Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 16, 2022

Book Giveaway: Diving Deep by Michelle Cusolito

Michelle Cusolito has written a new picture book, Diving Deep, and illustrated by Nicole Wong published by Charlesbridge Books. They have agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Michelle and Nicole.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments By Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


What drives humans to dive

into the sea and sink deeper

than the last inkling of light?

We’re wired for wonder.

We delight in discovery.

How do people learn about the

ocean? What machines and tools

do we use for exploration?

Slip under the surface of the sea

to find out.




Below is Michelle about to dive deep.

From snorkeling to freediving, scuba, submarines, and Challenger Deep, discover the different technologies scientists use to explore the ocean in this deep-sea STEM picture book.

How does ocean exploration work? What kinds of machines and equipment help researchers under the sea? How deep can we dive to find out more about the plants and animals that live in the ocean? For fans of Alvin from Flying DeepDiving Deep introduces all the ways humans have figured out how to engage with, explore, and learn from the oceans.


The origin story for Diving Deep actually begins with my first book, Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin.

Once Flying Deep was published, I stayed in touch with Bruce Strickrott, Chief Alvin pilot and Alvin Group manager, who was the primary expert who helped me with Flying Deep. During a social visit, Bruce showed me a pop-up book he bought for his kids that featured machines designed by Leonardo da Vinci. We agreed that a similar book about the variety of ways humans travel deeper and deeper into the ocean would be valuable, so I started thinking about that idea.

The book’s journey wasn’t typical. I already had a relationship with my editor for Flying Deep, which enabled this to happen.

Here’s a bulleted list of the timeline for clarity.

  • June of 2018: my editor, Karen Boss, and I talked over bagels. I told her about my conversation with Bruce. A pop-up book wasn’t practical, so we brainstormed some possibilities. I told her I’d work on a different approach. (Note: Because Karen and I talked about the idea so early on, I always knew that Karen would receive this as an exclusive submission if I could make it work.)
  • It took me about a year to complete the research* and come up with a structure that worked.
  • Summer of 2019: I reached out to Karen and asked if she’d read the manuscript and give me big picture feedback when I felt I had it in good enough shape to share it with her. She agreed.
  • Early September of 2019: I finally sent a draft to Karen. The draft had a different title, which I didn’t love, but I had sent it to Karen for early notes regarding whether the structure was working. I hadn’t spent a lot of time wordsmithing the title. (Original title was, How Deep Can We Dive?) I envisioned the book as a follow-up to Flying Deep, rather than as a companion.
  • Karen didn’t end up giving me feedback because she took it to acquisitions instead.
  • Meanwhile, I was on submission to agents. (My first agent, who submitted Flying Deep to Karen, had left the business). James McGowan of BookEnds Agency offered representation while Karen was taking the manuscript to acquisitions.
  • Karen came with an offer which James negotiated. (The original title is on my contract).
  • Karen gave me notes for what became my first round of edits. In fairly short order, we envisioned the book as a companion to Flying Deep and changed the title to Diving Deep (though the subtitle went through multiple brainstorming sessions). Bruce, the Alvin pilot, completed a quick fact check at this stage.
  • After that first round of bigger edits, Karen and I went through two more rounds and then to copy edits.
  • June of 2021: Illustrator Nicole Wong delivered the first sketches. Karen and I made editorial changes to my text and we rearranged some things to accommodate Nicole’s ideas. We sent everything to the experts for a fact-check, which lead to a few small corrections.
  • October of 2021: Once the final illustrations were completed and the book was fully designed and laid out, we went through a final round of copy edits and sent it to the experts one last time. (And yes, we made some tiny corrections).
  • June 14, 2022: publication day!

*My research started with a conversation with Bruce. Over coffee one day, he suggested the key vehicles I should include. I took notes and used them to jump-start my research. I read books, watched films, listened to podcasts, and researched on the internet. I used all of that research to complete a first (very rough) draft. Then, I learned to scuba dive with my family. An experience I had while on my first dive made its way into the book. Finally, I talked to other experts. I interviewed a freediving instructor and a saturation diver who had lived inside Aquarius Reef Base. All of that research enabled me to write the draft that Karen bought. But my research wasn’t done. As I fine-tuned my text with Karen, I went back the saturation diver to ask more questions. I messaged the freediver to check a detail. I talked to someone who had been down in a Triton submersible. And I emailed someone in the Alvin group to find out how many dives Alvin had been on and how many unique passengers had been down in Alvin since its first dive back in 1964. Finally, while out on an expedition to the North Atlantic with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, I met other scientists who ended up checking my text and the illustrations of fish/deep ocean animals for accuracy.

