New book: The Wild West in Paris

Another new book of mine will be coming out soon. It’s a young people’s version of a terrific book by Jill Jonnes called Eiffel’s Tower. The book tells how engineer Gustave Eiffel built his famous tower in Paris in spite of fierce attacks. Some critics thought the tower was a hideous monstrosity. Others feared it would fall over and crush their neighborhoods, or draw huge lightning bolts from the sky.

In the end, Eiffel just managed to get the tower finished in time for a grand World’s Fair in 1889. People from all over the world came to Paris for the fair–and to marvel at the Eiffel Tower, or even make the daring, adventurous trip to it top. Among them were Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. Their Wild West show in Paris was almost as big a sensation as the tower itself.

Eiffel’s Tower is the story of Eiffel’s genius, his struggle to build the tower, and his later downfall. It’s also the story of how the Wild West captured the hearts of Parisians, and of the many colorful characters, including inventor Thomas Edison and the Shah of Persia, who met and mingled in Paris in the summer of 1889–a time when anything seemed possible. Whether you’re interested in building things or reading about the larger-than-life personalities of the day, I hope you’ll enjoy Eiffel’s Tower for Young People.

Great news about my YA Origin of Species

The Junior Library Guild has named Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: Young Readers Edition as one of its selections. The book, soon to be published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, a Simon & Schuster imprint, will be shipped to some 1,400 school and public librarians who subscribe to JLG. This is a big boost for the book, as being chosen by the JLG generally results in improved visibility and sales. I couldn’t be happier–or more eager for the book to come out.

Charles Darwin for younger readers

Just half a year from now, Simon & Schuster will publish my young readers edition of the most important scientific book ever written, a book that became a key foundation piece of modern biology, as well as a landmark in our understanding of the world in which we live.

I was twenty-three, studying English in graduate school, when I first read  Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In the years that followed, as my nonfiction writing career took me deeper into writing science books for kids, I reread On the Origin of Species several times, alongside many more recent works on natural history and evolutionary biology. So once I’d published YA adaptations of books by Howard Zinn, Jared Diamond, and others, it was perhaps inevitable that I’d think, “What about Darwin?” And here we are.

Bonus: The Young Readers Edition is not just for kids. It’s for anyone who’d like to read a shortened, streamlined, illustrated version of On the Origin of Species.

Discovering a new old favorite

Thanks to a recommendation from a friend with great taste in books, I recently read a book I would have loved when I was eleven or twelve. I’m happy to say that I loved it now. It is an old book, published in 1962, but it is one of my new favorites. It has been a much-loved book for many years. Maybe you have read it–or will look for it in your library now.

The book is The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, by Joan Aiken. It is an adventure set in a strange world that is both like and unlike the England of the early 19th century. A tunnel has been built under the English Channel (in real life this didn’t happen until late in the 20th century). Wolves have come through it to menace the English countryside. When three young people fight to save their home, what will the wolves do?

Know your rodents!

Ever since I wrote my 2009 book The Rodent Order for young readers, I’ve been fascinated with these active, adaptable mammals. This excellent chart can help you keep your rodents straight. See the full-sized chart online and find more of the artist’s work at https://albertonykus.deviantart.com/art/A-Guide-to-Rodent-Phylogeny-713227506

Copyright 2017 by Albertonykus

 

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