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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - July Interview with STEAM Team Books Members

Today I have the pleasure to introduce you to five authors from the STEAM Team Books – a group of authors who joined together to celebrate and help promote their STEAM books. I promise, it's not too long a post. I do hope you enjoy this peek at these great books and fascinating creatives.

"STEAM Team Books is a group of authors who have a STEM/STEAM book releasing in 2021. It includes fiction & nonfiction, trade or educational books.”

Welcome everyone,

Tell us a little about yourself. (Where/when do you write? How long have you been writing? What is your favorite type of book to write? What drew you to STEAM books?...)

Todd Sturgell Except Antarctica (Sourcebooks 7/6/2021) – From about 6 years old, I knew I’d either be an artist or a paleontologist. I chose artist but I still draw a lot of dinosaurs! In college I studied design and advertising and there was a strong focus on the value of concept – the big idea. That’s where I learned to write and the value of economy in writing.

I write and illustrate in the finished basement of my house. We live on a hill, so the basement has glass doors that allow some light in. The walls are lined with bookshelves and I’m doing my nest to fill them with kid lit!

My early love of dinosaurs was also my introduction to STEM subjects – as I’m sure it is for many children. I just never grew out of it. There’s a direct line from a messy, first-grade, crayon drawing of Triceratops to an illustration of a certain turtle with questionable judgement for Except Antarctica.

[Debut Author/Illustrator.]

Melissa Stewart Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme (Beach Lane Books 7/6/2021) – Many writers know what they want to do from a very young age, but I never considered writing as a career option until a college professor suggested it. Up until then, I didn’t even know writing was a job. No one I knew was a writer, and my school didn’t host author visits. I’ll always be very grateful to that professor for seeing a talent in me and letting me know.​​

I do most of my writing in a spare bedroom in my house. My husband leaves for work at 5:45 a.m., so that’s when I start to write. When I get stuck, I stop to take a shower. Something about the steam and running water frees my mind, and I usually solve the problem. After lunch, I switch my focus to researching, planning school visits, and taking care of business tasks. I stop working at 4:30 p.m., so I can start making dinner.

Rachel Carson once said, “Science gives me something to write about,” and I couldn’t agree more. I enjoy writing at a variety of different levels, from board books to books for adults, but grade 3 is really my sweet spot.

[Author of more than 181 books, including Summer Time Sleepers (4/27/21), Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses (2020), Seashells: More than a Home (2019), A Place for Turtles, Second Edition (2019), Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs (2018), Can an Aardvark Bark? (2018),A Seed Is the Start (2017), Wolverines, National Geographic Readers (2017), Droughts, Let’s Read and Find Out Science (2017), Pinocchio Rex and Other Tyrannosaurs, Let’s Read and Find Out Science (2017), Predator Face-Off (2017), Feathers: Not Just for Flying (2014), and No Monkeys, No Chocolate (2013).]

Alison Pearce Stevens Rhinos in Nebraska (Henry Holt & Co. 7/20/2021) – I started out as a biologist. Although most researchers are drawn to devising ways to answer pressing questions, I strongly preferred the end of the process: writing up what I had done and discussing why it mattered. I’m also intensely curious. I want to know what, how, and why about everything, so it wasn’t easy for me to stick with one research topic when there were so many other interesting things to learn about! When my husband got a job overseas in 2006, I had to leave that world behind. But I have always loved teaching and realized I could continue to share cool science with kids through writing. I got serious about writing for kids in 2010. Since then, I’ve published 150+ articles in addition to the books I’ve written and co-authored.

I do my best writing in the mornings. I usually get a cup of coffee, sit down in my office, and work for a good hour before I pause for breakfast and exercise. I’ll keep writing with frequent breaks to get up and move around until early afternoon, at which point it’s time to switch gears. I might do research or work on other projects that don’t require the same kind of creative thinking.

I’m passionate about our natural world, and my favorite topics are usually those that deal with nature or some aspect of science that’s tied to nature. Although I’ve tried my hand at everything from picture books to young adult, I really gravitate to middle grade.

[Author of 5 books, including 5.000 Awesome Facts (About Everything)(2016), Weird But True Sports: 300 Wacky Facts about Awesome Athletics (2016), Weird But True!: Ripped from the Headlines 2: Real-Life Stories You Have to Read to Believe (2015), Weird But True!: Ripped From the Headlines (2015).]