I’m deeply invested in doing everything I can to make sure that my books are accurate. In all, six different experts reviewed Diving Deep, each of them multiple times, to make sure that the text and illustrations are accurate. In addition to the experts described above, my editor, Karen Boss, is a certified scuba instructor, so she made sure the scuba pages were accurate.

Michelle Cusolito is the award-winning author of Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin and Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean (June 14, 2022).  Flying Deep was a Kirkus Best Book and an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. Michelle recently went on a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research expedition to the North Atlantic where she worked as a Science Communicator and completed field research for a future book. Michelle is also an adjunct instructor in Simmons University’s MFA, Writing for Children.


Michelle Cusolito’s debut non-fiction picture book, Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin, was awarded the PEN-NE Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award and was named a “Must Read” at the Massachusetts Book Awards. It was also on the Kirkus Best Books list and the NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books list. Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean, is her second book.

Michelle’s debut middle grade non-fiction book, Into the Deep Unknown: Exploring the Ocean Twilight Zone publishes in 2023. To write that book, Michelle joined a research team on a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) field expedition to the Porcupine Abyssal Plain in the North Atlantic. As a member of the Science Communications team she helped write daily updates for WHOI that documented the day’s work and also answered questions sent to the “Mail Buoy.”

Michelle is a former National Board Certified Teacher with a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. She later worked as an adjunct professor at Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education for a decade. She taught an important course, Science: Thinking with Evidence. and was the science education consultant for a grant-funded citizen science program at three public libraries titled, “My Own BackYard (MOBY).”

She has worked as a field assistant for a research project in Estación Biológica Bilsa, Ecuador, under the direction of the Principal Investigator at a remote field station in the rain forest. She spent her days capturing and tagging butterflies,d mapping trails in knee deep mud.


Nicole was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, with both parents in the arts—her dad was a designer and painter, and her mom was a fashion illustrator and art teacher.  So when she was a kid she never thought of becoming anything except an illustrator.  She drew constantly as a girl—including on the walls behind furniture, where her mom would find drawings years later. Nicole received her first freelance illustration job when she was 12.

As she grew up she wanted to learn more and graduated from RISD with a BFA in illustration. She still takes art classes to explore different media and techniques, like collage, photography, egg tempera painting, etc. Now, Nicole’s happily a full-time illustrator of magazines, children’s educational and trade books. She continues to live in Fall River with her husband, their daughter, their mean kitty, and two happy pups.

Instagram: @PainterNik9

Twitter: @PainterNik

Michelle, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I love how you found a way to write about one of your passions; diving and exploring the ocean. Some children have parents like you who scuba dive and learn things about the ocean with them, but many children live far away from the ocean and never get to see the ocean. I think they will gobble this up and want to dive deep into this book. I grew up near the ocean, but never was introduced to exploring underneath the water, so this was very interesting to me, too. Nicole’s illustrations are wonderful. They really help tell the story. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I’ve heard Michelle speak about researching and preparing this book; seriously can’t wait to finally read it!


  2. Congratulations, Michelle! I read about this yesterday on the STEAMTeam post, and think I heard you talk about it in a 12×12 webinar a few years ago. What an amazing opportunity.


    • Thank you!
      Yes, I probably talked about it in 12×12. I’ve mentioned it in the book group, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always loved the ocean and beaches, but other than snorkeling, I haven’t explored the deeper depths. Diving deep in a submersible would be a fabulous experience, so reading this book will allow me to explore. I’m an email subscriber and shared:


  4. Cool book! Kids will be fascinated by the technology and the entire undersea world. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve shared:, and tweeted:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  5. Congrats, Michelle! I love FLYING DEEP and can’t wait to ready this new one. I’ve shared to Twitter and Facebook, and I subscribe to this blog.


  6. So much awesomeness, Michelle! I have a grandson who will LOVE this. Are there sharks? That will be his first question. 🙂 Congratulations!

    Kathy, I follow by email and I tweeted this post.


  7. Congrats! My students just love stories of the deep sea and I know they’ll love this one! 💝


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