Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

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May 3, 2024

Cicada Coloring Book using Vintage Cicada Illustrations

Filed under: Books | C.L. Marlatt | Community Science — Dan @ 9:58 am

Charles Lester Marlatt is the most well-known Magicicada researcher of all time. He spent the late 19th and early 20th-century researching periodical cicadas and establishing the location of their broods. Marlatt is responsible for the concept of broods and the name Magicicada (he thought the cicadas were Magical).

The illustrations contained in his publications make excellent decorations that you can color and make crafts with.

Download a free PDF of Magicicada illustrations that you can print out and color and festoon around your house or classroom.

Cicada Coloring Book


More cicada activities:

April 29, 2024

The Cicadas of North America Book

Filed under: Books | North America (Continent) — Dan @ 8:11 pm

There is a new cicada book emerging in August or September of 2024 called The Cicadas of North America Book by the author and illustrator Chris Alice Kratzer.

You can pre-order it online.

Cicadas of North America

February 28, 2024

Cecily Cicada, a cicada book for kids

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (2/28/2024): looks like there’s a 2024 version of Cecily Cicada: Cecily Cicada: Special Double Brood Edition.

Cecily Cicada 2024

There’s a new version of the book Cecily Cicada by Kita Helmetag Murdock & Patsy Helmetag for 2021. Some of you might remember the original version with the purple cover. Look for the mini-interview at the end of the article.

A delightful book, written by a mother/ daughter before the 17-year cicada emergence of 2004. They wrote it to ease the insect anxiety of their 3-year-old granddaughter/daughter when they learned the cicadas were coming. It tells the miraculous life of a special 17-year cicada named Cecily in an endearing way. Beautifully illustrated and fun. Patsy Helmetag has re-illustrated the original edition for a bright new look for the cicada emergence of 2021.

Cecily Cicada 2021 cover
Here is a Q & A with the authors of the book by Kita Helmetag Murdock & Patsy Helmetag:

Q: What inspired you to write a book about a cicada?

Kita: My mom and I originally wrote Cecily Cicada in 2004, when the Brood X cicadas were about to emerge in Washington, D.C. My then two-year-old daughter was terrified of all bugs, and I was terrified of how she would react when her world was suddenly full of them! We were driving to visit my sister in North Carolina that spring when we had the idea to write a book to ease her fears. Without anything to write on (and without smartphones – times have changed!), we started by writing the first lines in rhyme on the back of a cereal box. By the time we returned home from the trip, we knew we had a book that we wanted to share with all the kids who would be experiencing the cicadas that spring. My mom made the illustrations, and we put the book out into the world. We updated the book for the 2021 Brood X emergence.

Q: Has anyone approached you to make your book into an animated cartoon?

Kita: No, but we wish someone would! It would make a great animated short.

Q: What changes have you made for the 2021 edition of your book?

Patsy: I had so much time during covid that I decided to update all of the illustrations. The new version is brighter and more detailed. We also changed the male singing cicadas to a boy band, from a barbershop quartet, to make them more youthful.

Q: Have you written any other books?
Patsy: I have also written The TransAm Grannies Bicycle Across America and Slothy and Nomi. This past year, during quarantine, I illustrated and co-wrote Squeakestered with my 12-year-old granddaughter.

Kita: I have also written two middle-grade fiction books, Future Flash and Francie’s Fortune.

February 1, 2024

New Brood XIX and XIII Cicada Book by Dr. Gene Kritsky

Filed under: Books | Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:14 am

Cicada researcher and communicator Dr. Gene Kritsky has a new book about Brood XIX and XIII which are both emerging in the spring of 2024: A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX

Other posts about Dr. Gene Kritsky on this site:

  1. An Interview with Gene Kritsky
  2. Gene Kritsky’s new cicada site and Brood XIV news
  3. Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition by Gene Kritsky
  4. Gene’s App: Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

January 29, 2024

Cicada Madness, a new cicada-themed fly fishing book

Filed under: Books | Fly Fishing — Dan @ 9:50 pm

Cicadas are a favorite food of fish, so anglers use lures that emulate cicadas. When there is a large emergence aka “hatch” of cicadas, it can drive the fish into a feeding frenzy, which anglers take advantage of.

