Andrea Zoppo is a lot of things. She is a teacher. She is an artist. She is an environmentalist. She is a naturalist. Most of all, she is fun! With the nickname Ms. Ladybug, how could she not be? And she brings a sense of that fun to all she does. She comes by that naturally. Her mother ran an event planning business that all family members were part of, so Andrea was accustomed to dressing like a clown and making people laugh.
An educator, making people laugh as they learn is one of Andrea’s goals. And she’s good at it. Her causes are serious. Reducing the carbon imprint is no laughing matter, but with a big red clown nose in the middle of her face, she makes the issue approachable. Especially for the planet’s youngest stewards.
With an ultimate goal of making people enjoy learning, Andrea is not an average educator. She strives to make each and every child feel important and recognized. Not only does she have a unique ability to work with children, she also has a gift for sharing the magic of curriculum and lesson planning with colleagues. And her latest endeavor is a children’s book, “Storm Bugs.”
A caring person from childhood on, Andrea was properly frightened by storms. But instead of fearing that trees would crash on her house, she was concerned about the creatures outside that were exposed to the elements.
“When I was a child I would get anxious about what could happen to animals, especially bugs, during a storm. With lightning crashing and thunder booming, I would wonder, how do bugs survive? They are so little and fragile … and maybe I felt that way too,” she recalls, understanding the vital connection our planet has with its tiniest creatures.
.While there is some fun with imagination in “Storm Bugs,” the facts imbedded in the rhyming story are true. Mosquitoes can really ride raindrops, and honeybees really seem to know when it's going to rain!
The book’s illustrations are amazing. Jordan Ososki created the images by hand with colored pencils.
“When my longtime friend Andrea offered the opportunity to collaborate with her on this fun book, I jumped on it! I really love the original concept, and nature is one my favorite art subjects. And like, Andrea, Ms. Ladybug, I love to garden too!” Jordan said.
Jordan wanted the bugs to be instantly recognizable, so he modeled his designs on real photos. “I am now an insect anatomy expert,” he laughed. “When you’re looking from a bug’s eye view, details are huge! I know that ‘Storm Bugs’ will be a fun way to share the often overlooked details of the insect world with the bug-loving kids in your life.”
Andrea is excited to share her love of nature with children, and true to form, is brainstorming puppet shows, theatrical performances and costumed readings to share at schools and community events. Chances are, she’ll be sporting a big red clown nose!
Don’t miss her reading at Signal Mountain Library at 11 a.m. on April 18. Also, don’t miss her reading and performance on May 13 at Art 120’s “We Make” event in Miller Park. And keep your eyes open for a series on WTCI that features “Storm Bugs” later this spring.
* * *
Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series “If Bugs Are Banished.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.