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Author Terry Pierce remains tied up, busy writing, so I asked a representative spokesbear to answer a few questions about her latest board book, EAT UP, BEAR, published last week by the Yosemite Conservancy. This spokesbear seemed to know a lot about scrumptious snacks.

Good morning, Spokesbear. I understand you’re the representative for the wild bear population of Yosemite.

That’s [chomp, gromp, mmmm] me! I’ve taken over for Yogi and Boo-Boo.

Since Terry Pierce and Nadja Sarell can’t be here today, I’d like you to answer a few questions. I realize human food is pretty tasty, Bear. Can you tell us your favorite people-only food?

Mmm-mm-yum! Bears will eat almost anything that people eat from cheese doodles to hot dogs to peanut butter. We really will eat anything humans leave out for us. But I’ll admit, one of the problems with human food is how they package it. Since us bears can’t unwrap food, we eat the packaging, too, and that’s just not good for us (oh, the tummy aches!).  And once, my cub got her head stuck in a giant cheese doodle plastic jar, trying to get to the last one. Luckily, some kind humans helped her get the jar off her head. I can’t imagine what would have happened to her if they hadn’t rescued her. It would have been un-bearable. If only those humans had stored their cheese doodle jar properly!

But you know that’s not healthy for you, Bear. What’s a good bear-food that tickles your taste buds?

You’re right, human food is tasty. And sometimes, they make it so easy for us bears! Like when they leave it out on a picnic table, or leave their ice chest out. They even leave food in their cars! A locked door won’t keep me from getting to a tasty bag of chips or nuts. Have you seen my claws and powerful arms? And speaking of nuts, that’s a good-bear-food us bears love. Nuts, seeds, grubs, ants, fresh spring grass, berries—yum! Sometimes, I’ll even catch fresh trout for a meal.

That sounds more like it! Hey, maybe you can even tell me about how Terry cooked up this book?

Yes! There’s a story here, so bear with me. In 2018, I was so “scratch-your-back-on-a-tree happy” to hear about Yosemite Conservancy’s call out for a children’s board book (you know, those chunky books meant for your littlest cubs). Well, a writer named Terry Pierce saw the call out and sent them a manuscript about how to store human food so us bears can’t get into it (and then have to eat good bear food). Terry lives not far from Yosemite National Park in the mountain town of Mammoth Lakes, California, so she knows about how to “coexist” with black bears. “Coexist” is a fancy human word that means getting along with someone, and Terry knows the best way to coexist with bears is through proper food storage.

Why is food storage important? Well, us bears are what you’d call “opportunistic eaters.” We’ll break into cars, tents, backpacks, coolers, even homes if we think food is inside. We can really make a mess of things and do a lot of damage when that happens. (My cousin once ripped the door off a car just to get to some peanuts left in sight!) But the bigger problem lands on the bears. When a bear relies on human food so much that he’ll do anything to get some (and cause the kind of damage I mentioned), humans label him as a “problem bear” and that could mean big trouble. Sadly, a “problem bear” will be put down. It’s never happened to anyone in my family, but I hear the stories. So, you can see why I was so happy to see Terry’s new book. It helps little cubs and their families see that their own actions could ultimately save the life of a bear! Proper food storage helps keep all bears eating healthy, good food that nature intended for us to eat. But I do wish that once in a while nature would make it rain hot dogs or jellybeans!

Wow, so this is really an important book, Bear! Thanks so much for letting us savor it!

Hey, I’ve got an even better way for you to get a taste! Yosemite Conservancy will give a book away!


Blog readers, leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be selected later this month!

Good luck!

With twenty-five published books, Terry Pierce has experienced the joys of being a writer in many ways. She has a B.A. degree in Early Childhood Development and an international A.M.I. teaching diploma. Terry was a pre-primary Montessori teacher for twenty-two years before deciding to follow my dream of writing for children (what she calls, “the best mid-life crisis ever!”). She’s been writing since 1999, with her work appearing in magazines and the children’s book market. She has an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, including the Picture Book Concentration certification. She also teaches online children’s writing courses for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Visit her at

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