Florian the Fly Flies to Florida

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About the author

Petra Szmykowski-Britton

No one could ever guess that the inconspicious fly was really someone very special.  Born in Briedel, Germany during a summer that was cold and rainy, Florian the fly decided to head to Florida, a place that was full of sunshine, warm weather, beaches, and palm trees swaying in the ocean breezes.  He couldn't go on this adventure without the help of someone  who really was an enemy of flies.  But sometimes you just have to take chances, trust your instincts to make friends of the most unlikely characters.  The story resonates with my experience of being an immigrant who moved here as a young child with my mother and stepfather.  Just like Florian, I didn't speak English, yet I had to go to school right away.  I had to make friends, accept new customs, and work hard to succeed in my new home.  That is why writing this story, in both English and German is very important to me.  My mother never wanted me to forget my native language.  She brought along many children's books, continued to speak German to me, and made sure we maintained contact with our family back home.  Years later I became a foreign language teacher, as well as a science teacher.  The book is based on the premise that we keep a part of our culture when we live in a new country, and we use that knowledge to appreciate the differences we experience.  We use our native language skills to decipher the new language.  As a science teacher, I realized early on that we need a connection to nature, its ecosystems, as well as animal and plant species as a means of appreciating the outdoors. That helps us become better stewards of our lands.  This story begins the saga of Florian, who becomes a hero, and sets out to help other insect species who have been displaced, or are threatened or endangered. Wherever he travels, he learns about the history of the country, seeks out important cultural places, and makes new friends. Each adventure is written in English and the language of the insect or animal he helps.  And, he never does it all alone.  He forms lasting friendships here and abroad to make his mission possible.