Jemma's Got the Travel Bug

Schiffer Publishing 2010

When the young diamondback terrapin, Jemma, gets bit by the travel bug, she has no idea what dangers await her after she leaves her quiet cove and ventures into the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  Scary boat propellers and hazardous crab pots are some of the threats Jemma must confront in this fast-paced picturebook.

Suitable for grades K-5, Jemma’s Got the Travel Bug, illustrated by Kelli Nash, both entertains and educates. This fact-based story, with 16 watercolor illustrations, highlights the real dangers facing the diamondback terrapin in coastal ecosystems from Massachusetts to Texas. 

To order, contact:  or

Book Reviews--

Washington Parent, August 2011

By Mary Quattlebaum

The diamondback terrapin is the state reptile of Maryland, the mascot of the University of Maryland—and now the star of a charming picture book by Maryland author Susan Glick. Glick adroitly weaves facts into her fictional tale of Jemma, a terrapin who wanders far from her Chesapeake Bay cove to “explore deeper waters.” Jemma’s adventures include many of the dangers that now face real terrapins—crab traps, boat propellers, loss of habitat. Jemma’s happy return home allows Glick to educate young readers about the tidal creeks, marsh grass and mud flats of the reptile’s unique environment—all captured in glowing artwork by Maryland illustrator Kelli Nash. Additional information and a glossary in the back make this book a shoo-in for classroom units on reptiles and the Chesapeake Bay.


By Midwest Book Review
February 2011
"Jemma's Got the Travel Bug" is a beautifully illustrated story about a young diamondback terrapin from the Chesapeake Bay who decides to become adventurous and follow her friends the eel and the osprey to deeper waters. Becoming hungry, she gets entrapped in a baited crab pot and is picked up by a whiskery fisherman, who tosses her back into the ocean. Life in the big ocean is a bit harder for Jemma than she had expected, and there are many things about her little cove of Chesapeake that she misses. Finally she finds an inlet shoreline that looks inviting and paddles in, meeting a friendly fellow diamondback named Speck. Jemma and Speck find food and pleasant habitat together, and they winter in a nice, mucky creek bed. Many interesting facts about diamondback turtles are included at the end of "Jemma's Got the Travel Bug," including common threats or dangers to the species, plus definitions of terrapin terminology. "Jemma's Got the Travel Bug" will interest children ages 4 and up. Related titles by the same publisher are "Osprey Adventure," and "Chickadee & the Whale, a Baby Chickadee's Adventure".


Washington Parent, July 2011

By Karen Kullgren

A Terp with the Travel Bug

When a young diamondback terrapin leaves her quiet cove and ventures into the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay, she faces hazards like scary boat propellers and crab pots. Local mom

(and University of Maryland alum) Susan Glick wants kids to read her picture book Jemma’s Got the Travel Bug and then “care about this turtle and want to protect it.” The book has a section in back where readers can learn more about the habitat, lifestyle and environmental threats to the diamondback. Beautifully illustrating the story are watercolors from Kelli Nash.