Tagged with 'appearances'

Engaging Nonfiction with SCBWI

19th of September 2023

As a young reader, I basically wouldn’t touch nonfiction. (My parents found this funny because my brother basically wouldn’t touch fiction!) As it happens, though, one of the first manuscripts I completed for my MFA program was a nonfiction picture book, and as an editor, I’ve now worked on several dozen nonfiction books for all ages. When the Iowa chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators asked me to speak at their recent conference, “First Spark to Work of Art: Crafting Nonfiction for Kids,” I was excited to dig into the reasons I’ve become a lover of nonfiction.

My general philosophy is that standout nonfiction is engaging for the same reason that standout fiction is: a good story! The specific pleasures of them might be different—for example, finding out new facts is a hallmark of nonfiction—but the fundamental elements of story remain the same.

With this in mind, I took a close look at a collection of nonfiction titles I love:

It was fun to return to some favorites from my MA program and my early career in publishing, while also exploring newer titles. I appreciated attendee questions, too, like this one on bibliographies: Do all sources in the bibliography of a children’s book have to be kid-friendly? My answer was no; I usually like to include a “further reading” section and a separate “bibliography” section, the former for readers who want to find related books and the latter for readers who want to check sources. In that case, I’d expect the further reading section to contain mostly or only kid-friendly titles, but the bibliography to contain adult and scholarly books as well (or even primarily).

I’m happy to be a convert to nonfiction, and in fact I’m now reading a small press history I picked up at a Barrow Bookstore: Night Witches: The Amazing Story of Russia’s Women Pilots in WWII by Bruce Myles. As a female aerospace engineer, I’m always a sucker for stories about women in aviation! Here’s to reading in multiple genres, from diverse perspectives, all the time.

Science Can DANCE!

14th of August 2017

During my last year at MIT, my amazing friend Danielle and I bonded over our shared love of feminism, the arts, and smashing stereotypes. She was a computer science genius and cheerleader; I was a writer and aerospace engineer. We met at Senior House, a haven for artsy students that MIT destroyed*. While this is a sad time for us, Danielle’s boundless energy, courage, and intelligence have always inspired me, so I draw strength from her presence! I was honored to speak on a recent panel at an event for her nonprofit, Gique. Gique’s focus is bringing the joy of STEAM to youth—that’s science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

Gique’s Science Can DANCE! program provides youth a way to explore STEM concepts through creative movement and dance choreography. It’s led by local dancers who are also scientists and engineers—an awesome intersection that delights me every time I see it! This summer’s lineup included a workshop on art and design, featuring a panel of STEAM enthusiasts that I was lucky enough to join.

Here are some highlights from social media:

We Thank Our Incredible Panelists For Speaking At Our Art+Design Panel This Morning at BPL! Jess Tatara is an Artist Who Worked on the World's First Solar-Powered Art Show. ‍ Natalia is a Physicist and Astronomer Who Runs Her Own Radio Show. ‍ Lisie is a Google Software Engineer and also a Professional Ballerina. ‍ Nivair is an Aerospace Engineer who is also a Children's Literature Author. ‍ There Are So Many Ways To Combine Your Passions For Both The Arts + Sciences! . . #boston #dudleysquare #productdesign #artsmatter #bostondancers #bostonhiphop #hiphop #bostondance #hydepark #dorchester #roxbury #mattapan #community #gique #giveback #sciencecandance #dance #science #tech #engineering #art #Bostonpubliclibrary #bpl #bostonsummer #bos #iloveboston #changetheworld

A post shared by Gique (@giqueme) on

Getting to chat with other artists/scientists/engineers was such an incredible experience! Then, I got the treat of watching Gique cofounder Ashli’s choreography workshop, based on a product design exercise. All of the attendees, us included, left with our heads buzzing, full of new ideas. I’m so grateful to know Danielle and all the Giques, and I can’t wait to see what they do next!

*”The only important elements in any society are the artistic and the criminal, because they alone, by questioning the society’s values, can force it to change.” — Samuel R. Delany, Empire Star

Tags Looking for something?