Creative Team

About the Creative Team

Written as a mix of fiction and true events from the author’s own life, Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert (Nina Story Books, LLC), written by Carol Hageman and skillfully illustrated by Nathaniel P. Jensen, follows Bubby, a desert tortoise, from the moment a young girl lifts him out of a shoebox and sets him down in his special grassy habitat for the first time. The habitat becomes the site for Bubby’s budding friendships with other desert animals. As these unlikely “pals” learn to work together for the benefit of the group, Bubby realizes how brave he can be.

About the Creative Team


Carol Hageman – Author

Wildlife always fascinated Carol Hageman. She grew up playing outdoors and doing chores on the family farm in Vincennes, Indiana, an area rich in flora and fauna. Also as an adult in Henderson, Kentucky, she became interested in birds, for it was home to John James Audubon in his young career. When Carol decided to write the story of a tortoise in Bubby’s Puddle Pond: A Tortuga’s Tale of the Desert, she drew on some of the real-life behaviors she had witnessed. She wanted to pass along her lifelong curiosity and enthusiasm to today’s young readers – many of whom may never have seen an animal in the wild. “I realize now how special it was to be raised on a farm. It gave me a greater appreciation and love of nature that I hope other children can experience,” she said.

Hageman learned floral design early on while living in Indiana and later opened a florist shop in Henderson, Kentucky. After the birth of her daughter, Erin – whom the book’s main character is named after – she sold the shop and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. She became a volunteer to a teacher at Erin’s school, tutoring second-graders in reading and then helping them write their own “first” books.

Now living in Tempe, Arizona, with husband Bernie, Carol decided it was time to write Bubby’s Puddle Pond and complete a long-time dream. In her free time, she practices yoga, rides horses and is a Master Gardener.


Nathaniel P. Jensen  – Illustrator

Nathaniel P. Jensen is an illustrator, designer, animator, muralist, and fine art oil painter. Having freelanced for 25 years, he has painted murals on buildings as high as 60-feet tall, animated for feature films, and illustrated for newspapers and magazines nationwide. He enjoys playing around with children’s book ideas and has created illustrations for more than 20 children’s titles. Learn more at www.natepjensen.com.


Conrad J. Storad – Editor

Conrad J. Storad is an award-winning author and editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults, including Monster in the Rocks, Gator, Gator, Second Grader (Classroom Pet…or Not?), the “USA Best Book” Rattlesnake Rules, and the ONEBOOKAZ for Kids 2012 selection Arizona Way Out West & Witty. He holds an undergraduate degree in mass media communication from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in mass communication/science journalism from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Storad resides in Ohio with his wife, Laurie, and their rescue wiener dog, Frankie. Learn more at www.conradstorad.com.


Jean Kilker – Curriculum Guide Writer

­­­Jean Kilker, M.A. (English), M.Ed. (Technology), NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), taught language arts, reading and science. She is a teacher-librarian and a co-chair of the State Teacher-Librarian Organization. Kilker is a past Follett Librarian of the Year. She also teaches and writes curriculum at the university level for continuing teacher education in ESL, elementary language arts, reading and librarianship. Also, Kilker has received grants and awards, currently with ASU/Verizon for coding, that benefit the students where she teaches.  A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Kilker lives in Litchfield Park and keeps in touch with her three world-traveling children.


Story Monsters LLC – Book Producer

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence with book production, marketing, and promotion. From publishing the award-winning Story Monsters Ink® magazine to providing Publishers Support Services in areas such as editing, cover design, and publicity, you have come to the right place. A place to tell your story.