Thursday, January 30, 2020

American Dirt and The Death of Monarch Activist

I found two news items on my feed today that I found equally disturbing. One was the death of missing monarch activist Homero Gómez González, and the other was the book tour cancellation of American Dirt author Jeanine Cummins due to threats against her life and the lives of booksellers carrying her book. 

What is going on here? No, this is not okay. It is incredibly frightening. 

You might not find these on an equal basis, but they are. Silencing people who we don't agree with or are threatened by is censorship in the worst form. 

We are better than this...aren't we? 


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Researching STEM Kidlit - Welcome Guest Blogger Patricia Newman

Two Friends Who Want to Change the World


     When Nancy invited me to participate in this Behind the Story blog series, I immediately said yes, but I confess I didn’t know which book to write about. She had already featured Eavesdropping on Elephants,  Zoo Scientists to the Rescue, and Plastic, Ahoy! so her readers know many of my backstories. But then I realized there is one back story no one knows, and it centers around a special friendship.

     On a sweltering August day in 2009, I first read about a group of graduate students sailing to the North Pacific Central Gyre (aka The Great Pacific Garbage Patch) to study the plastic accumulating there. As I dug deeper, I discovered the expedition also included Annie Crawley as the official photographer and filmmaker. As the first ripples of an idea for Plastic, Ahoy! gathered momentum, I knew I would not only need the scientists’ endorsement, but Annie’s as well. Annie was as pivotal as the scientists because the expedition traveled 1,000 miles from land. Without Annie, there would be no photos for my book idea.

     I remember rather nervously cold-calling Annie to pitch my idea (which hadn’t yet sold). Already an important ocean advocate and member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, Annie used her cameras to tell the ocean’s story. Her social media feeds (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and YouTube channel are filled with astonishing images and short videos.

     In these early days of Plastic, Ahoy!, few people were even aware of our ocean’s plastic problem, let alone discussing it, so Annie was intrigued by my idea. Well, maybe more than intrigued. “I was full-on in from the get-go,” she says, “because by the time you contacted me, I had already been up against nobody wanting to talk trash [literally]...so I was ecstatic you wanted to pitch a book idea. I knew kids would get it.”

Annie (R) and I met for the first time in the summer of 2014 on the banks of the Puget Sound in Washington.


     As we moved forward, Annie became a valuable partner in telling the story of Plastic, Ahoy! visually. If you’ve read the book, you’ve seen her compelling photos!

     We bonded over the book’s layout, the trailer, blog posts, and sharing our love of the sea. We knew we had to work together again!

     When Annie and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive our Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy!, we already had our next book in mind: Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. While in D.C., we stopped at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park to interview Meredith Bastian, the orangutan scientist featured in Zoo Scientists to the Rescue.

     But that wasn’t all. Next, we traveled to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado and the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. We navigated a Colorado blizzard, were scolded by an angry black-footed ferret, charged by Maku the black rhino, and stayed at Annie’s childhood home in Chicago. We laughed, hoped for good photo weather, shared frustrations, and solved problems as we created the text and photo story together.

 Annie (L) at work on Zoo Scientists to the Rescue in Dr. Rachel Santymire’s (R) lab


     The friendship has blossomed. I’ve met her family; she’s met mine. We’ve presented together at various events, shared news stories about the ocean, and searched for another book idea.

     Which turned out to be right under our noses. Annie’s work as a scuba diver, dive instructor, photographer/filmmaker, and ocean educator/advocate became the foundation for Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean (Millbrook Press, October 6, 2020—available for pre-order on Amazon).

My first scuba lesson with Annie (R).


