Jennifer Owings Dewey is a writer and illustrator of many critically acclaimed natural history books for children and adults, including the award winning Clem, the Story of a Raven, Spiders Near and Far, Antarctic Journal, Four Months at the Bottom of the World, Paisano, the Roadrunner, and Minik’s Story, a novel for middle grade readers about a young Inuit girl living in the 19th Century and encountering white people for the first time. Her audience for most of her work in non-fiction is the child reader between the ages of seven and ten.

Jennifer has written three autobiographical novels set in New Mexico, where she was raised. These novels are considered suitable for young adult readers.

Jennifer’s titles reflect her interest in science and the natural world. While she is not a trained scientist she has personally researched all of her titles to insure accuracy.

Among the honors Jennifer has received is the National Science Teachers Association award for an outstanding body of work in the field of non-fiction for children. For Rattlesnake Dance she received the Spur award. For Wildlife Rescue, the story of a veterinarian known for her extraordinary work with injured wildlife, she received the Orbis Pictus Award given by the National Association of English Teachers.

While awards are wonderful and rewarding to receive, Jennifer expresses that much of the pleasure she experiences as a writer and illustrator comes from doing the research and turning this effort into words and images on paper.

At present she is working on a true story of being lost on a desert in southern New Mexico, the Jornada del Muerto, or Journey of Death. This story will be suitable for both children and adults.

Click here to view Jennifer’s books on Amazon.dewey-titles



Fiction and Non-Fiction Works and Reviews

Cowgirl Dreams

Autobiographical novel with a 13 year old protagonist set in New Mexico.

  • Booklist: “Dewey tells her story simply and forcefully and her life will seem refreshingly foreign to today’s urban children.”
  • School Library Journal: “Dewey is candid about the problems in her family, but there is a love and balance here…this narrative lives and breathes all on its own, full of the flavors of the people who inhabit the West and vibrating with the truths of childhood.

The Five Owls

  • “Engrossing.”
  • Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams: “Jennifer Dewey’s autobiographical Cowgirl Dreams is a bravely told story of girlhood in northern New Mexico. In it we find a fierce, independent, and principled young girl, as admirable as the story she tells.

Navajo Summer

Autobiographical novel, sequel to Cowgirl Dreams, set in northern New Mexico. A young girl runs away from home and lives for one summer on the Navajo Reservation.

  • School Library Journal: “Compelling…an excellent choice with a myriad of themes: Navajo culture, coming-of-age, life in a troubled family, friendship, and growth of trust.”
  • New Mexico Magazine: “Beautifully written and full of the flavor of time and place…it has the makings of a Western Classic.”

Once I Knew a Spider Walker/Bloomsbury (Non-fiction)

The story of an orb-weaving spider that survives winter and is the focus of the attention of new mother.

  • Audubon Society: “…the amazing twist in the story comes when winter’s cold and snow move in and the spider, protecting her egg sac, does not perish. Both mothers are present for the birth of their progeny.”

Borderlands Marshall Cavendish

The story of a young woman caught in an emotional trap and the ways she discovers the means to emerge triumphant.

  • Kirkus: “An important book. Borderlands offers hope to young adults plagued by monsters and weighted down by secrets of their own.”

Wildlife Rescue Boyd’s Mills Press

A nonfiction photo essay about the internal workings of a wildlife rescue clinic in northern New Mexico.

  • Kirkus: “Dewey blends careful observation and lively quotes in this absorbing career study of a dedicated naturalist. Glossy, color photos add tremendously to the appeal of the whole. This is fine writing attractively presented.”

More Acclaim for Wildlife Rescue:

  • A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • A National Council of Teachers of English Notable book.
  • A John Burroughs Outstanding Nature Book for Young Readers
  • Winner of the Orbus Pictus Award

Finding Your Way, The Art of Natural Navigation Marshall Cavendish

A collection of stories about becoming lost and finding one’s way.

  • School Library Journal: “Dewey takes armchair travelers on a fascinating journey as she describes her experiences of being lost on the Jornada del Muerto Desert in New Mexico, the Antarctic wilderness, and Tierra del Fuego. The interesting scientific details and engaging nature writing and observation mixed with adventure will captivate readers…looking for real life adventure and survival stories.”
  • A John Burroughs award winner

Rattlesnake Dance Boyd’s Mills Press

Natural history text about rattlesnakes, the Hopi Snake Ceremony, and the author’s personal experience with a rattlesnake strike. (Non-fiction)

  • Rattlesnake Dance is the winner of the Spur Award for Juvenile Non-fiction
  • Outstanding Science Book of the Year ~ National Association of English Teachers

(Rattlesnake Dance is available on CD ~ Recorded Books

Four Months at the Bottom of the World ~ an Antarctic Journal

An illustrated journal of the author’s stay in Antarctica to study birds and their breeding grounds. This text has been translated into several languages and portions of it taken for use in text books and on tape. (non-fiction)

Bed Bugs in Our House ~ Marshall Cavendish

A child’s introduction to spiders and bugs.

Paisano, the Roadrunner ~ Millbrook Press

The non-fiction story of becoming friends with roadrunners ~ a science-based text.

The Shaman and the Water Serpent ~  U. of New Mexico Press

The story of how and why the ancient Anasazi etched images on rocks. (Non-fiction) Illustrated by Benton Yazzie a Navajo artist.

Minik’s Story ~ Marshall Cavendish

The coming of age of an Inuit girl set in the 1800’s

Stories on Stone

The story of rock art from a child’s perspective. Published by Little Brown & Company and now available from University of New Mexico Press. Social Science Teachers of America Award


Clem, the Story of a Raven ~ Published by Dutton and now available from University of New Mexico Press.A memoir of having a raven in the house (among other forms of wildlife).  ALA, best science book of the year.

Other Non-Fiction

Poison Dart Frogs ~ Boyds Mills Press

Spiders Near and Far ~ Boyds Mills Press

At the Edge of the Pond ~ Little Brown and Company. Bookbuilders West Award

The Wandering Albatross ~ Little Brown and Company

The Adelie Penguin ~ Little Brown and Company

Night and Day in the Desert ~ Little Brown and Company

The Case of the Mummifies Pigs and Other Mysteries in Nature ~ Boyds Mills Press

Animal Architecture ~ Orchard Press (ALA outstanding science book of the year)

Illustrations Only

Creatures of Earth Sea and Sky ~ Boyds Mills Press

Dinosaurs of the Southwest Region ~ Museum of New Mexico Press

The Village of Blue Stone ~ Scott Foresman.  A collaborative effort with Stephen Trimble, author and photographer

The Secret Language of Snow ~ written by Terry Tempest Williams, Sierra Club Books

Winging It ~ a child’s introduction to birds of the Great Basin Desert

Strange Nests ~ Millbrook Press

Wilderness Sojourn ~ Harper & Row, San Francisco

The Sagebrush Ocean ~ University of Nevada Press

The Dinosaur and the Dark Star ~ Atheneum