Please welcome the prolific, award winning author and my very dear friend, Jennifer Swanson! (Details for the book giveaway are at the end of the post!)
|AUTHOR JENNIFER SWANSON|
You can visit Jennifer at her website: www.
Writing from the Inside Out. . . Jennifer Swanson shares
When Clara asked me to write this blog post, I was SO thrilled. I have known her for many years and look upon Clara as a dear friend and mentor. She has read pretty much every manuscript I have ever written!
As I thought about my post and how to incorporate her theme, Writing from the Inside Out, with my writing journey, the first words that came to me were “Follow Your Path”. These words are very important to me, because I don’t feel as if I’ve had a “normal” path to publication. Or, perhaps, I should say it’s just not been a straight and smooth one.
I started my career thinking that I wanted to write a fiction picture book. It was an interesting choice for me, since I rarely read picture books, except to my children when they were small. You see, the “voice in my head”, (the writerly kind) is about 9 years old. That made writing picture books difficult for me. After a many unsuccessful attempts at writing fiction picture books, I kind of gave up. I had no idea where to turn.
Thankfully, I met Clara and she encouraged me to write older books. I began with an early chapter book series about two dogs who were pet detectives. It was called Penny and Rio: The Mysterious Backyard Meeting. My book was published by a small, cooperative press, and won several awards, including a Mom’s Choice Award and The Dove Foundation Seal. I did two more books in the series, and yet, I wanted more.
It was at my second SCBWI conference where my writing life took a fateful turn. I met the late, great Elaine Landau. During the critique for my current WIP (a fiction picture book) she asked me, “Do you do anything else?” That is not exactly something you want to hear from your critique. . . and yet my response changed my life. I told her that I had just earned my master’s degree in K-8 science education and gotten a job as a middle school science instructor. Her response, “Why don’t you write science books for kids?” It made sense. After all, I was that kid who had started a science club in her garage at the age of 7.
And yet, I was shocked. I’d never before considered writing science books for kids. Well, why not? Elaine spent some of her valuable time teaching me how to create a work-for-hire package and send it out. So I did. Two months later, out of the blue, I got a call from an editor at Capstone Press offering me a two-book deal to write books about bugs. The next month I received a 5-book deal from a book packager. I was off! That was in 2010.
Since then, I have written over 25+ nonfiction books for kids. Many of them are about science, but I have also written a few history books, fiction picture e-books, fairytale e-books, standardized test questions and magazine articles.
What happened to my fiction? I still write it. I have finally decided to write “my age” and have completed three middle grade novels. None are published. Yet. But I am working hard on them. In between, there have been LOTS of rejections. There have been LOTS of joys. There have been some setbacks and frustrations. But my motto is NEVER GIVE UP.
So how do you find your path?
Allow yourself to think outside the box. Consider writing about things you loved as a kid.
Re-imagine yourself. Listen to that “voice inside your head.” Write all you can, wherever you can. Lose yourself in words.
If you hit a roadblock,
go through it
but whatever you do, DON’T let it stop you.
Follow your path, wherever it leads. You just may surprise yourself.
BOOK BIRTHDAY for SUPER GEAR
Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up. Charlesbridge. June 7, 2016. Gr 6-9–This title provides a fascinating insight into the developing world of nanotechnology applications in sports. The opening chapter outlines concepts of molecular bonding, including an illustration of the crystalline structure of ice. The text then segues into a lucid explanation of the very different forces at work in extremely small carbon nanoparticles. Subsequent chapters examine changes wrought by nanotechnology in particular sports: football helmets that absorb more energy and could protect against concussion, shoes and track surfaces meant to improve running speed and reduce injury, golf clubs and tennis racquets that are stronger and lighter, and swimsuits designed in conjunction with NASA intended to reduce drag. The sports connections are tied to standout athletes, including swimmers Alia Atkinson and Michael Phelps, golfers Michelle Wie and Phil Mickelson, speed skater Shani Davis, and tennis champion Serena Williams. Sidebars and simple drawings illustrate important concepts in physical science, especially lift, turbulence, and drag. One “Super Fact” sidebar shows how a single-walled carbon nanotube is narrower than a human hair in the same proportion as the hair is to a typical house. A hitch is that the science is so new that some of the technology is unproven. A sidebar on Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt concludes that the effect of his nanotech shoes on his speed is unknown. VERDICT A highly engaging introduction to an exciting aspect of cutting-edge, real-world science for STEM collections.–Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA
SUPER GEAR chosen as 1 of 12 books recommended in the International Literacy Assn's Jump-Start That Summer Reading List
Review by ILA: SUPER GEAR is reader-friendly introduction to nanotechnology breaks down the science and describes the processes of nanomanufacturing in a clear and understandable way. Packed with photographs, diagrams, and text boxes, this book will appeal to athletes and sports enthusiasts—and the curious.
Forces and Motion (Nomad Press, June 14, 2016)
Everything moves! Kids run around the
playground, cars drive on the road, and balls fly through the air. What causes all this motion? Physics! Forces and motion rule the way everything moves through space.
Using a theme familiar to everyone—motion—this book captures the imagination and encourages young readers to push, pull, twist turn, and spin their way to learning about forces and motion.
For those of you that don't know about this, here is what it means:
"Each year 12,500 school children ages 5–12 from different regions of the United States read newly published children’s and young adults’ trade books and vote for the ones they like best. These Children’s Choices, selected from more than 900 titles, can be counted on as books children really enjoy reading."
QUICK: Name the most powerful and complex supercomputer ever built. Give up? Here’s a hint: It’s housed in your head and it’s the one thing that makes you YOU. Your brain is mission control for the rest of your body and steers you through life. Not bad for something the size of a softball that looks like a wrinkled grey sponge!
In this fascinating, interactive book -- a companion to the National Geographic Channel hit show – kids explore the parts of the brain and how it all works, brainy news nuggets from a neuroscientist, plus fun facts and crazy challenges. Purchase a copy here: http://amzn.to/1U4SkcR
SUPER GEAR chosen at 1 of 12 books recommended in the International Literacy Assn's Jump-Start That Summer Reading List
Review by ILA "SUPER GEAR is reader-friendly introduction to nanotechnology breaks down the science and describes the processes of nanomanufacturing in a clear and understandable way. Packed with photographs, diagrams, and text boxes, this book will appeal to athletes and sports enthusiasts—and the curious."
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Jennifer Swanson and Miranda Paul will team up again in 2017 to present their workshop The Nuts and Bolts of Science Writing. March 30-April 03 for the HIGHLIGHTS FOUNDATION www.highlightsfoundation.org (Scholarships available!)
Learn more about Jennifer and her fabulous books by checking out these links:
Jennifer is generously giving away a copy of her newest title, Explore Forces and Motion, released on June 14th. It's a perfect pick for summer fun and includes 25 science projects for kids! All you have to do for a chance to win an autographed copy is leave a comment for Jennifer about science or her inspiring post. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Saturday, June 11, 2016.
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck. . .