The World Never Sleeps (+Book Giveaway!)

In two weeks an exceptional nonfiction picture book titled THE WORLD NEVER SLEEPS releases on July 3. This delightful book shares fascinating activities in nature, both day and night.

Written by Natalie Rompella and illustrated by Carol Schwartz, THE WORLD NEVER SLEEPS reveals the hidden lives of insects and other small creatures from one midnight to the next.

The illustrations are richly detailed and gorgeous! I love how the illustrator included a cat in each spread who is observing nature along with the reader.

And the lovely, lyrical text is spot on:

Midnight. Stars speckle the darkness with bits of light.   

A cockroach skitters across the kitchen floor to snatch a forgotten breadcrumb. In the backyard, a spider weaves an intricate design on the fence. Winged insects dance and flicker in the porch light. 

In celebration of this book release, author Natalie Rompella stopped by to answer a few questions about her writing process and research. So here we go!

Would you share a little about how you came up with the idea for the book?

Prior to writing this book, I had read a book to my kids about jobs people do at night, and it reminded me how we sometimes picture the entire world sleeping at night. Around the same time, I used to run past a wooden fence covered with spider webs early in the morning. But they were gone later in the day. I was curious what happened to them. I decided to write about what insects and other invertebrates do throughout the day and night.

Did this story have any surprises or adventures on its path to acceptance?

Three drafts into this manuscript, I was stuck. I had put it in a virtual drawer. But then I was given a grant to attend a Highlights Foundation Nature Writing retreat. I debated between two manuscripts to bring and chose this one. The retreat reenergized me to work on it and see it with fresh eyes.

How did you select the particular insects featured in the book?

I have another informational insect book that came out years ago. Sadly, my spread on mayflies did not make it into that book due to page count. As a fan of mayflies, they were one of the first insects I chose to include in The World Never Sleeps.

Since I live in Illinois, I also wanted all of the arthropods (insects, spiders, centipedes, etc.) to be found in the Midwest.

Although I’ve never been a huge fan of house centipedes, I was intrigued to include them in my book. And when I found there were limited (and mostly negative) sources on them, I just had to include them!

Flies were another arthropod that I wanted to portray in a positive light. As some people aren’t aware, they are pollinators.

You worked with insect experts as part of your research. How did you connect and work with so many experts?

I found my experts in many different ways. I used to work at a nature museum, so I have some connections there. I also belong to a FaceBook group on entomology. I sent out a request for experts and found some that way.

I had many specific facts I wanted verified and needed people with a specialty in a particular arthropod. I contacted universities. I read online scientific journal articles and tracked down the authors. Entomologists who didn’t know the answers to some of my questions gave me the name of an expert who might.

If you’re interested in purchasing The World Never Sleeps, it’s available through IndieBound or Amazon.
And here’s a great Activity Guide for the book!
                              * * * * * * * * * * * * * * BOOK GIVEAWAY * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Leave a comment or question for the author on this post, and one lucky winner chosen at random will receive an autographed copy of The World Never Sleeps!
**Update! The winner of this autographed book is Jen Dieleman. Congrats Jen!

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Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at:


  1. I am so glad you spent so much time making sure the insects and night creatures were accurate. Sounds like a wonderful book I will look forward to seeing.

  2. Kim Pfennigwerth

    Looking forward to reading this night time story on what busy insects and smaller creatures are doing! Congratulations on the new book!

  3. I love the combination of lyrical language, lush illustrations, and research-supported interesting facts. It’s encouraging and inspiring to read about the thoughts and work that gave birth to this book. I can’t wait to read it!

    • Every book has such an interesting path to publication, right? Thanks for the kind thoughts. I am currently working on a post about using this book as a mentor text. If interested, join my Facebook author page where I will post it when it’s ready. 🙂

  4. I am inspired by the many ways you collected expert input. And kudos for giving props to underdogs (e.g. flies as pollinators).

  5. Beautiful artwork and lovely word choices. I am encouraged to see works stored in the “virtual drawer” finding their way into the light!

  6. Cindy Schumerth

    These vivid colors are beautiful.

