Vital Statistics:

Born: Neptune, New Jersey, 1938

High School: Asbury Park High School, 1956

College: Connecticut College, 1960

Married: James W. Coste, 1959

Children: Four

Grandchildren: Six

I’ve lived my entire life near the ocean.  My favorite childhood memories are of the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  My first job -- at age 14 -- was selling salt water taffy on the boardwalk.

My family always had lots of books around, and I have always loved to write. When I was in fourth grade, I had a short weekly column in my local newspaper.  I was editor of my high school newspaper, The Megaphone, and my college newsletter, ConnCensus.

I majored in Government at Connecticut College and while I was a student, I met my husband Bill at a Coast Guard Academy dance. We were married just before my senior year, and by the time I was 27, I had four children: two boys and two girls. During his 26 years as a Coast Guard officer, Bill was often stationed on icebreakers, so he spent a lot of time at sea.  At first, I stayed at home with the children, but when they went off to school, so did I.  I completed the credits for my teaching credential at the University of Virginia in 1970.

Our family moved 14 times during Bill’s Coast Guard career.  We lived in Massachusetts, Florida, California, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Connecticut before we arrived in Hawaii in 1982. Bill retired from the Coast Guard in 1985 and went to work as Marine Superintendent for the University of Hawaii.

I taught elementary school in four different states in every grade level from preschool to college. I even taught an Elderhostel class once!  In Connecticut, I stepped out of the classroom for a while and worked as Director of Education at Mystic Marinelife Aquarium. I learned so much about the ocean and its creatures that I was able to create and teach a hands-on marine science program when we moved to southern California.

In Hawaii, I learned a lot about Hawaiian history, culture, and environment working with Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum. I also worked with the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and my last full-time job was with the University of Hawaii. In 1997, another literacy advocate and I created a family read-aloud program called RAP (Read Aloud Program), has served more than 250,000 children and adults on al; the major Hawaiian islands.

The University of Hawaii Pre
ss published my first book, Nēnē, in 1993.  Honu came out later the same year, and Kōlea appeared in 1998.  My fourth and last book in the Hawaii natural history series, The Hawaiian Bat (‘Ōpe’ape’a), arrived in bookstores in 2005. Wild Beach, published on the mainland, also appeared in 2005, and my sixth book, Finding Joy, was published in 2006

I have always loved spending time outdoors – at the beach, on the tennis court, or on the golf course.  Now that Bill and I are both retired, we love to travel. We’ve been to Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, Canada, and many great destinations on the mainland US.  When I’m indoors I like to read, play the piano, sew and crochet, cook, play games and try new crafts.  I practice tai chi,  and I “zumba” and tap dance for exercise.