The researchers in the book spend countless hours at sea. Can you tell readers about your own research for this title?
I interviewed each scientist for several hours, studied up on the scientific terminology surrounding ocean plastic, watched expedition photographer Annie Crawley’s gorgeous videos of the expedition, and read everything about ocean plastic that I could find, both online and in print. It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized I had chosen three female scientists, which lent an element of “girl power” to an already powerful STEM concept.
Did you experience any challenges in writing this book?
Every book I write comes with its own set of challenges. For me, the hardest part of any nonfiction project is deciding which format is best suited to my story. I chose a narrative format for two reasons—the plastic floating in the ocean is mysterious and that sense of mystery lent itself to storytelling. At the time I wrote the book, we didn’t know much about ocean plastic. The expedition was the epitome of the scientific method at work because the scientists went to sea armed only with questions. They didn’t know what they would find. The second reason I chose a narrative format was because I wanted to include specific information about each of the three wonderful scientists that I met. These women love science and I knew their passion would not only engage young readers, but hopefully interest them in science.
Plastic, Ahoy!’s message poses another challenge. The process of research and writing this book changed the way I look at the ocean and how the products I buy affect it. One of my goals in writing the book was to build a strong case for cleaning up our oceans and rivers and showing readers how to become more ecologically responsible. Now that readers are interacting with PLASTIC, AHOY! I hope they will change their own habits and help spread the message.
Annie is tireless in her defense of the ocean. She’s a noted ocean speaker, a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and the CEO of Dive Into Your Imagination. Annie runs dive camps for kids and photography camps for any age. I am so lucky to have her photos grace Plastic, Ahoy! and we look forward to working on another project together (we have two ideas we’re currently considering).
This book hits on some important core curriculum standards. Any suggestions for using it in the classroom?
What’s next for your readers?
Thank you, Patricia! This has been great. Plastic Ahoy! is a must for classroom bookshelves. It seems like this topic appears again and again in the news. Thanks for providing readers with a good resource!
Find out more about Patricia's books at http://www.patriciamnewman.com