Jen SwansonThe Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick (Black Dog & Leventhal 7/20/2021) I have been writing almost all of my life. I started creating books when I was in kindergarten. Throughout my life, I’ve kept journals. Mostly observations of things that have happened to me in my life and things I’ve found interesting. I started writing professionally about 12 years ago.

I typically write on my laptop or my desktop in my office. I feel most at home writing and researching there as that is where I’ve written almost all of my books. My writing day consists of getting up, having breakfast, and being in my office by around 8:30am. I work pretty much all day consistently until 5pm. I may stop to exercise or walk my dogs, but that is how I work for most of the week.

My favorite type of books to write are the ones about engineering and technology. I love learning! I have loved science my whole life. After all, I started a science club in my garage when I was 7 years old. My goal when I’m writing is to find a unique and exciting way to present my topic. Something that is natural, but unusual, like my book Save the Crash-test Dummies, which is the story of car safety engineering told through the lens of a crash-test dummy.

[Author of 46 books, including - Outdoor School: Rock, Fossil, & Shell Hunting (4/27/21), Everything You Need to Ace Chemistry in One Big Fat Notebook (2020), Beastly Bionics: Rad Robots, Brilliant Biomimicry, and Incredible Inventions Inspired by Nature (6/2020), Spies, Lies, and Disguise: The Daring Tricks and Deeds That Won World War II (2019), Save the Crash Test Dummies! (2019), Absolute Expert: Dolphins (2018), Pearl Harbor (American Girl: Real Stories From My Time)​ (2018), Building With Poop (Power of Poop) (2018), Astronaut Aquanaut (2018), Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai (2018),and Dr. E’s Super Stellar Solar System: Massive Mountains, Supersize Storms, Alien Atmospheres, and Other Out-of-This-World Space Science (2018).]

Azadeh Westergaard - A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla (Vikings Books for Young Readers 7/27/2021) - I have been writing all my life but started pursing writing professionally in the past few years. I often work in cafes, writers co-working spaces, and my favorite… in bed, after the family is fast asleep.

My main areas of interest are picture books, middle-grade fiction, and personal essays. I love the research process and tend to incorporate my findings in both fiction and non-fiction projects. I am a very curious person by nature and find the natural world an immense source of inspiration.

[Debut Author.]

What is something no one (or few) knows about you?

Melissa Stewart - When I was in the Costa Rican rain forest, I nearly stepped on a deadly fer-de-lance snake. [Yikes! Glad you didn't.]

Alison Pearce Stevens – I worked at a waterfowl farm one summer and have been attacked by all kinds of birds while feeding them, from a six-foot-tall trumpeter swan protecting his young to a feisty little white-backed duck to a spur-winged goose (their spurs can be poisonous—I had to be rescued from that one!). [Wow!]

Jen Swanson – I love sports of all kinds and grew up playing pretty much every kind of sport you can imagine. My brothers and I spent hours in the backyard playing baseball and also shooting hoops in our driveway. In grade school and high school I ran track, played softball, and basketball.

Azadeh Westergaard – My kids always know when there is a severe storm alert in the forecast because that’s the one and only time I buy them the comfort snacks of my 80’s childhood…HoHos, Twinkies, and Hostess Cupcakes!

Now that we know a little more about all of you, what inspired you to write your book?

Todd Sturgell Except Antarctica (7/6/2021) - Anyone who enjoys learning about animals and the natural world has heard the phrase “…found on every continent except Antarctica.” I was watching a documentary about owls when the phrase popped up – it was in that moment I thought, “what if these animals decided to buck the system and travel to Antarctica?”

Melissa Stewart Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme (7/6/2021) – This book was inspired by a single paragraph in The Life of Mammals by David Attenborough. It explained how a half dozen species of guenon monkeys can all live together in the forests of Africa because they have different lifestyles and habits. As I was reading this passage, I immediately thought of the fun poem “10 Little Monkeys” and wondered if I could create a nonfiction version with facts about this group of monkeys. That idea didn’t work out, but it eventually led to Fourteen Monkeys, which is set in Manú National Park, a rain forest in Peru.

