH provided my 3rd graders with an engaging way to explore the history of humans. Students enjoyed interacting with the book while seeing the important connections between all living things.” —AH, public school teacher
GRANDMOTHER FISH gets kids to mimic the sounds and motions of our ancestors, and it makes evolution accessible even to preschoolers. The video is of someone else reading my book to kids at a church story hour. You can see how much fun they have with the interactive story.
     In addition to the book, I engage the audience in a discussion of evolution, pitched to their level. With five child volunteers, I conduct an interactive timeline exercise that helps children appreciate “deep time.” Did you know that it’s been 200 million generations since our Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Fish was alive? And if you said her name out loud, with all 200 million "greats", it would take you three years? 
     I also talk about my experience as an author, especially for older audiences. My own little daughter inspired me to write the book, I worked on it for over 15 years, and in 2014 I finally figured out how to make the book really work. Next, I partnered with a local artist, and we worked together to complete the book. In 2015, we raised money for it on Kickstarter, and we received lots of advice from my professional colleagues and from scientists. Our little, self-published edition sold out, and then Macmillan picked the book up and released their edition in 2016. 
      I come from a family of teachers, and my career is in game design, so I have a lot of experience reaching young minds.