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Hello and welcome to my website!


My name is John Cayden and I write, design and illustrate books by hand for young readers based on my love of ecology and the amazing life on our unique planet. During COVID I decided to leave my long career as a museum exhibition designer/developer and curator, and embrace my passion as a licensed and degreed environmental education specialist. I was inspired to make this move because educating little ones about our world is one of the most rewarding and good works to be done. Educating as many of the future protectors of the plants, animals, environments and ecosystems that make this world unbelievably special is my number one mission in life.


Please join me in celebrating the diversity of life on the little rock in space we call Earth.

Information about my ecology books for children, along with weird stuff like my portfolio of hundreds of museum works, are available within. Feel free to get in touch if you have any comments, questions, suggestions, fan art, or just want to say hello or add yourself to my mailing list for upcoming notices about new book releases.  I would be more than happy to hear from you and I would love ideas to make my future books better.


I could use some help getting the good word out on social media - because I'm getting old and I suck at it.

My number one wish would be to have professional representation of my copyrighted and trademarked works


Note to publishers/agents: My newest work CORA is currently unpublished and looking for a publisher/agent, hopefully taking my other works away from the suppression of Amazon. Please note if helpful that I own my ISBNs, URLs, email address, copyrights and trademarks.

Thank you for your support!

-  John Cayden

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Dancing Squirrel Brown
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burrowing owl
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Bobcat copy
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Baby Fox
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An undersea tour of corals
with Cora the little shrimp

This yet unpublished children's book beautifully highlights over twenty types of coral found in coral reefs around the world. The book aims to educate early readers about the diversity, structure and uniqueness of coral species and their unique ecological niche, while sparking imagination and curiosity about the vast and amazing diversity of ocean life and the underwater nurseries we call reefs. Scientists who study corals are working hard to understand and protect these important life forms as the ocean waters become warmer. This book puts differing coral species together with a fictitious little pink shrimp by the name of Cora. With coloring pages. 

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My First Winter on the Prairie



This is the story of Puff, a small groundhog who lives in the grasslands of North America. Puff recounts his first twenty days of winter by watching the other animals around him prepare for the coming of a long, cold season after experiencing the joy of a beautiful, hot summer and a cool colorful fall. Clues to their preparations are not only in what he sees them doing, but what he sees them eating and the small changes to their bodies he is witnessing as the fall of the first flakes of snow touch his nose.

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This children's picture book is an illustrated story about Wilton, a small chipmunk who lives on the edge of a large wet, wetland near a small city. Some big winds came with a storm and knocked over his home, which was nestled in the hollow of a tree. To his surprise and delight, the other creatures who call the wetland home and call Wilton a friend, bring him all kinds of found and collected materials they offer up to help Wilton make a new home at the edge of the cool fresh water.

Now available in hardback and paperback. 

Home in a
Wet Wet Land

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This favorite children's picture book is an illustrated story

about Rocket, a small Kangaroo Mouse who made his home

on a busy path in the beauty of the high desert. Other animals come and go, mostly in the evening and during the night-time when the air cools in the moonlight. Rocket learns a little about each of the animals by watching and listening to them as they move along in their evening search for water, friends and food. Now available in hardback and paperback.


Look for me on TIKTOK at


and my fun line of apparel, T-shirts and home accessories at


Thank you for your interest, your comments, your support and your help.  

Best regards - I wish you all health and happiness and fun reading!

Matthew Forsythe Kate Messner

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