Jess Keating

As a zoologist and author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and fallen victim to the dreaded papercut. Her books blend science, humor, and creativity, and include the acclaimed My Life Is a Zoo middle-grade trilogy, the picture book biography, Shark Lady and the award-winning World of Weird Animals nonfiction series, launching with Pink Is For Blobfish. Jess is the creator, writer and host of two YouTube channels, including Animals for Smart People, about animals, science, and nature, as well as Jess Keating Books, which incorporates her love of writing and creativity in accessible videos for young writers. Jess lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves hiking, nerdy documentaries, and writing books for adventurous and funny kids. Jess can be found online at and on Twitter @Jess_Keating and @AnimalsSmartPpl

On Festival Sunday, Jess Keating will be presenting as part of “Marvelous Middle Grade” from 4:00-5:00 at Jenny’s Place.

Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray

“Let the official record show that, I, Nikki Tesla, did not intend to destroy the world.”

There are only so many times a kid can invent an instrument of global destruction without getting grounded. So when Nikki’s death ray accidentally blows up her bedroom (if you can call a pet ferret with an itchy trigger finger an accident), she’s sent to the only place that can handle her. Genius Academy is a school for history’s greatest brains. Leo da Vinci? Charlotte Darwin? Bert Einstein? All extraordinary. Yet even among her fellow prodigies, Nikki feels like an outsider thanks to a terrible secret she can’t let anyone discover. Ever.

But when her death ray is stolen, Nikki must stop worrying about fitting in and learn to play nice with her new classmates. Because it doesn’t take a genius to track a thief around the world, outwit the authorities, and keep a French fry fanatic ferret happy. It takes all of them.