"I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities." – MARIE THARP

MARIE'S OCEAN has been selected a BEST STEM BOOK OF 2021 by the NSTA and a 2021 NOTABLE SOCIAL STUDIES TRADE BOOK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by the NCSS. These recognitions are a bright light in what has been a very difficult place in time. My father, who died in 2020, did not live to see this honor. He was my biggest fan even when life as a picture book illustrator and writer proved to be less than a fairy tale.  Thank you NSTA, NCSS, and The Children's Book Council.  My father would have been so very pleased and proud. 




NSTA Best STEM Book 2021


NCSS 2021 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People


Junior Library Guild Selection. 


Kirkus Reviews describes MARIE'S OCEAN as "A winning combination of lyric description, accessible explanation, scientific history, feminism, and accomplishment."  

Full Kirkus Review


School Library Journal says: "James provides a deep dive into the STEM concepts and the detailed process that Tharp employed to show the world what lies at the bottom of our oceans. Highly recommended for public and school libraries."

Full SLJ Review


The Horn Book says: "...This empowering, accessible account of Tharp's career serves as a reminder that "sometimes it's hard to convince people to believe something new" –and shows readers precisely how the groundbreaking Tharp did just that."

Full Horn Book Review


More Reviews




Marie Tharp said about her groundbreaking work, "I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities."  I felt similarly when embarking upon my journey to tell her tale.  Tharp's life story is fascinating.  She was the first person to map the ocean floor and discovered the largest geological feature on earth; a rift valley which encircles the entire globe. Her astounding discovery supported the theory of continental drift which led to the unifying theory of plate tectonics. It was not an easy road, and Marie struggled to receive the credit she deserved for her discovery. From Marie Tharp's earliest childhood dreams all the way to her defining achievement, this is the story of one of earth science's greatest hidden figures.


I have been writing and illustrating as JoAnn Adinolfi for a long time and it felt right to move forward into a new chapter of writing and illustrating with a name that gives me strength and confidence, so I combined my parents' names. I hope that all the books I create as Josie James demonstrate joy, humor, creativity, and integrity, and bring stories to life in the best tradition of children's literature. Remembering names and lives well-lived is the joy of story telling.