Alison Pearce Stevens Rhinos in Nebraska (7/20/2021) – I worked at the University of Nebraska State Museum for two years helping to creating an entire of floor of exhibits about Nebraska’s history. That’s where I discovered there used to be rhinos, three-toed horses, and camels running around in what’s now my backyard. It was a mind-blowing moment and I realized it would make for a gripping nonfiction book for kids, especially since there are hundreds of intact fossils of those animals jumbled together in one spot right here in Nebraska. I had the benefit of working with many of the researchers who worked at Ashfall Fossil Beds, and the fossil beds themselves are just a few hours from my house, which made research easy.

Jen SwansonThe Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick (7/20/2021) It only seemed natural that I’d write a book about science and sports, two things that have been a huge part of my life. One of my favorite science is physics and since that is the basics of sports, well, it was a really fun book to write!

Azadeh Westergaard - A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla (7/27/2021) - In graduate school, my advisor suggested I work on a picture book biography involving animals. I had always been intrigued by Nikola Tesla’s collection of autobiographical essays in his book, My Inventions. So, I googled “Nikola Tesla and animals” and stumbled across a treasure trove of articles about his passion for pigeons.

So interesting how a snippet, a moment, or a passion can be the impetus for a book. Who was a favorite/special author, illustrator, and/or favorite book as a child?

Todd Sturgell – I still have my copy of Where the Wild Things Are from childhood and I read it to my kids when they were young. I spent hours and hours with Max on that just-scary-enough island.

Melissa Stewart – I was deeply saddened to hear about the recent death of Eric Carle. As a child, I loved, loved, LOVED The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I still have my well-worn copy on the bookshelf in my office.

Alison Pearce Stevens – My two favorite books were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Wrinkle in Time. I checked them out from the school library so often the librarian eventually told me I had to leave them for other kids to read. My grandparents had bookshelves that covered an entire wall of their basement filled with nothing but National Geographic magazines that I explored every time I visited. They really opened my eyes to the world.

Jen Swanson – I was a HUGE fan of the Nancy Drew books. I read every single one of them, probably twice. I also loved Harriet the Spy. If it was a mystery, I read it. I read a lot of nonfiction books, too. I have this huge urge to learn things!

Azadeh Westergaard – I loved Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. I even memorized my favorite poem, which was about a little girl who pretends to be sick so she doesn’t have to go to school. Ezra Jack Keats’ Snowy Day was also a favorite.

What a great range of favorite books. Is there anything special you want your readers to know about your book ?

© Todd Sturgell, 2021

Except Antarctica (7/6/2021) - [Note: the narrator's interactions with the 'rule-breaking,' adventuring animals are really funny. ]

Melissa Stewart Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme (7/6/2021) – Only scientists with a special permit can visit Manú National Park, but I was fortunate to see—and hear—close relatives of three monkeys included in Fourteen Monkeys during a family trip to Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. In the photo below, you can see me (left) on a rain forest trek with my intrepid mother-in-law.

Each morning, howler monkeys awoke us with their long, loud, bellowing calls. Later in the day, we often saw spindly spider monkeys swinging through the trees.

One day, while my husband, brother-in-law, and niece took a siesta, my mother-in-law and I hopped into a canoe and headed up a local waterway. We saw frogs, turtles, a caiman, and all kinds of waterbirds. The pièce de resistance was an adorable capuchin monkey. For about 10 minutes, it sat in a tree less than 10 feet above us and casually snacked on a red, feathery pachira flower.

My experiences in Tortuguero allowed me to see firsthand how rain forest layers act as microhabitats, and to get a strong sense of how monkeys move through the forest and interact with one another. [What an awesome experience!]

Text © Alison Pearce Stevens, 2021. Image © Matt Huynh, 2021

Alison Pearce Stevens Rhinos in Nebraska (7/20/2021) – I think people often think of science as just a bunch of facts, but it’s not—it’s a process of asking and answering questions, then asking new questions, and honing our understanding of something over time. One of the things I tried to do in Rhinos is show how that process works, as well as demonstrate how we know what we know. Sometimes scientists have hypotheses that turn out to be wrong. It takes time and patience to reach a point at which we have what we can consider “facts.” [It's fun to watch the scientists piece together what they find and what they know to surmise what happened.]

© Jennifer Swanson

Jen SwansonThe Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick (7/20/2021) This book is meant to be used, not just read. It is chock full of activities to get readers not only learning about sports and science but experiencing it. So pick up the book, grab a ball, and get moving! [And it is so fun and engaging!]