      In the book Annie and I demonstrate how we are all inextricably linked to the sea—the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. We take a deep dive into three of Annie’s favorite ocean regions—the Arctic, the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, and the waters around Indonesia in the heart of the Coral Triangle—to understand how pollution and climate change affect the sustainability of each region. We also introduce readers to local people fighting to save the ocean. Planet Ocean mixes STEM, current events, and global cultures, with a strong message of empowerment. We want young readers to use their storytelling skills to be the voice of the ocean. (I’m sorry I can’t yet share a cover or a trailer yet—we’re still in production mode! Stay tuned for lots more about Plant Ocean this fall.)
Annie and I interview Meg Chadsey (L) with Washington Sea Grant for PLANET OCEAN


     Meeting and working with Annie Crawley is one of the most satisfying “backstories” of my life. We’re two friends who want to change the world

Annie in her element

   Patricia Newman's books inspire young readers to seek connections to the real world. Titles such as Planet Ocean; Sea Otter Heroes; Plastic, Ahoy!; Eavesdropping on Elephants; and Zoo Scientists to the Rescue encourage readers to use their imaginations to solve real-world problems and act on behalf of their communities. A Robert F. Sibert Honor recipient, Patricia’s books have received starred reviews, Green Earth Book Awards, a Parents’ Choice Award; been honored as Junior Library Guild selections; and been included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. Patricia frequently speaks at schools and conferences to share how children of any age can affect change. Visit her at www.patriciamnewman.com.


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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com Purchase and pre-order autographed copies of Nancy's books here. 


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Australia Burning

Good morning, blog friends!

I'm a week away from a book deadline but have to pull myself away today to write about a place I visited and love dearly -- Australia.

As you all know, Australia is suffering from ravaging forest fires. Homes and lives have been lost. Millions of wildlife have perished. Here are some ways to learn more about the crisis and share Australia with your students.


 Articles you might have missed: 

Aussie Firefighters Save World's Only Groves of Prehistoric Wollemi Pines from NPR

Cats Are Making Australia's Bushfire Tragedy Even Worse from Wired

Australia Wildfires: Hundreds of Koalas Being Treaded As Animals Spotted 'Curled Up and Shut Down' Across Fire-Ravaged Region from Independent

Why These Australia Fires Are Nothing We've Seen Before from NYTimes


Books To Share With Young Readers: 








Ways to Help Australian Wildlife: 

World Wildlife Fund

New South Whales RSPCA

Koala Hospital

Animal Rescue Cooperative




I hope this page serves as a valuable resource as we see how climate change has greatly impacted one region. It's time for climate action. And it's time to pay attention because these stories will just increase if we don't act.


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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Researching STEM Kidlit - Welcome Guest Blogger Anita Sanchez

Happy New Year! We are back with new guest bloggers for 2020 -- the first is Anita Sanchez. 





Research in the Mud

     So there’s this mud puddle. It sits at the bottom of my driveway—a long country driveway that dips in the middle and rises again, and at the lowest point, there’s always this puddle.






In the driest days of August, it’s just a skim of mud. But in spring, the puddle fills with rain, and sometimes threatens to rise over your ankles—it gets deep enough to guard the house like a moat. The Fed Ex folks and mail carriers hate it. People with freshly washed cars hate it. My entire family hates it, and frequently beg me to yield and get the driveway blacktopped already. But I won’t.

     Because butterflies love my puddle.

     In summer, I watch butterflies flittering to the puddle, drawn to its muddy margins as though to a blossoming rosebush. They come to rest, slowly fanning their kaleidoscope wings. As if they were sitting on petals, they uncurl their long tongues and sip—not nectar—but muddy water, rich in the minerals and nutrients they need.

     Another reason I can’t possibly blacktop the puddle is the robins. They splash and fling water over their heads and stretch out dripping wing feathers and wiggle their tails in glee. Honestly, do wild animals ever just kick back and have fun? It sure looks like the robins are purely enjoying themselves.

     Then there’s the skunk. One foggy morning, as I gazed out my office window, pondering a topic for a new book, I saw a skunk daintily lapping from the puddle. Then he stretched, I swear he yawned and waddled off to his den for a nap after a long night of digging beetle grubs.

     All that summer, as I struggled to come up with a topic for a nonfiction book on wildlife, I idly watched the puddle, laced with snail trails, dipped into by dragonflies, visited by toads.
I was trying to think of a creative idea for a picture book. Something about wildlife habitat. I wanted to write about a place that nurtures a broad diversity of wildlife that provides all the crucial components of habitat: water, food, shelter, a place to breed. Should I write about the rainforest, jungle, desert? The bottom of the ocean, the tundra, the Arctic? All those remote and exotic habitats that most kids will never actually see…

     And then I looked at the puddle again.