There’s a new book called Cicada Madness by author Dave Zielinski that focuses on “timing, fishing techniques, and patterns for cracking the code of epic emergences”. The book features images by myself, Roy Troutman, and others. The book is 164 pages long and features 39 pages of fly patterns.

cicada madness

November 8, 2023

Cicadapocalypse a graphic novel about periodical cicadas by Roger McMullan

Filed under: Books | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 11:32 pm

Roger McMullan has a new graphic novel about periodical cicadas called Cicadapocalypse. You can obtain a copy from Roger’s online store.

As I understand it, “the book is intended as an introduction to periodical cicadas for curious kids during a cicada emergence by creating a fictional narrative around the cicadas rather than hitting them over the head with facts”. A cicada emergence through the eyes of some shocked and surprised cartoon squirrels.

It looks fun to me.


October 5, 2022

Searching for Cicadas by Lesley Gibbes and Judy Watson

Filed under: Australia | Books — Dan @ 7:13 pm

Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. This one is fantastic! Searching for Cicadas by Lesley Gibbes (author) and Judy Watson (illustrator) tells the story of a grandparent and grandchild and their love of searching for and listing to cicadas. The book is set in Australia and features excellent illustrations of Australian species like Double Drummers, Floury Bakers, and Green Grocers. If you’re a library in the New South Wales area or a parent with a kid who loves cicadas, you should own this book. I live in the United States, and I had to import it. Worth every penny. The illustration is accurate and stylish and unique — a fantastic color palate.

The front cover:
Searching for Cicadas

Inside illustrations:

November 29, 2021

2021 Cicada Gift Guide

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 12:50 pm

No matter what you celebrate — Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, graduations, Treat Yourself Day — cicada-related items are a great gift! At the end of 2021, I’m sharing cicada gift-related ideas, here and on social media. Check back for more tips.

The Season of the Cicadas by Les Daniels

The Season of Cicadas is the best general book about North American cicadas in print.

Season of the Cicadas

A photo guide to common cicadas of the Greater Sydney region by Nathan Emery

This is the best book about cicadas found in Australia in print. Get it from this website.

A photo guide to common cicadas of the Greater Sydney region

Cicadas of New Zealand by Olly Hills

This is the only book about the cicadas of New Zealand that I know of. Get it from this website.

Cicadas of New Zealand

Headbone Brood X Notebook

Many will remember the Brood X cicada emergence. How about a souvenir of the emergence and a useful notebook? Check out headbone’s Brood X notebook.


Sue Fink’s Cicada Suite

Sue Fink’s “Cicada Suite” features 2 songs about cicadas on an adorable cicada-shaped flash drive. Irresistible!

Sue Fink

Cicadas!: Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle. This book is good for kids, well-illustrated, and covers annual cicadas so it’s good any year.

Cicadas Strange and Wonderful by Laurence Pringle illustrated by Meryl Henderson

Cecily Cicada: 2021 Edition by Kita Helmetag Murdock and Patsy Helmetag

Cecily Cicada is a fictional story for kids about a cicada named Cecily. It is a perennial favorite.

Cecily Cicada 2021 cover

Each day I’ll add more gift ideas here.

May 16, 2021

Cicada Symphony Book

Filed under: Books — Dan @ 10:04 pm

Just in time for Brood X, here’s another cicada book for kids: Cicada Symphony by Lisa Kobman.

I haven’t read the book, so I cannot give my opinion. Lisa says she consulted with Gene Kritsky when writing the book.

Here are some details from

This book is the perfect learning tool for teaching children about cicadas. It explains the complicated and fascinating life cycle of the 17-year cicada (Brood X) in a way a preschooler and elementary-aged child can understand and connect with. Children will be drawn in by the beautiful, vivid illustrations, humor, and compelling storyline. The rhyming language should help ease anxiety about these amazing bugs and could even inspire a sense of wonder and excitement about cicadas for children and adults alike. It is the perfect addition to your science/nature collection. Don’t be surprised if after reading this book, readers of all ages head outside to check out the cicadas!

Cicada Symphony

May 10, 2021

The Cicada Olympics: Engaging Kids in Live Insect Activities

Filed under: Books | Community Science | Magicicada — Dan @ 10:49 am

Hey! There’s a new cicada book out for Kids. Looks fun. The Cicada Olympics: Engaging Kids in Live Insect Activities. by Cynthia ‘Cindy’ Smith, Ph.D. & Richard Grover. It is available on Kindle or Paperback from Amazon.

