NEWS! (and Views)
WATCH FOR NEW AND RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS:
Excitedly waiting for (March, 2017): The Secret Life of the Red Fox
And great reviews are already in, one in Kirkus, and especially one to appear
in the January issue of School Library Journal, with a STAR, which includes this
quote, "a rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title."
Recently published (April 2016): Owls! Strange and Wonderful
Published (April 2015): Octopuses! Strange and Wonderful.
Published in 2014: The Secret Life of the Woolly Bear Caterpillar. Woolly bears are among the most appealing and popular of all insects. This is narrative nonfiction--a story of one individual's life, based on research about woolly bears. I gave the caterpillar a name, based on the scientific name of the moth that she becomes, as I did in my books about a monarch butterfly and a green darner dragonfly.
NEWS: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR was declared a MYSTERY by Booklist! This nonfiction story title earned a rave review in a surprising place: the May 2014 newsletter, Booklist Best of Mystery Month. Reviewer Lynn Rutan wrote, "I know this is Mystery Month but trust me, there IS mystery in this charming bug book." Click on the title to the left to read "the story behind the book."
See the Writers at the Range blog, and an interview with Larry Pringle posted
Feb. 17, 2013-- http://larrydanebrimner.blogspot.com/
Published October 1, 2013: SCORPIONS! STRANGE AND WONDERFUL
Fact-checked by scorpion expert Dr. Victor Fet, dedicated to the memory of an outstanding scorpion scientist (and human), Gary Polis, illustrated by extraordinary artist Meryl Henderson.
Published fall, 2012: ICE! The Amazing History of the Ice Business is about that long-ago time, before refrigeration, when people depended on ice from lakes and rivers to keep food and drinks cold and safe. Harvesting, storing, and delivering that ice to homes, restaurants, etc. was a huge, vital business. And a small lake in Rockland County, NY (where I live) provided high quality ice for residents of New York City--and was sent by ship as far as Australia. This title has earned terrific reviews, even in such unusual places as USAToday.
"Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth."
--E. B. White
"Alone with a good book, you are never alone."--Anonymous. "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."--Groucho Marx
On February 19, 2005, Laurence Pringle was honored as a winner of the AAAS/SUBARU SB&F PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN SCIENCE BOOKS. He was one of five authors and one illustrator honored for their lasting contribution to science literature and illustration for children and young adults. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the prize winners have "devoted much of their lives to helping promote and improve science literacy by writing exceptional science books which speak to children and young adults in a voice they can understand and appreciate."
TRY TO TEACH OTHERS
Many people are not well-informed about the issue of climate change. Some have been misled. They may have read, or heard on talk-radio, that Earth's climate is not changing, or that human use of fossil fuels is not the main cause. Misinformation like this is still being spread. (If you wonder why, think of the huge industries that might suffer when people all over Earth use less oil, gasoline, and coal. Certain businesses have put great effort into confusing the public, trying to delay change.)
Armed with good information about climate change, you can try to clear up some confusion about this vital issue. For example, someone might say, "Brrr! It's cold! The temperature has been below normal for a week now. There's no global warming."
That person is talking about weather, not climate. A spell of cold weather here or there tells us nothing about Earth's overall climate. It is warming. Glaciers and Arctic ice are melting, sea levels rising, winters becoming shorter.
Another person might say, "Earth's climate has changed in the past. This is just part of a natural cycle." This is half-true. (Lots of misinformation contain half-truths.) The world has indeed gone through great climate changes. About 18,000 years ago, vast ice sheets covered much of North America and northern Europe. However, research by scientists all over the world shows that today's rapid climate change is mostly the result of human activities, especially burning oil and other fossil fuels.
