Writing about Science Retreat 2014

March 6-21, 2014, Honesdale, PA, United States

Award-winning science writers and editors will gather near Honesdale, PA to teach aspiring children’s authors how to write books and articles that engage kids in the adventure of discovery.

Four children’s authors and three editors of children’s publications will teach their craft at the Writing about Science Retreat 2014, held by the Highlights Foundation from March 6 to 21. Through one-to-one writing critiques, ample writing time, and presentations, the faculty will help authors propel their writing careers to new heights.

“From the White House to the classroom, more focus seems to be trained on science, technology, engineering and math,” said Andy Boyles, leader of the workshops and science editor for Highlights magazine. “So kids need exciting, accurate, up-to-date materials that spark their enthusiasm for science. It’s a challenge to learn how to write about science for kids, but when you get that first letter from a young reader whose world you have changed, that feeling is one-of-a-kind.”

Workshop faculty members will bring a wealth of knowledge about the art and craft of science writing and about today’s market for children’s books and articles.

World traveler, photographer, and former park ranger Stephen R. Swinburne is the author of numerous magazine articles as well as thirty children’s books, such as Sea Turtle Scientist, Once a Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf and Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes. His book Whose Shoes? A Shoe for Every Job recently won Pennsylvania’s One Book for Every Child award. His books have been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Society of School Librarians International.

Gail Jarrow is an accomplished author of science articles for magazines such as Muse and Highlights. Her recent book The Amazing Harry Kellar, Great American Magician was recognized by major reviewers of children’s books, including NCTE, Bank Street College, and the New York State Reading Association, to name a few. In her new book, Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat (Boyds Mills Press), Jarrow combines her talents in both science and history to tell a dramatic story of medical discovery.

Loree Griffin Burns’s first career was as a research scientist (she holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry), and so it’s not surprising that her writing celebrates the natural world and the people who study it. Her first three published books for children, Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (both in the Scientist in the Field series), and Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard have garnered several honors, including ALA Notable designations, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award, an IRA Children’s Book Award, a Green Earth Book Award, and two Science Books & Films (SB&F) Prizes., Her first picture book and her next Scientists in the Field title will be published in 2014 .

Catherine D. Hughes began her career at the National Geographic Society (NGS) in 1980, first as a researcher and writer working on NG World magazine (which was renamed NG KIDS magazine in 2001) and Books for Young Explorers. In 1995 she moved into her editing career and is now science editor for National Geographic KIDS and managing editor of NG Little Kids magazine (NGLK). Catherine has written four books in a popular series for pre-schoolers: National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals, NGLK First Big Book of Dinosaurs, NGLK First Big Book of Space and NGLK First Big Book of the Ocean. She’s currently finishing her fifth book, NGLK First Big Book of Bugs, due out in October 2014.

Elizabeth Preston is editor of Muse, ‘the magazine of life, the universe, and pie throwing,” for kids age ten to fourteen. A member of the Cricket family of magazines, Muse has won three consecutive gold awards from Parents’ Choice. Elizabeth also writes about science for adult publications, including Slate, Nautilus, and National Geographic.

Laurence Pringle is the author of more than one hundred books for children about science, nature, and humanitarian and environmental issues. He will join the group as a guest speaker. Among his many honors and awards, he has received a lifetime achievement award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2006, Larry was awarded the Guggenheim Foundation fellowship for science writing, which resulted in his book Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution.

Andy Boyles has been science editor at Highlights for nineteen years. In books and magazines, he has worked with a range of accomplished science writers, including each of the authors on the faculty as well as Jack Myers, Sarah C. Campbell, Pamela S. Turner, Melissa Stewart, and others. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.

The workshops will be held at the home of the Highlights for Children Founders, situated in scenic northeastern Pennsylvania. Surrounded by a 1,300-acre forest, the property is home to whitetail deer, timid black bears, and a variety of birds and other wildlife—a naturalist’s delight.

The Highlights Foundation, Inc., created its Founders Workshops to raise the level of the offering of writing and illustrating for children. A variety of programs are presented for all levels of writers, from those just getting started to those who are published but wish to hone their skills. These workshops are led by successful, supportive authors and editors determined to help writers achieve their goals.

Limited to thirty participants, the intimate setting is unique. Participants are housed on-site in fully furnished and comfortable, rustic cabins.

For more information, contact the program assistant, Jo Lloyd, at 570-253-1192 or jalloyd@highlightsfoundation.org.

Posted: February 13, 2014