     So I researched mud puddles. And my search led me to piles of books and journals and websites galore. I learned about the importance of ephemeral pools for amphibian reproduction, and how frequent bathing improves feather quality and enables birds to escape predators better. I read scholarly articles with titles like “Mineralogical and Textural Characteristics of Nest Building Materials Used by Mud-nesting Hirundine Species,” explaining why declines in populations of barn swallows are directly linked to lack of a readily available source of mud for nesting. I read about puddling behavior in Lepidoptera—who knew “to puddle” could be a verb?

     (And in the end, I had way, way, way too much information, and had to make the usual agonizing decision: what to leave out and what to put in. Of course, you can always fit some of the good stuff into the back matter.)

     But in the end, the really crucial research—the research that counted most—was just my idle window-gazing, watching the puddle through the seasons. The book was created out of my own first-hand experience and observation. Every animal mentioned in the text—toad, skunk, butterfly, mud-dauber wasp, snail, deer—I watched as they used the rich habitat of my driveway to find food, water, or shelter.

     That’s the thing with research. You’re always doing research. You just don’t always know you’re doing it.

     My nonfiction picture book Hello, Puddle! is coming in 2021 from Houghton Mifflin Kids. Illustrations by Luisa Uribe.



Anita Sanchez is especially fascinated by plants and animals that no one loves. As an educator for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, she developed curricula for science programs serving thousands of students. Decades of teaching outdoor classes have given her firsthand experience in introducing students to the wonders of nature. She is the award-winning author of many books on environmental science for children and adults.   
Her most recent book is Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, Slime: Nature’s Decomposers.







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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com Purchase and pre-order autographed copies of Nancy's books here. 

Coming in May 2020! 





Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Researching STEM - Welcome Guest Blogger Melissa Stewart

Delightfully Disgusting Research





The story behind my upcoming book Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses) traces back to a three-week research trip I took to Africa in 1996. During the safari, I watched with fascination as a mother black-backed jackal upchucked her partially-digested dinner to feed her three feisty pups. When the little ones had eaten their fill, she scarfed down the mushy leftovers.  



The next day, while observing a gerenuk standing on its tippy-toes as it ate, our guide told us that it’s one of more than 150 mammals (including cows) that regurgitate their food and re-munch their lunch as many as four times. It’s their way of eking every possible nutrient from the tough plants they eat.

Right then and there, I started making a list of animals that vomit their vittles as a survival strategy. Over time, I added more than a dozen insects, birds, and mammals to that list. 

But why stop there? I also made lists of creatures that use poop, pee, spit, snot, and other bodily substances in the most surprising ways. Eventually, I had more than enough information for a 100-page book. 

Photo: Satoshi Kuribayashi/Nature Production/Minden Pictures

One of my favorite examples is the bombardier beetle—an insect that blasts enemies with a scalding spray that bursts out its butt. I observed the insect in action during a class I took at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, many years ago.

In March 2018, an article in Science News led me to an amazing video of a Japanese common toad vomiting an African bombardier beetle drenched with gooey mucusFor 88 minutes, the tenacious insect fought for its life by blasting the toad’s insides with nasty, sizzling-hot spray. 
PhotoShinji Sugiura
Finally, the toad couldn’t take it anymore and spewed its supper. After a brief rest, the slime-covered beetle slowly crawled away.

You know you’ve chosen one of the world’s best professions when watching something so weird and wonderful is a legitimate part of your job!

Available in June 2020 wherever books are sold.

Observational research—whether it’s in person, through videos, or via webcams—is one of my favorite parts of being a nonfiction writer. It’s also one of the best ways I know to gather tantalizing tidbits that can transform a piece of science writing from okay to outstanding. 




And the good news is that young writers can do this kind of active, engaging, self-driven research just as easily as I can. Why not let them give it a try?


Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 nonfiction books for young readers, including Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses, Seashells: More than a Home, and Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs. She maintains the Celebrate Science blog and serves on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board of advisors. Melissa’s highly-regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources. www.melissa-stewart.com
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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com Purchase and pre-order autographed copies of Nancy's books here.