Text © Azadeh Westergaard, 2021. Image © Júlia Sardà, 2021

Azadeh Westergaard - A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla (7/27/2021) – Nikola Tesla was a born scientist and in my research it became imminently clear that while the companionship of pigeons certainly reminded him of his fondest memories from childhood, their care and feeding also offered endless scientific inspiration and experimentation. [He was so curious and creative.]

What was the hardest, or most challenging, part of writing, or researching, your book?

Todd Sturgell Except Antarctica (7/6/2021) – As a debut author, it all seemed so daunting. But the biggest challenge was finding the right illustration style and character design to match the personality of my characters. My agent, Molly O’Neil, really pushed me to get Turtle just right.

Melissa Stewart Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme (7/6/2021) – Initially, I was having trouble keeping the fourteen monkey species in the book straight. I kept having to doublecheck their characteristics:

Which one was it that eats tree sap?

Which species sleeps with their tails twisted together?

Which one is nocturnal?

To solve this problem, I decided to make monkey flashcards. I printed out photos of each monkey, cut them out, and glued them to index cards. Then I wrote out a quick list of the monkey’s notable characteristics on each card.

These mini cheat sheets worked great, but then I realize I could also place them on a large table and move them around to experiment with different ways of organizing the text. Trust me, it’s SO much more fun than cutting and pasting text in a computer file.

Because Fourteen Monkeys has four key categories of information—diet, body size, height in the rain forest, and characteristic behaviors, it was easy to get bogged down in all the details I was trying to include. Luckily, the index cards helped me stay focused, and the act of sorting them helped me with pacing and text structure.

I knew from the start that the book would have a compare and contrast text structure, but as I was sorting the cards, I realized I could embed a sequence text structure too. Following the course of a rain forest day—morning to night—gives the book a more satisfying flow.

Alison Pearce Stevens Rhinos in Nebraska (7/20/2021) – I sold the book on proposal and then had a looming deadline to finish writing it. Unfortunately, I had a terrible time writing at home, because it was so easy to find distractions (laundry to do, dogs to walk). Around that time, my son started learning to skateboard. When I took him to skate school on Saturday mornings, I brought my laptop and my folders of research notes. Something about the constant background of wheels zipping down ramps and shouts of encouragement helped me focus, so I owe a huge debt of gratitude to The Bay for allowing me to use their space while they taught my son this new skill.

Jen SwansonThe Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick (7/20/2021) Actually, this book wasn’t difficult for me to write. As I said, I know a lot about sports, having either watched or played them all of my life. I suppose the most difficult thing was maybe choosing which types of sports to highlight. I know pretty much all of them.

Azadeh Westergaard - A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla (7/27/2021) - Finding archival materials that focused on Tesla’s genuine interest in animals and birds, rather than the usual unflattering caricature studies describing him as nothing more than a kooky old man feeding pigeons in the park.

So, how are you each staying creative? What things are you doing to “prime” the well?

Todd Sturgell – There’s no substitute for finding and reading good books. I like to supplement this literary diet with a healthy serving of nature documentaries and STEM related travel destinations. With the pandemic easing up, I finally got to go fossil hunting in Utah!

Melissa Stewart – I was in a writing rut over the winter, but spring seems to have re-set my brain. Right now, the ideas are flowing, and I’m truly grateful.

Alison Pearce Stevens – For me, getting outside into a natural area works wonders for freeing a stuck mind. It’s so easy to get sucked into a screen, but I find that really limits my imagination. When I can go for a walk in a park or sit in my yard watching summer snow (cottonwood fluff) drift by, I come away with all kinds of new ideas and ways of tackling tricky topics.

Jen Swanson – I am never without another idea. I wish there were more hours in the day to write! I have lists on every computer I use, notebooks filled with ideas, and even send texts to myself about new topics I find intriguing. Everywhere I go I see STEM, so my brain is constantly thinking of new ways to talk to kids about it.

Azadeh Westergaard – I started my professional career as a graphic designer and illustrator but set those interests aside to focus on writing. These days, I am enjoying dipping into drawing and painting again as a way to warm-up and brainstorm book ideas. In an ideal world, I’d love to both write and illustrate my own books.

Great ideas! Are there any upcoming projects that you are working on now that you can share a tidbit with us?

Melissa Stewart – Yes, I have a book called Tree Hole Homes coming out in 2022 with the uber-talented illustrator Amy Hevron. This image from Amy’s website provides a sneak peek of what you can expect visually.

