Donna M. Zappala

Donna M. Zappala holds a BA in Elementary Education and Psychology and a master’s degree in Mathematics Education for grades kindergarten through sixth. Donna resides in New Jersey with her husband Adrian, a university administrator, and her three girls.

Awards include the EPIC 2012 Trophy Award Winner for Best Children’s Book for WHAT KIND OF TURTLE AM I?

Other children’s picture book titles include: GABBY AND THE TOOTH FAIRY | IZZY’S CROSSING | IZZY’S HATCHLINGS

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Totally Turtle Tuesday

Turtles Rock

Special Evening Happenings

Totally Turtle Tuesday / Helping Hands Wednesdays / Horseshoe Crabmania Thursday

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights are bursting with fun as we highlight our favorite reptiles, birds, plants, pollinators and arthropods. Meet live animals, release a terrapin or horseshoe crab from our dock and make a difference!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:   5:00 pm
Free with admission

IZZY is loved!

“It’s time for terrapin Izzy to leave the marsh and lay her eggs on the sandy beach. Izzy doesn’t know the way and calls on her marsh friends for help. Eventually Izzy meets another terrapin Addie who guides her to the beach. One major obstacle stands in the way of the terrapins getting to the beach; they conquer that obstacle with ingenuity and creativity. IZZY’S CROSSING is an engaging journey with a wonderful and lively character who makes her way through illustrator Marco Serido’s colorful and countryside having a good deal of fun. IZZY’S CROSSING should create enthusiastic students for science study of terrapins.” ~ reviewed by Ernest Jaeger, Ed.D [FIVE STARS]

World Turtle Day May 23rd


World Turtle Day May 23rd. The purpose of this holiday is to celebrate these remarkable reptiles and to raise awareness about the American Tortoise Rescue – a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect turtles and tortoises all around the world. On this unofficial holiday, people can choose to donate money to this organization, volunteer for other organizations that promote turtle conservation and protection or simply spend the day enjoying cute turtle pictures on the Internet. After all, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate this holiday as long as turtles are the main focus of your efforts.


What Kind of Turtle Am I

Read the award-winning children’s picture book, WHAT KIND OF TURTLE AM I?, written by Donna M. Zappala and illustrated by Marco Serido. Izzy is on a quest to figure out just what kind of turtle she is. Is she a turtle, a tortoise, or a terrapin? She asks every animal she can find, but will anyone be able to answer her question?Winner of the EPIC 2012 Best Children’s Book Trophy Award [Children’s Picture Book (Rated G for ages 2-7 and up) 24 pages color | Available in ebook (EPUB and Kindle), hardback, and paperback | Released on the Kittycat Books label of Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. | READ MORE AND FIND SALES LINKS


Gabby and the Tooth Fairy

Read the children’s picture book, GABBY AND THE TOOTH FAIRY, written by Donna M. Zappala and illustrated by Marco Serido. Gabby awakes one night to find the Tooth Fairy in her room. When she asks what happens to lost teeth, the Tooth Fairy allows Gabby to take a wondrous trip across the world to a magical place called Tooth Town. [Children’s Picture Book (Rated G for ages 2-7 and up) 24 pages color | Available in ebook (EPUB and Kindle), hardback, and paperback | Released on the Kittycat Books label of Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. | READ MORE AND FIND SALES LINKS

Blasting News Interview with Author Donna Zappala

Below is the recent interview with Donna Zappala conducted by Meagan Mehan reprinted from Blasting News.

Donna M. Zappala is an author of picture books and a teacher who resides in New Jersey with her husband, three daughters, and a dachshund. Donna loves chocolate, walking, and going to the beach. She also reads her books aloud at schools and organizations, such as aquariums. Recently, she spoke about her experiences as an author and her hopes for the future.

Blasting News [BN]: How did you become an author?
Donna Zappala [DZ]:  I noticed that there was an absence of books available that enhanced the topics I planned to teach. I decided to write educational and entertaining picture books that are useful in classrooms.

[BN]: What books inspired you?
[DZ]: I truly enjoyed reading books written by classic authors such Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss and Margaret Wise Brown. I read “The Giving Tree” over and over. I loved that the tree had unconditional love for the boy. I remember thinking what wonderful friends the tree and the boy were. I wished I had a tree to hang out with when I was lonely. Of course, I loved books by Dr. Suess; I read “Green Eggs and Ham” so much that the book wore out and my parents needed to buy me a new one. Perhaps it was because of the rhyme, rhyme, rhyme. Oh, how I wanted to taste some green eggs and ham before it became popular to do so!

[BN]: How many books have you written?
[DZ]: I have written five children’s books thus far. Each are fictional stories with non-fictional facts woven in. All have been published by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. GABBY AND THE TOOTH FAIRY teaches kids the types and names of teeth and the global customs associated with the tooth fairy. WHAT KIND OF TURTLE AM I? is one of my most popular books and an award winner. It teaches the difference between turtles, terrapins, and tortoises. IZZY’S CROSSING is about how turtles  lay eggs. IZZY’S HATCHLINGS focuses on baby turtles. These books teach kids about the real issues that turtles face in a fun storybook-style way. I also published BUNNY’S VEGETABLE GARDEN and SOCKS in the Humpty Dumpty/US Kids Magazine.

[BN]: What is your dream project?
[DZ]: I already completed my dream project! I always wanted to be a writer and I am one! I was able to publish books that children enjoy as well as learn from. I feel very lucky to have published pieces in children’s magazine also. It is a wonderful experience to see my words in print and meet readers who absorb those words!

[BN]: What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?
[DZ]: To date, the most rewarding part of being an author is receiving feedback from young fans. I enjoy hearing what students think and feel about my books. I received a message from a reader a while back that thanked me for teaching him the different types of turtles. He mentioned how much he loves turtles and how he hopes to help turtles when he grows up. It was very touching. However, the ending was worth every rejection I receive as a writer. He ended his note with I really liked your hair too! I was also lucky to find my illustrator, Marco Serido.

[BN]: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
[DZ]: Still writing! I will possibly branch out into genres. I am a fan of young adult books and would be willing to explore that area. I also would love to write for other children book publishers and children’s magazines. I love writing for different types of media because I am able to use a variety of formats. I am also able to reach diverse audiences.

[BN]: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
[DZ]: Be true to yourself. Write about what you are passionate about rather than trying to keep up with what is popular. Be prepared for rejection, it’s a big part of writing children’s books. Seek out critique groups and join organizations like SCBWI. It’s helpful to stay connected.