You might hear someone say, "Carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant. It's in our breath! Besides, there isn't enough of it in the atmosphere to make a difference." Again, this is half-true. Yes, we exhale this gas, and all carbon dioxide is just a tiny fraction of the gases that make up Earth's atmosphere. It makes up only a few hundred of each million parts of air. However, carbon dioxide has a remarkable ability to trap heat in the atmosphere. When people cut and burn tropical forests, and especially when they burn coal and other fossil fuels, they add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Two centuries ago carbon dioxide was about 270 parts per million. Now it is 400 parts per million, and increasing rapidly.
Getting accurate information about climate change is vital. Someone might say, "I heard about a meteorologist at a Colorado university who says that the other scientists are wrong. He says that the climate will soon cool."
The opinion of a university meteorologist may sound impressive. But remember, meteorology is the study of weather, not climate. Beware of "experts" who may not understand the research findings in another area of science. A few scientists deny that the atmosphere is warming, or that humans are responsible. However, their ideas have been proven wrong by the results of actual research conducted by climate scientists. Thousands of climate scientists all over the world work on the complex subject of changing climate. They often debate about details, but agree that humans are causing the atmosphere's temperature to rise.
Humans face a huge challenge: to halt the climate change they are causing, and prevent the great harm it could bring to all life on Earth. You can help by teaching others--young and old--about the science of climate change.
Essay from the March 2004 issue of The Reading Teacher:
Long ago, I gave a copy of my sixth book, Cockroaches: Here, There, and Everywhere (1971, T.Y.Crowell), to a young mother. She read it to her 4-year-old son. The next day she reported her son's first words after reading the last page: "Mommy, can we get a cockroach?"
For me this was early evidence of the power of nonfiction to excite a child with "mere" facts. His life was enriched by knowing more than most adults about these highly successful insects. And his curiosity was primed for the ant, katydid, or any other insect he next met. He became one of those students who usually choose nonfiction to read. Some kids just can't get enough information about sports, or science, or history, or animals. And they devour nonfiction without seeming to care about the quality of the prose.
Some of it is pretty bad. Trade books (and textbooks) with a lame, "just the facts, Ma'am" style are still published, helping to sustain a notion that nonfiction is second-class literature. This image is changing, however, partly as a result of the trend toward testing in accordance with educational standards. Although the value of these tests is questioned by many educators, the testing trend has had one positive effect: leading schools to focus more attention on nonfiction. This is long overdue because, according to the National Geographic Society, as much as 80% of what students read throughout their lives in nonfiction, yet nearly 80% of what they read in school is fiction.
All over the country the genre of nonfiction is emphasized in well-balanced elementary reading programs. Teachers are discovering some of the strengths of nonfiction. For example, books need not be read cover to cover; a chapter or other excerpt can be an effective teaching tool. Nonfiction picture books can work beautifully as read-alouds. Teachers find gripping, powerful stories in nonfiction--in books about the Lewis and Clark expedition, in biographies such as Pam Munoz Ryan's When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson: The Voice of a Century (2002, Scholastic), and in accounts of scientists and their research--for example, in Sy Montgomery's The Snake Scientist (2001, Houghton Mifflin).
Nonfiction can be as richly detailed as Margery Facklam's Spiders and Their Web Sites (2001, Little, Brown), or as simple but emotionally involving as Brenda Guiberson's Into the Sea (1996, Holt). My 77th title, An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly (1997, Orchard), is an accurate account of the life of one butterfly--but it is also more than that. I am no longer surprised when readers tell me that they felt sad, or even cried, at its end. Nonfiction can do much more than answer basic research questions about animal lives.
After toiling for more than three decades in the vineyard of children's nonfiction, it gives me great pleasure to see the genre flourish and so many children discover its diverse wonders.
More articles by or about Laurence Pringle
"The Call of the Wild--Author Laurence Pringle presents the true nature of the natural world in over 100 books," by Becky Rodia. Teaching K-8, April 2003, pages 42-44.
"That Great American Adventure, the Lewis and Clark Expedition," by Laurence Pringle. Book Links, September 2003, pages 44-49.
"Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made on; Nature for Kids and Happy Accidents," by Charles Creekmore. UMASS, Summer 2003, pages 20-21.