About the book:

With two periodical broods set to emerge this spring, now is the perfect time to start planning educational events and activities that celebrate this fascinating natural phenomenon. The Cicada Olympics book is packed with 14 easy-to-implement engaging activities, student worksheets you may copy, and sample letters to parents, providing you with everything you need to organize successful cicada events at parks, schools, neighborhoods and communities. From interactive games and races to exoskeleton exploration, these activities are designed to spark curiosity, promote learning, and foster deep appreciation for these gentle giants.

The Cicada Olympics book offers a comprehensive toolkit designed to help you create a fun, informative and memorable experience for learners of all ages. 62 pages.

Cicada Olympics

An interview with the author:

1) Why did you decide to create a book about periodical cicadas? Please tell us more about the book.

In 2004 I hosted a highly successful school Cicada Olympics event where kids rotated through 12 activity stations with their own personal cicada. It was magical! To start, each child decorated a small wire-handled takeout food container and then selected a male or female cicada, which they named and carried to all the events. Kids were laughing, cheering, comparing with friends and learning. I was encouraged by the teachers, parents and volunteers to capture the activities in a book so that that other parents, educators and youth leaders could easily recreate them. The book details all the materials needed and ways to teach, even if you’re terrified of bugs. For example, a STEM engineering challenge is detailed, where kids build a small boat which they ‘race’ across a kiddee pool with their cicada as captain.
Periodical Cicadas are the best teaching tools. They’re big, slow, they don’t bite and they mostly stay put while you hold them. Kids tell me that if you stare into their pointy faces, they kind of look like they’re smiling. My goal in writing the book was to help youth leaders, educators, parents, and guardians to easily put on an educational event or engage children in individual activities with cicadas. In addition to examining anatomy, mimicking calls with kazoos and building pyramids out of exoskeletons, integrating cicadas into learning activities is an awesome way to help kids become very comfortable with insects, retain a great deal of life history knowledge and have more awareness about insects’ roles in the environment.

2) How did you become interested in periodical cicadas?

Since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with insect and animal behavior. I remember as a 2nd grader, collecting loads of ladybugs and moths in a metal coffee can and (much to my mother’s horror), releasing them in my bedroom to show her how I ‘trained’ them all to fly to the windows. For my master’s degree, I focused on bird behavior, working on projects ranging from seagull feeding behavior in landfills to bowerbird displays in Australia.

I love the intrigue of the periodical cicada life cycle. What exactly are they doing underground for 13 or 17 years? Just sucking on tree roots seems rather boring to me. Are they communicating with each other? “Hey, are you going to the big party in the trees? I can’t wait!” Do they interact with the grubs and centipedes underground? Do they ever sneak up to the surface years too early, check out the aboveground scene and then go back down to wait? I have observed stragglers coming out in their ‘wrong’ year and quickly getting carried away by birds.

3) Which was the first cicada Brood you experienced, and where did you experience it?

Brood IV near Manhattan, Kansas while I was attending Kansas State University working on my Wildlife Biology degree. I’ve experienced Brood X in Northern VA in 2004 and 2021.
One evening in May 2013 when Brood II emerged in the woods near my home in Virginia, I sat, my back against an old beech tree, as 100s of nymphs crawled out of their soil tunnels. Nymphs crawled up my shoes, up my legs and when they reached my bent knees – the highest point, they turned around a few times and then crawled back down to the ground to find a better ‘tree’.

When I brought neighborhood kids to witness the emergence, at first, they were squeamish and squealing as pairs of tiny toes touched and tickled their legs. Once the children got comfortable and noticed how determined the cicadas were to walk upwards, (and that the insects did not care one iota about them), the wonder questions flowed like floodwaters: Do you think he likes me? How high will they climb? Are their red eyes full of blood? Can they see me? Can I take them home as a pet? That would hurt me if my back split open, does it hurt when they molt? Can they still breath when they molt? What are those white hairs in the shells? etc…
Emotional experiences like this are unforgettable.

4) Are you interested in other types of cicadas? Are you interested in other types of insects?

Yes! I always anticipate the songs of the annual cicadas. I love how they crank up the volume on hot summer days. I’m very interested in insect-plant associations. I strategically plant flowers in my yard for insect observation and photography. Today for example, I watched small bees (Ceratina species) clearing out tunnels in last year’s elderberry stems.

5) How are insects and other smaller creatures (frogs, turtles, birds) useful in engaging and educating young people about their local environment?

Experiences with live organisms are memorable. Last week at one of my environmental education programs, 7th graders were collecting data on water chemistry in a stream. While testing the water, they spotted a dragonfly nymph molting on a stem. Immediately, all the children crowed around to watch. When they met up later with their teachers, none of them discussed the amount of dissolved oxygen they recorded, but all of them chattered about the bald eagle that flew by, how the dragonfly cracked out of its exoskeleton and how cute the baby turtle was that they held.