Alison Pearce Stevens – I have another middle grade nonfiction that will be out in 2023, but I can’t give any specifics on it just yet.

Jen Swanson – At the moment, I’m working with a team of scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago on a book. It is about how they work with the people of the Amazon to help protect their land by recommending it be turned into national sanctuaries or parks. This book should come out in 2023 and will be published by Charlesbridge Publishers. I am also always working on my science podcast for kids, Solve It! For Kids is a great way to get kids interested in STEM careers by listening to real scientists, engineers, and experts as they chat about the awesome things they do in their jobs.

Azadeh Westergaard – I am working on a picture book biography about an Iranian artist, as well as a fictionalized middle-grade novel based on the life of an eccentric 19th century painter and her many pets.

We're going to have to keep our eyes open for these books. If you could meet anyone (real or literary), who would that be?

Melissa Stewart Rachel Carson. I think we’d have had a lot to talk about.

Alison Pearce Stevens – I’d like to meet N.K. Jemisin and Madeleine L’Engle. They’re both so gifted at taking scientific concepts and weaving them into gripping sci-fi tales. I’d love to learn how they do it.

Jen Swanson – There are so many scientists, engineers, and experts that I’d love to meet, so this is a tough choice, but I would be honored to meet Dr. Sylvia Earle or Dr. Kathy Sullivan. They are hugely inspiring pioneers in both of the fields of ocean and space.

Azadeh Westergaard – Nikola Tesla, of course!

These are such interesting choices! What is your favorite animal? Or one you are enamored with right now. Why?

Todd Sturgell – At the moment I am fascinated by the Helicoprion. A prehistoric fish with what might be the strangest jaw in the animal kingdom, past or present. Its bottom jaw grew in a tooth-lined spiral and it has been confounding paleontologists for decades.

Melissa Stewart My favorite monkey in Fourteen Monkeys is the Goeldi’s monkey. I was delighted that Steve Jenkins chose to feature it on the cover. Here’s a sneak peek at the spread about these adorable critters.

Alison Pearce Stevens – At the moment, Tasmanian devils. I’m writing about them for a Science News for Students story, and they’re utterly adorable.

Jen Swanson – I have always loved koala bears because they seem so soft and furry. And they are from Australia, one place that is definitely on my to-visit list!! I would also add that I love panda bears. They are so furry and cute. I’d love to visit them in their homeland as well.

Azadeh Westergaard – I have been living in the country this past year and one of the highlights has been the rare traffic jam due to wild turkeys crossing the road. I find the experience utterly charming and have grown quite fond of my new feathered friends.

NOW, let me take a moment to introduce you to these amazing STEAM books!

Synopsis: Turtles are found on every continent EXCEPT Antarctica. But not for long!

When a David Attenborough-esque narrator explains that turtles are found everywhere except Antarctica, one determined turtle sets out to prove him wrong. After recruiting other non-Antarctic animals along the way―much to the narrator's dismay―the turtle and his adventurous friends travel through fields, forests, and cross an entire ocean to reach their goal. But what exactly do they do once they get there?

Perfect for anyone who's ever gone a little too far to prove a point, this nature-documentary-gone-wrong is a gleefully funny lesson in determination and the beauty of having a contingency plan.

With a wonderful "can-do" attitude, a turtle gathers a number of determined animals to prove a narrator wrong. They are going to be the first of their kind in Antarctica. Full of snappy dialogue and humor that will have kids chuckling while inadvertently learning about these animals and Antarctica. Fun trading card-like factoids and back matter on Antarctica, climate change, and a call to action round out this enticing STEM picture book.

Synopsis: Travel to a tropical rainforest where fourteen species of monkeys live in harmony in this playful, fact-filled book from award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins.

In Manú National Park in Peru, an amazing fourteen different species of monkeys live together. That’s more than in any other rainforest in the world! How can they coexist so well? Find out in this lyrical, rhyming picture book that explores each monkey’s habits, diet, and home, illustrating how this delicate ecosystem and its creatures live together in harmony. From howler monkeys to spider monkeys to night monkeys, young readers will love getting to know these incredible primates and seeing the amazing ways they share their forest.

Melissa Stewart's done it again! Using an ingenious combination of rhyming couplets, a conversational bit of expanded text, and an inset canopy image with each monkey's preferred location in the lush Manú forest in Peru, she makes it fun to learn about these monkeys. Steve Jenkins' beautiful cut paper illustrations and double -page spread of the forest canopy with all the monkeys, combine with the awesome back matter to create a wonderful STEM book that will appeal to many ages and provide treasures to uncover with each subsequent read.

Synopsis: Twelve million years ago, rhinos, elephants, and camels roamed North America. They would gather at nearby watering holes―eating, drinking, and trying not to become someone else’s lunch. But one day, in what we now know as Nebraska, everything changed. The explosion of a supervolcano a thousand miles away sent a blanket of ash that buried these animals for millennia.

Until 1953, when a seventeen-year-old farm worker made an unbelievable discovery.

Rhinos in Nebraska tells the story of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, where more than two hundred perfectly preserved fossils have been found. Step into the past with author Alison Pearce Stevens and uncover the mysteries of Ashfall.

Using a conversational tone, this fun middle grade STEM book, takes the reader on a paleontology adventure to discover the animals that used to live in Nebraska. It also provides fun insight into the many sciences and fields responsible for finding and unraveling the geological, ancient plant, and animal mysteries of our planet. An excellent book for anyone interested in geologic history, fossils, and the numerous advances that occurred in the past 50 years that allowed for scientists to unravel this puzzle.

Synopsis: Why does a football spiral? How do some athletes jump so high? The answer is science! The Secret Science of Sports helps kids better understand concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math through the sports they love to play and watch.

Every sport -- from baseball to basketball, to football and soccer, to wrestling, tennis, and lacrosse -- involves a bit of science, technology, engineering, and math. You can't throw a ball without Newton's Law of Motion, and you can't calculate a player's stats without math. And every type of sports equipment -- a helmet, cleats, shoulder or knee pads -- were designed with the latest engineering and technology.

The Secret Science of Sports breaks down normally difficult STEM concepts like forces of motion, gravity, algebra, and even neuroscience, in a language kids can -- and will want to -- understand. Divided into sections like chemistry, biology, physics, technology, and more, this handy guide uses examples from sports like soccer, baseball, softball, football, hockey, lacrosse, tennis, and others to explain important STEM concepts for kids ages 8 to 12. They'll learn how to use math to calculate a batter's average, why a tennis racket is shaped the way it is, how biology affects athletic performance, the aerodynamics behind competitive swimsuits, and much more. With dozens of original, captivating illustrations to engage young readers, kids will have fun while learning about key STEM ideas that will prepare them for years of schooling to come.

Believe it or not, every sport involves science, from physics (laws of motion and balance) and biology (body and brain science) to technology (equipment and clothing) and math (statistics and vectors). With a conversational tone, graphics, fun experiments, and an examination of the strategic elements of each, this engaging book looks at a wide range of sports from baseball, swimming, wrestling, tennis, and lacrosse, as well as many others.

Synopsis: Born at the stroke of midnight during a lightning storm, Nikola Tesla grew up to become one of the most important electrical inventors in the world. But before working with electricity, he was a child who loved playing with the animals on his family's farm in Serbia.

An inventor since childhood, Tesla's patents encompassed everything from radar and remote-control technology to wireless communications. But his greatest invention was the AC induction motor, which used alternating currents ( AC) to distribute electricity and which remains the standard for electric distribution today. Tesla's love of animals also remained constant throughout his life and led to his anointment as the Pigeon Charmer of New York for his devotion to nature's original wireless messengers.

Exploring his groundbreaking inventions against the backdrop of his private life, A Life Electric introduces Nikola Tesla to young readers unlike ever before. Azadeh Westergaard's lyrical debut brings compassion and humanity to the legacy of the brilliant inventor, while the esteemed illustrator Júlia Sardà deftly brings him to life.

Thank you all for giving us a little peek into you and your books. Wishing you all great success.

To learn more about these writers, or to get in touch with them:

Todd Sturgell Except Antarctica (Sourcebooks 7/6/2021) -

Melissa Stewart Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme (Beach Lane Books 7/6/2021) –

Alison Pearce Stevens Rhinos in Nebraska (Henry Holt & Co. 7/20/2021) –

Jen SwansonThe Secret Science of Sports: The Math, Physics, and Mechanical Engineering Behind Every Grand Slam, Triple Axel, and Penalty Kick (Black Dog & Leventhal 7/20/2021)

Azadeh Westergaard - A Life Electric: The Story of Nikola Tesla (Viking Books for Young Readers 7/27/2021) -


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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