  7. This book sounds so interesting -what a great topic! Looks lush and wonderful. Congrats!

  8. This book sounds fantastic! I cannot wait for it to come out!

  9. I am a longtime fan of Carol Schwartz’s illustrations and of Highlights Foundation workshops. I am eager to become a fan of Natalie and this book! Sounds as though you worked hard, Natalie, and did an incredible job! Kudos!

  10. I love the story of how this book came to be! Thanks for informing and inspiring.

  11. I love this title…can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  12. This sounds very interesting -paying attention to tiny little creatures when we’re not looking should bring great awareness!

  13. Fun post, and fun giveaway! This looks like a great book.

  14. Stacy Digianantonio

    This looks like a lovely book, and that cat is the icing on the cake!

  15. What a unique and fun story. The illustrations are beautiful! Congratulations on a great story.

  16. Congratulations, Natalie! The book is beautiful.

  17. Kudos on the research … which I always find intimidating (even when curious). The book looks beautiful.

  18. Michelle Andersen

    This is a book I’m sure I’ll love. It seems like the perfect book to put in my substitute teacher bag. Kids will love the beautiful language and illustrations. Congratulations!

  19. Danielle Hammelef

    This book is clever right down to the title. I’ve seen many night time books, but this one catches my eye with the illustrations and language. Can’t wait to read this book. Adding to my really want list now.

  20. This sounds wonderful. Definitely checking it out! Thanks for featuring this book, Suzanne.

  21. Wow! I love the look of this book! I worked with some cool entomologists at Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO, and developed a new appreciation for insects and spiders during the 4 years I worked as a gardener there. I can hardly wait to get a hold of this beautiful book and read it to my 2 seven year old granddaughters! Thanks!!

  22. Thanks for sharing Natalie! Even the few facts reviled in this interview are fascinating. I look forward to checking it out!

  23. This book sounds like a winner!

  24. i can’t wait to read it. I’m not a fan of bugs, and am amazed by those who can write about them in lyrical words or poems. I learn so much.

  25. Looks like a lovely book! Bugs are cool 🙂

  26. Congratulations, Natalie, on your lovely book! Every elementary classroom needs a copy!

  27. Oh, my, the story behind the story is every bit as fascinating as the book itself. The moment I opened this post and saw the cover art I had to enlarge the image to confirm that the illustrations are by the AMAZING Carol Schwartz. Her ability to reveal the gorgeous and true nature of even the lushest (or creepiest) aspects of the environment is breathtaking.
    I’d love to win but will also be buying copies to give as gifts.

  28. What a wonderful book idea. love it!

  29. I love hearing about the inspiration and journey behind books. Spider webs on a fence in the morning and not in the afternoon seems such a small observation, but you developed into an informative story. Highlights has been a big help in my writing journey also.

      • Suzanne, thank you for featuring The World Never Sleeps. As soon as I saw your name, I immediately thought of the 4 books I illustrated written by you. I have been very fortunate to be paired with amazing authors like yourself and Natalie. It makes my work so much better when I’ve got a manuscript that is inspiring.

        • Hi Carol, So good to hear from you! When I first learned you were going to illustrate this book of Natalie’s I was so excited because I knew you were the perfect choice for the book! Your nature art is phenomenal. Your illustrations in this book are outstanding as always. Congrats on such a lovely book!

  30. Thanks for sharing how you collected facts to include in your story.
    Love your phrasing – “Stars speckle the darkness with bits of light.”

  31. Wonderful interview. The book looks wonderful as well. Thanks for this post.

  32. Kaitlyn Sanchez

    I love getting that idea that other things happen during the night. Already teaching empathy through seeing various perspectives that you’re not used to. Thanks for the awesome book!

  33. This looks fantastic! And beautiful! Thank you!!!!

  34. My kids will love this one! It will be fun to introduce them to the night world. Also appreciated hearing how much you enjoyed the highlights retreats, I have been hearing a lot about them recently and am interested in attending.

  35. Thanks, everyone, for your positive feedback on my book. I just finished creating a FREE activity guide for the book.

  36. Fantastic! Love the idea of critters at night. Can’t wait to read this and compare to what is awake in the northwest! Thanks for sharing!

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