When I train K12 teachers and ask about their most memorable science experiences, most smile and share stories about farm trips, raising rabbits and chicks, finding a box turtle, holding a snake and visiting public aquariums.

6) How can parents, guardians, and teachers educate young people about insects and their local environment? What types of resources should they look for?

Take your kids outside and often. Examine the different plants on your playground, in your yard and under your feet. Visit parks, nature preserves, wooded areas, meadows, streams, and the ocean. Join tours with naturalists. Visit the same natural spaces again and again and notice what has changed. Scheduling enough time to listen to insects and birds and watch their behavior. Encourage your kids to ask questions and wonder. You don’t have to have answers for them. The most important thing is to value their observations skills, honor their discoveries and ask them questions about what they are seeing, such as: How do you think this plant/insect/animal got here? What might it have looked like last week? What might it look like next week? Do you think anything eats this? This will build critical thinking skills.
Identification apps like iNaturalist, Seek, and Merlin are good, but… frequently, I see nature conversations end the second someone identifies the plant or insect. Skip the apps for a while and let children observe, describe and sketch what they see without checking to see if they are ‘right’.

7) Tell us about your role as professor of Environmental Science & Policy?

As instructional faculty at George Mason University, I teach undergrad and graduate courses covering topics such as Stream Bioassessments, Heat Island Impacts, Ecology of Climate Change, Sustainability, product Life Cycle Assessments and more. Because Mason is located close to Washington DC, I host members of congress, state delegates and lobbyists into my classes to give students authentic experiences with policymakers focused on environmental issues.

8) Tell us how Environmental Science & Policy matters to the community (“everyday people”):

Much of what the public hears about the environment and climate is doom and gloom which can lead to eco-anxiety. I like to highlight success stories, empower my students to select problems they want to solve, and to understand all stakeholder viewpoints, because environmental issues are rarely two-sided. In our local neighborhoods for example, native plant proponents want residents to reduce their lawns, plant natives to encourage more insects and let the oak-hickory forest return. But opponents ask, “Where will the kids and dogs play? What if my family is allergic to bees?” All stakeholders have valid points. Crafting policies that support all residents go a long way in building positive communities.

9) Tell us about your role as Outreach Director for the Potomac Environmental Research & Education Center (PEREC):

PEREC is a research Center at George Mason University. My colleagues’ research topics span aquatic and fisheries ecology, microbiology, invertebrate invasions, environmental chemistry, sustainability and coral reef diseases. My role is to translate their research into hands-on public programs, exhibits and tours. With my part-time student staff we deliver ~ 60 days of watershed education programs directly reaching over 7000 youth per year. I also train 100s of K12 teachers on ways of Teaching Kids Outside, while still meeting their required learning objectives.

10) What is one (or more) thing the average person can do to help improve the health of their local environment?

Consider outdoor spaces in neighborhoods as essential ecosystems. Plant, plant, plant! Add native plants, shrubs and trees to your yard or plant in pots if you have limited outdoor spaces. These will attract insects, which in turn feed birds and pollinate plants.
My son, for example, lives in a concrete urban city where it’s challenging to have access to outdoor planting spaces. His neighbor drops routinely seeds into alleyway crevices, next to dumpsters, and along building/sidewalk cracks. Sunflowers, corn, as well as native and annual flowers pop up randomly throughout this urban area. You can build up biodiversity almost anywhere.

11) Do organizations like the PEREC communicate and share ideas with similar organizations around the country and world.

Of course! Our faculty all have webpages and social media sites.

Your audience can follow my research team at:
Instagram: @perec_gmu
X (Twitter): @PEREC_GMU

You can follow me on:
Instagram: @drcindysmith
X (Twitter): @cindyloohoo9
My Website:
LinkedIn: LinkedIn

Thank you for checking out my book, The Cicada Olympics – Engaging Kids in Live Insect Activities

Description of the book from Amazon:

This book, by Cindy Smith, Ph.D. and Richard Groover, Ph.D., will equip you with age-appropriate information to make this a fun learning opportunity for your children. The authors have made the learning activities streamlined and easy to implement for individuals and groups. Within these pages, you’ll find: 13 fun cicada activities with instructions and materials list, parent and volunteer information, cicada jokes, pictures, and online resources

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