Posts tagged: Writing

New Project: A Jared Diamond Book

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been chosen to turn bestselling writer Jared Diamond’s The Third Chimpanzee into a book for young people.

Diamond is the author of Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997), a book that explores the relationships among geography, biology, and history, and also of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005), a book about why some societies are successful and long-lasting while others fall apart and disappear. The book I’m adapting for young readers, The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, explores the many things that make humans unique–as well as their connections to the rest of the animal world. It’s a  subject that I think kids will find fascinating.

I’ve just gotten started on the writing, and already I’m enjoying it tremendously. I look forward to the time when the book will be finished and ready for readers.

Launch party in New York

This weekend I’ll be traveling to New York–barring a hurricane-caused disruption–for the launch of Triangle Square Books, a new children’s and YA nonfiction imprint from Seven Stories Press.

Seven Stories is the publisher of my YA adaptation of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, as well as my new YA adaptation of Ronald Takaki’s history of multicultural America, A Different Mirror. Seven Stories has long been committed to publishing progressive books on politics, history, and social and environmental justice. I believe Triangle Square will fill an important need, and I can’t wait to see what books they will be offering to young readers.

Revealed: Animal Behavior Revealed Book Covers!

I love the covers for my latest series of nonfiction books for kids: Animal Behavior Revealed.

These four books were both fascinating and tons of fun to write. I hope readers will share both the fascination and the fun. It’s amazing how much scientists are learning every day about how and why animals do the things they do.

Animal Behavior Revealed is due to be published in Fall 2012. Look for it online, in bookstores, and at your school or public library.

 

Good Science, Bad Science

How do we know whether an idea, belief, or statement is scientific? In Good Science, Bad Science, a series I’m writing now, I explore the basics of the scientific method–a powerful tool for exploring and understanding the world, from atoms to galaxies.

The history of science is one of new ideas constantly replacing old ones, as investigators learn ever more about the workings of the world around them. People used to believe that Earth was the center of the universe, with the Sun and all the stars revolving around it. Now we know that Earth is just one of many planets and asteroids that revolve around the Sun, and that the Sun is just one of trillions upon trillions of stars. A key part of good science is being flexible. A scientific thinker is able to change his or her ideas when new evidence comes along.

The four books of Good Science, Bad Science will examine:

*  old ideas about the shape of the earth, and how science changed them

*  Earth’s place in the universe, and how scientists discovered it

*  the relationship between the mysteries of alchemy and modern chemistry, and

*  the differences between astrology and astronomy.

The series is still in the early stages. Writing the books is a fascinating  journey. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

America’s Multicultural History

I’ve been working on a project near and dear to my heart: turning a magnificent history of American immigration into a book for young readers.

The book is called A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. It was written by Ronald Takaki, who was a leading scholar of immigration history and a professor of  ethnic studies at the University of California at Berkeley. The young people’s adaptation, which I have based very closely on Professor Takaki’s original text, will be called A Different Mirror for Young People.

This writing project has been special for me for two reasons.

First, most textbooks in U.S. history classes spend little time on the great waves of immigration that shaped this country. Textbooks often ignore the relationships among immigrant and ethnic groups, or between immigrants and native-born Americans. Professor Takaki’s book focuses on how different ethnic and racial groups of immigrants cooperated, competed, and were pitted against each other by politicians and employers. It also looks at the experiences that different immigrant groups shared–the ways the groups were similar, and also the ways in which each group was unique.

Second, I not only admired and respected Professor Takaki as a scholar, I cared for him as a friend. I was lucky to get to know Ron and his wife and colleague, Carol, years ago, when I turned another one of his books into a multivolume series on Asian American history for kids. The Takakis’ warmth, generosity, and passion for learning and communicating were inspiring. We remained friends, and I was always delighted to see them when our paths crossed.

Ron died in 2009. His work touched the lives of many students, teachers, and readers. I know it would please him enormously to know that A Different Mirror will soon be available to young readers.

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