Coming May 2020! 



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Researching STEM Kidlit - Welcome Guest Blogger - Carrie Pearson

FIVE STEPS TOWARD RESEARCHING THAT WHICH YOU CANNOT SEE -- AND NEVER WILL 
I grew up climbing trees. If I was nowhere to be found, my family knew to look for me in the sugar maple in our backyard. I hauled up my knobby kneed self by grabbing a limb close to the ground, then pulled, pushed, and shimmed higher and higher until I’d found the perfect crook in which to read my book of choice. Ah, bliss.
So it was no surprise I was drawn to a special tree -- this time, a coast redwood -- as the subject for my third nature book. 




But this ecosystem is a bit different.  
Coast redwood branches begin growing far off the ground so it’s impossible to grab a limb and haul oneself up into a tree. Instead, tall tree researchers stand at the base of a coast redwood and shoot an arrow with a line attached toward the lowest branch. Hopefully the line loops over the limb, falls to the ground and can be leveraged with mountain climbing carabiners to haul the researcher up, up, up. 
However, I’m not a tall tree researcher. And, as I’ve, um, matured, I’m less fond of heights. To make matters more difficult, I knew I would not be allowed to visit the main character in my manuscript -- the tallest tree on earth.  
To guard it from even well-meaning people like me, this is tree is protected and its location is kept secret. Even if it wasn’t, finding it in the midst of the 131,983 acres of Redwood National and State Park would be an extreme undertaking at the very least. But I was smitten with the life story of this tree. 
So, here we are at the title for this blog post. How does a writer of true stories research that which she cannot see and never will? 

Step One: choose a topic for which your passion knows few bounds. Somewhere inside, I knew I’d get there. Don’t ask me how I knew this but my need to create this book for children was as big as the tree itself.
Step Two: Begin with inquiry. I drew up list of questions that I felt I would need to answer before I knew enough to write the book. The who, how, when, where and why’s would guide my research. 
Step Three: Find the experts. I searched for people who had experienced the tree firsthand. I read and watched everything these people had shared in every format possible. Thankfully, the secondary research troves were deep. When I began to find the same answers for my questions, even though I approached the questions differently, I was ready for the next research step.
Step Four: Ask for help. I wrote and was awarded an SCBWI research grant to visit the Park because I knew other’s experiences could take me only so far. Even though I wouldn’t see “my” tree, I’d enlist all my senses to get as close a feel for it as I could. Fortuitously, the Park paired me with a guide, Park Ranger James Wheeler, who had spent 30 plus years in that world. 




Step Five: Stop researching and listen for the story. Mr. Wheeler’s insights, other experts’ knowledge, combined with my redwood forest immersion, allowed me to begin to hear the narrative for STRETCH TO THE SUN: FROM A TINY SPROUT TO THE TALLEST TREE ON EARTH
Even though I’d never seen the tree and knew I never would, in a way, I had. 







Carrie A. Pearson is a children’s book author, consultant, speaker, and former teacher. She is a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a member of several literacy-focused organizations, and the recipient of the Gwen Frostic Award for Literacy given by the Michigan Reading Association. She is the author of two informational fiction picture books, A Warm Winter Tail and A Cool Summer Tail (Arbordale Publishing) and a narrative nonfiction picture book, Stretch to the Sun: From a Tiny Sprout to the Tallest Tree on Earth (Charlesbridge), a Eureka! Award recipient for outstanding nonfiction given by the California Reading Association. A picture book biography about medical trailblazer, Dr. Virginia Apgar, launches fall 2020 with Norton Young Readers. A picture book anthology about unexpected women who are changing the world will be announced soon. Carrie would love to connect with you on Twitter @carrieapearson, Pinterest carrieapearson, and through her website www.carriepearsonbooks.com.
For more about STRETCH TO THE SUN and the path to its publication, visit this page on her website: http://www.carriepearsonbooks.com/stretch-to-the-sun-picture-book.html



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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com Purchase and pre-order autographed copies of Nancy's books here



Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Researching STEM Kidlit - Welcome Guest Blogger - Jennifer Swanson

When Primary Research Isn't Available


     If you were to ask a bunch of nonfiction authors who write for kids what the most important part of writing is, many would say accurate research. Yes! Everything we put in our books MUST be true. The easiest way to get the best research is to visit the places you are writing about. Go to the museum, the laboratory, the forests, and see what is there with your own eyes. Listen to the scientists talk about things. Perhaps even participate in some of the discussions. Sounds like a great plan.
     It is…when that opportunity is available to you. The thing is, I write a lot of books about science and technology. (STEM and STEAM is what I LOVE!)  But these topics don’t always lend themselves to primary research opportunities. Take for example, my book, Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact by National Geographic Kids. 



      This book takes the reader on an amazing journey from the deepest trenches in the oceans to the farthest humans reaches of space. Readers experience the same thrills and dangers that both deep-sea and space explorers worry about: extremes in pressure, temperature, climate, and most importantly, how to survive in a remote and hostile environment. 
     Visit the International Space Station (ISS)? Or dive down to visit Aquarius, the only underwater research lab in the world? Count me in! 
     Well, (of course) that didn’t happen. I didn’t have a couple of years in the publishing timeline to go to astronaut training. Nor, did I have time to get scuba-qualified. So, since I couldn’t go up in space or down in the ocean, I looked to the next best thing—people who actually did. 
     Normally, tracking down experts is something that is not that difficult. You just have to find their emails and email them. Typically, if you tell them you are writing a book for kids, they are happy to  help. The problem this time was finding astronaut emails. Not as easy as you would think. The astronauts that are still active duty are not allowed to be interviewed unless you go through the NASA PR office. That is a hurdle in an of itself because they may not get back to you quickly enough for the deadline. What’s a writer to do?
    Never give up! The first place I started was Aquarius. I went through page after page of the specs of the underwater research lab, then through article after article of people who went down there. Finally, I tracked down a real-live aquanaut, Dr. Brian Helmuth. Bonus! He is a professor at Northeastern University so he had a “real” email. I contacted him. He was happy to help, AND he knew others who would be, too.
     That’s the thing. Once you get a foot in the door, don’t hesitate to ask the expert if they know of anyone else you should interview. If they do, most likely they will give you an introduction and/or their email and you are IN! Brian just happened to know Liz Magee (a female aquanaut) and Fabien Cousteau, head of the Mission 31 program and also the grandson of Jacques Cousteau (my childhood hero). Liz was onboard right away. Fabien, well, that took six months of polite emails asking for him to participate. Brian, for his part, was reminding Fabien, too. Just when I was about to give up, Fabien’s assistant emailed me to set up a phone call with him. Yes. I was going to speak to Fabien Cousteau! Talk about a fan-girl moment. Fabien was really wonderful. We spoke twice and I actually got to meet him in person, too. 

Me with Fabien Cousteau and Liz Magee 


     Back to NASA. How did I get a few astronauts? I googled everything I could think of about how to find astronauts. Along the way, I found two NASA engineers who were working on the Mars mission. I had found two more experts – one who agreed to be the content expert. My husband had been in an MBA program with an astronaut, I contacted him. Then, I was able to get another astronaut’s email address from a colleague. Finally, I had all my astronauts. 
     The best part was, in the end, I was able to not just add the real-life experiences of these amazing pioneers, but also added in a foreward by Fabien Cousteau and Kathryn Sullivan (the first U.S. woman to walk in space).  Since this wasn’t in the original proposal, my editor was thrilled with all my extra work. 
     I feel that this definitely added to the accuracy of the book, and also, hopefully piqued the interest of the readers to see what real people have done in the world. I encourage all writers to get primary sources and do primary research when you can. If you can’t, IMPROVISE! 😊
    Do I work this hard on all of my books to get experts? Absolutely! But I do have to say, in one of my upcoming books, I did have things a little bit easier. I was lucky enough to do a primary research visit to CERN. This is me, in the ALICE detector. Pretty cool, huh? 

Find out more about Jennifer and her books at http://www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com

And discover her latest -- Save The Crash-test Dummies !

