Mary Boone speaks to Lambert Elementary students about her latest non-fiction book, “Bugs for Breakfast — How Eating Insects Could Help Save the Planet.”

A 1981 graduate of West Delaware returned to Lambert Elementary, Oct. 8, to speak to students about insects as a source of protein for a rapidly growing world population.

The book, “Bugs for Breakfast — How Eating Insects Could Help Save the Planet” is the latest non-fiction book by Mary Boone. Boone has written 60 books, all for children and all non-fiction.

Now living in Tacoma, Wash., she was in Iowa to speak at the Iowa Library Association Conference in Des Moines, before returning to Manchester to speak to students at Delhi Elementary, St. Mary’s and Lambert.

“It’s fun for me to speak to kids and get them excited about books and also about non-fiction,” she said. “I think non-fiction has a reputation about being boring and I like to create non-fiction that will wow them with facts and have them run home to tell their parents or grandparents ‘you’re not going to believe what I learned today.’”

Boone’s foray into bugs as food began nine years ago on a trip to Vietnam with her daughter. “She and I agreed we would try new things. For her, that meant cauliflower. I saw a bug kabob and thought that was about as new as I could get, so I tried it.”

After Boone returned home, she began to delve into who eats bugs around the world and what kinds of bugs are eaten as food. She discovered one out of four people in the world eat insects as a source of protein.

“There are 2,100 insect species eaten as protein in 113 countries,” she said. “We have such a growing world population, we have to figure out some other way to feed people. With the world population expected to double by 2050, we don’t have the room to raise twice the number of beef cattle or hogs. Bugs take up a lot less space.”

Boone said she received encouragement on her writing when she was a student at Lambert.

“I wrote a paper for Mrs. Velma Swanson and she wrote on it, ‘I hope you do something with your writing talent.’ I was in third grade and that was all it took, all I needed and I decided this was something I could do.”

Boone was editor of The Inklings in high school before attending the University of Iowa where she studied journalism, eventually landing a job at the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

“I made the switch to books about 20 years ago,” she said.

Boone said she eats insects as part of her diet, but not every day. “I might have them in something I’ve made once a week. This is just about getting people to have an open mind.”

Boone’s books are available on Amazon as well as at independent book stores.