Dr. John E. Becker
Dr. John Becker grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. While in elementary school, he loved to read adventure stories, which sparked his interest in visiting mysterious places like Africa and tropical rainforests. He also loved to write stories, especially science fiction. Dr. Becker even wrote, and published, a neighborhood newspaper when he was ten years old.
Dr. Becker graduated from Brunswick High School, where he played varsity football and baseball (later, in 2007, he was inducted into the Brunswick High School Hall of Fame). After high school, he attended The Ohio State University where he was a captain on the varsity ice hockey team. After he graduated, he became an elementary school teacher in Pontiac, Michigan. Then he went back to Ohio State and earned his Master's and Doctorate degrees. After that, Dr. Becker became a college professor at Macalester College, and at the University of Florida. While he was teaching, Dr. Becker wrote many articles for journals, and even coauthored a college textbook about how children learn.
Because Dr. Becker has always loved animals, he was excited when he was offered a job at the Columbus Zoo in 1978, where he worked alongside Zoo Director Jack Hanna. Part of Dr. Becker's job consisted of writing articles for the zoo's newsletter "ZooViews." He decided it would be neat to share what he had learned about wild animals with other people. That is when he began writing magazine articles.When Dr. Becker had the chance to go to Africa, and then to the rainforests of Central America, as well as the Amazon Rainforest, it was like a dream come true. There were so many wonderful animals and beautiful scenery to see and photograph. Those trips gave him some great stories to write about, so he wrote some more magazine articles.
In 1988, Dr. Becker helped start a conservation organization for wild cats called the International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC). For the next seven years, he was the Executive Director of that organization. He traveled all over the United States and Canada talking to people about protecting endangered wild cats. He also wrote lots of articles for ISEC’s newsletter, "Cat Tales"
Since 1995, Dr. Becker has been visiting schools across the country talking about writing. He has also been on television and radio many times, including Good Morning America, and a radio broadcast that went all across Canada. When he is not in schools, or observing wildlife somewhere, he is at home in Deerfield Beach, Florida writing books like Maggie the Talented Mouse, Mugambi’s Journey, the VOYA award winning book, Wild Cats Past & Present, Frenemies For Life (which has become a Best Selling book for children), the Returning Wildlife series, or his Seedling books. Dr. Becker’s Returning Wildlife series includes North American River Otters, The North American Beaver, Bats, The Bald Eagle, Wild Turkeys, The North American Bison, Manatees, Florida Panthers, Grizzly Bears, Gray Wolves, American Alligators, Green Sea Turtles, California Condors, Gray Whales, and The Northern Elephant Seal. His Seedling books are Cheetahs, Hawks, Kangaroos, Owls, Giraffes, Scarlet Macaws, Camels, and Snow Leopards. Dr. Becker coauthored Where Did Howdy Go? with his mother. Dr. Becker has also been a writing instructor at the Thurber House Literary Center in Columbus, Ohio since 1998.
In his spare time, Dr. Becker likes to play tennis, ice skate, hike through the forests near his home, and read.