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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Researching STEM Kidlit - Guest Blogger - Mary Kay Carson

Mission to Write a Book About Pluto


Kids love Pluto. When I’m giving an author visit presentation about the solar system at schools and question time comes around—half of those hands in the air are attached to students asking something about Pluto.

So when the first-ever spacecraft to Pluto finally launched in 2006, I knew I wanted to write a book about it. Fortunately, I had 9½ years to figure it out. Pluto is 3 billion miles away. The robotic probe spacecraft New Horizons wouldn’t reach the (then) farthest planet until mid 2015. 

Full disclosure, I’m a bit of space geek. Space stuff is all just so cool—spacecraft dodging the rings of Saturn, telescopes that see back in time, lakes of methane on Titan, etc. And I’ve been writing about space for kids since (gulp!) 1991 when I worked at Scholastic’s SuperScience magazine.

But back to Pluto. By the time New Horizons was closing in on its target, I’d written a few books in Houghton Mifflin’s Scientists in the Field series. So, I successfully pitched a Pluto book to my editor there. Late in 2013 myself and my photographer husband Tom Uhlman had contracts. Now all we had to do was make it happen. 




Writing about real time stuff can be tricky. The manuscript deadline was August of 2015, a month after the July 2015 scheduled arrival of New Horizons at Pluto. The plan was to get the book out as soon after the (hopefully successful) mission happened as possible. What that meant in practical terms was that I needed to write most of the book before a spacecraft actually visited Pluto.

New Horizons’ is headed up by planetary scientist Alan Stern. He’s Pluto’s #1 fan, one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World, and a very busy person. When I contacted him about the book project, he suggested focusing on the team of scientists, instead of just himself. That seemed great as it’d give some depth to the book to have women and people from other nations featured. Plus, in truth, I’ve gotten burned on book projects that rely on a single person, so was happy to have eggs in multiple baskets.

There was a complication, however. “Team New Horizons” doesn’t live in one place. The (ongoing) mission is based out of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHAPL) in Laurel, Maryland. That’s where the engineers and operations people are. But Alan Stern and some of the other planetary scientists are at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. Others are at the University of Colorado as well as the SETI Institute in Silicon Valley, California. And some of the press conferences surrounding the Pluto flyby would be held at NASA in Washington, D.C. Can you say logistics?

The team would be together in Maryland at JHAPL for the Pluto Flyby event in July of 2015, of course. But that would be too late to get interviews and photos of folks at work, a requirement of Scientists in the Field books. Plus we weren’t even sure early on whether we’d get press passes to the flyby event. Thankfully, we were able to crash a meeting of the New Horizons science team in Boulder in the fall of 2014. We got great photos of scientists explaining their research. (Check.) And I got some facetime with scientists. 


In early 2015 I traveled to JHAPL in Maryland to meet with some operations people and have a tour of mission control. (Check.) Between then and the Pluto Flyby in the summer, I followed up with telephone interviews with the individual team members. All this added up to getting credentialed for the Pluto flyby event! (Check!) Plus now that the team members featured in the book knew us, we had a bit more access to them than we would have had otherwise. 




Being at the New Horizons Pluto Flyby event made all the logistics and hard work worthwhile. The press pass still hangs on my bulletin board! It was so exciting to be in the auditorium with scientists and reporters from around the world as the very first ever images of Pluto’s surface came in. Wow! 

And the book got written, too. (Check!!) It’s called MISSION to PLUTO: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt.













Mary Kay Carson is an author of nonfiction books for young people and a STEM Tuesday blogger. Her book Alexander Graham Bell for Kids received a 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize. 
     She’s written six titles in HMH’s acclaimed Scientists in the Field series,including The Tornado Scientist(2019). www.marykaycarson.com






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Nancy Castaldo has been writing about the planet for over 20 years. Learn more about her award-winning books at http://www.nancycastaldo.com

Coming this spring! Pre-order now! 

American Dirt and The Death of Monarch Activist

I found two news items on my feed today that I found equally disturbing. One was the death of missing monarch activist  Homero Gómez Gonzále...