Thursday, December 3, 2009

Claire Eamer Talks About Science Books for Kids

Claire Eamer stopped by for tea at Annick a few weeks ago, and now she's back to answer some questions about researching and writing science books for kids. Enjoy!

Claire: In November, I got the chance to visit Ontario schools during TD Canadian Children's Book Week. The picture above is a display of my books and a welcome sign in the library at the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto Middle School. I also dropped by Annick Press's Toronto home and we got talking about writing non-fiction. So we decided to take a bit of the discussion to the blog. Here are a few questions -- from kids, teachers, and a blog reader -- and my answers.

From a kid: Which of your books is your favourite?

Claire: I guess I have a short attention span because my absolute favourite at the moment is the book I'm still working on. It's called Snakes in the Sky: Animals Where You Least Expect Them, and it is full of some of the weirdest and most surprising animals you can imagine. And I can imagine some pretty weird animals! Apart from it, I think my favourite is Super Crocs & Monster Wings, mainly because it was my first book for kids and everything about the process was new and exciting.

From a kid: What's your favourite animal in the books?

Claire: I think my favourite is the giant ground sloth, which I talked about in Super Crocs & Monster Wings. They were so amazingly BIG! And they lived in the Yukon, where I live. I've even seen a skeleton of a Jefferson's Ground Sloth. A close second is the giant sea scorpion from Spiked Scorpions & Walking Whales. They were huge and weird and left their footprints behind for us to see. There's something about footprints locked in stone that brings the creature to life for me.

From Mommy C: I am interested in the research that goes behind finding so many cool creatures. I can picture [Claire] travelling the globe like an Indiana Jones of prehistoric animals, searching through the catacombs of museum basements for rare giant beavers and enormous insects.

Claire: I wish! Gotta get me an Indiana Jones hat! Actually, I do haunt museums whenever I get the chance. I love them, and I find loads of ideas in them, both for science books and history books. However, most of the research for the books involves reading -- books, magazine and newspaper stories, articles in academic journals, and websites. I also do a lot of emailing to experts all around the world. Experts are amazingly generous with their time when you explain that you're writing for kids.

From a teacher: What's the best part of writing?

Claire: The research. I love learning things. I think I became a writer for the sake of the research, not for the writing itself. Although I do enjoy turning what I've learned into a story for other people to enjoy. Writing non-fiction is telling a story, just as much writing fiction is. You just have to stick to the facts.

Speaking of research, I'd better get back to it. The next book beckons!


1 comment:

Mommy C said...

Thanks for your time and all the best with your next book! I (I mean my kids) can't wait.