Microbes, Microbes, Everywhere!

by Kathryn on October 12, 2017

I’ve spent a lot of time recently writing about the microbiome. My June article on Cool Jobs in forensics focused mostly on researchers developing crime-solving tools based on microbial fingerprints or microbial residue. I wrote another article on the same topic for Muse. It will come out in January.

My latest Science News for Students feature article is all about how microbes can help keep people healthy. I had a lot of fun with the gross-out factor. What kid doesn’t giggle about poop and snot? Well, turns out that these yucky things can be good for you.

Here it is:

Good Germs Lurk in Gross Places

I’ve got another short news story coming out soon about archaea — a type of microbe usually known for lurking in hot springs and glaciers. But they also live on human skin. I’ll post a link here once it’s published!




Seven Books in One Month

by Kathryn on September 20, 2017

I guess five articles in a few weeks doesn’t seem so impressive any more! I had seven books come out in August 2017. Here they are:

  1. Robotics Engineer, Cutting Edge Careers, ReferencePoint Press, August 2017
  2. Virtual Reality Developer, Cutting Edge Careers, ReferencePoint Press, August 2017
  3. Real-World STEM: Develop Fusion Energy, ReferencePoint Press, August 2017
  4. Kimberly Bryant: Founder of Black Girls Code, Leading Women, Cavendish Square, August 2017
  5. Hydrogen, The Chemistry of Everyday Elements, Mason Crest, August 2017
  6. Gold, The Chemistry of Everyday Elements, Mason Crest, August 2017
  7. My Teenage Life in Russia, Customs & Cultures of the World, Mason Crest, August 2017

I wrote all of these books beginning with Hydrogen in August 2016. I finished the last one, Virtual Reality Developer, in April 2017. So really, I wrote seven books in nine months.

My favorite to work on was also the one that took the longest: Develop Fusion Energy. I liked it because I learned the most. The topic was very difficult — I had to wrap my head around some complex concepts, including plasma, magnetic confinement, and inertial confinement. But that’s what I love most about writing nonfiction for kids. My job is to understand cool, complex ideas completely enough to explain them to anybody. What fun!

Here’s the first set I received:

Update: Another box of books arrived! Here they are:

Of course I’m not a Russian teenager. For that book, I wrote chapters on history, culture, and customs. The two books on elements were a lot of fun to work on. They are intended to make chemistry fun. They look at the real world applications of each element.



Five Articles in Three Weeks

June 14, 2017

Apparently, I’ve been busy! In a span of three weeks, five of my articles came out on Science News for Students. June 8, 2017: Cool Jobs: New tools to solve crimes June 5, 2017: Underwater robot vaccuums up lionfish June 1, 2017: Are fidget spinners tools or toys? May 25, 2017: Cool Jobs: Counting calories and Explainer: All about the […]

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Robots and Cyborgs

April 20, 2017

Recently, I’ve written two articles for Science News for Students about robotics: Teaching robots right from wrong and Wired and weird: Meet the cyborg plants Artificial intelligence has always been one of my favorite things to learn about and think about. When my editor at Science News for Students said she’d like to see a feature on […]

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A Love of Language and Letters

March 9, 2017

A very special article just came out in Muse magazine: “Communing with the Letter Spirits.” This piece is about Douglas Hofstadter’s Letter Spirit project, which was an attempt to model human creativity through a computer program that created its own fonts. But for me, the meaning goes much deeper. When I was a teenager, I […]

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Climate Change vs Fracking

February 13, 2017

Four years ago, I attended a fascinating talk by Richard Alley about melting ice and climate change at the AAAS conference in Boston. Read my post about it here. When I found out that Muse magazine was going to focus an upcoming issue on climate change, I immediately remembered that talk and pitched an article […]

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How to Make a Dream Journal

November 21, 2016

I had the most awesome college job ever. I worked in the library repairing books. An elderly gentleman named Chuck taught me how to reinforce spines, replace covers, and repair torn pages (with a tiny iron and special fabric – never scotch tape!). I even learned some binding techniques. I loved that job. For Muse’s […]

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Happy Halloween

October 28, 2016

Ever since I first learned that a fungus can turn ants into zombies, I’ve wanted to write about it. I finally got the chance! My editor wanted a piece on “real zombies” in time for Halloween. This was a dream assignment for me. I love bugs, especially spiders. Ants are pretty cool, too. Here are […]

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October 25, 2016

Hooray! Author copies of my most recent book arrived over the weekend: The Science of Dinosaurs, part of the Super Awesome Science series from ABDO publishing. The book is aimed at grades 3 to 6, a much younger age range than my usual audience. And it’s about dinosaurs. My son (almost 2) loves dinosaurs. So […]

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More Video Games

October 14, 2016

Well, I guess I’ve found my niche in children’s nonfiction: video games. My husband used to work as a software engineer on games (like, 5 years ago), and conversations with him way back then led me to propose an article on video games to Odyssey magazine. Well, that article eventually landed me my first book […]

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