Nora Nickum is a children’s author from Bainbridge Island in Washington state. She writes picture books and middle-grade fiction and nonfiction books, often exploring fascinating nature and STEM topics. Her middle-grade nonfiction book, Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest, publishing from Chicago Review Press in April 2023, introduces readers to the playful and beloved Southern Resident orcas and the people working to save them using everything from medicine and laws to drones and dogs. Her first nonfiction picture book, This Book is Full of Holes, illustrated by Robert Meganck, will be published by Peachtree in March 2024, followed by This Book Bubbles Over in spring 2025. Nora's stories and articles have also appeared in children's magazines like Cricket, Ladybug, and Muse. In addition to being a writer, Nora leads ocean conservation policy work for the Seattle Aquarium. Learn more about her at noranickum.com and follow her on Instagram at @noranickumbooks.
Short bio: Nora Nickum is the author of Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest (Chicago Review Press, 2023) and picture books publishing in 2024 and 2025. Her stories and articles have appeared in children's magazines like Cricket, Ladybug, and Muse. Nora also leads ocean conservation policy work for the Seattle Aquarium. She lives on an island in Washington state. Learn more at noranickum.com.
Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest
Author: Nora Nickum
Target ages: 8-12 (grades 3-7)
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Release date: April 11, 2023
Meet the playful and beloved Southern Resident orcas and the people working to save them from extinction using tactics that vary from medicine and laws to drones and dogs. The endangered Southern Resident orcas whistle and click their way around the waters of the Pacific Northwest in three small family groups while facing boat noise, pollution, and scarce food. Superpod introduces young readers to the experts who are training scat-sniffing dogs, inventing ways to treat sick orcas, quieting the waters, studying whales from the air, and speaking out. Author Nora Nickum also discusses her own work on laws to protect the orcas; tackles the dark history of orca capture for marine parks; and shares moments of wonder.
Readers can dive in to help save these majestic orcas with diverse action ideas and find inspiration for a wide range of future careers.
Interview & press links
New York Review of Books (11/2/23): Where the orcas swim, by Martha Nussbaum
Kitsap Daily News (7/3/23): BI author writes children's book on saving orcas
Tideland magazine (6/23): Whale Tales (see pages 20-21)
Studio 13 Live on Fox (4/13/23): 'Superpod' author Nora Nickum discusses PNW orcas, sustainability
New Day NW (4/12/23): Saving the endangered orcas of the PNW
Teen Librarian Toolbox - School Library Journal (4/10/23): Blending urgency and hope in middle-grade nonfiction, a guest post by Nora Nickum
What were you thinking? Podcast with Dana Goldstein (4/5/23): Season 3, Episode 7: Making Middle Grade Non-Fiction Fun for Everyone
SeaDoc Society blog (4/5/23): Superpod: Saving the Endangered Orcas of the Pacific Northwest (Book Excerpt)
Seattle Aquarium blog (4/3/23): Superpod: a new book for kids who love whales
Island Wanderer blog (3/27/23): “Superpod” by Nora Nickum – A Journey Through the Amazing and (somewhat) Mysterious World of the Southern Resident Orcas
See events page
"Inspiring and compelling" —Booklist
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection
"[Superpod] gives human superpods fresh impetus to learn more about these appealing apex predators." — Kirkus
"A must read for orca fans of all ages.” —Rosanne Parry, author of A Whale of the Wild
“Not just another whale tale, Nickum weaves together a story of fascinating animals and dedicated people working to save them! Superpod is inspirational.” —Dr. Joseph K. Gaydos, author of Explore the Salish Sea
“A thoroughly researched and lyrically written ode to the orcas." —Dr. Lisa Graumlich, dean emeritus, University of Washington College of the Environment
“Nora Nickum weaves the perfect blend of science and emotion to connect her readers to the Southern Resident orcas and to share a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing effort to save these remarkable animals. A stellar combination of awe-inspiring nature and activism.” —Patricia Newman, Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes