Map lovers, rejoice!

The National Library of Scotland has more than 200,000 maps of England, Scotland, Wales, and places beyond the British Isles. Now many of them are online, free for map lovers to browse here. This historic map of Scotland was engraved by Dutch mapmaker Abraham Ortelius in 1573 and printed around 1580. 

Reviews for the Origin of Species: Young Readers Edition

Reviews have started to come in for my young-readers adaptation of Charles Darwin’s most important book, On the Origin of Species. So far, so fantastic!

Publishers Weekly says, “With valuable modifications and enhancements, Stefoff preserves the richness of Darwin’s content for contemporary young readers.” Read the full review here.

Booklist says, “The strength of this attractive volume is that it gives them direct access to
Darwin’s words on the topic of natural selection, along with informative updates and explanations.” (This review has not yet been published online.)

Kirkus praises the adaptation for being “so handsomely presented and so close to the source” and says, “Stefoff’s frequent glosses and boxed side essays unpack major concepts, add historical context, explain how later scientific discoveries modify or support Darwin’s broad picture, and even studiously point out where the author went wrong.” The full review is here.

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 its 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.

Ringbinder theme by Themocracy