Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bookanista Interview with Kids Inventing! Author, Susan Casey

Time for another fabulous Bookanista Thursday! Today I get to talk with Susan Casey about her latest NF book for kids, Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors. But first, I want to welcome two new additions to the Bookanista family - Nikki Katz, Katy Upperman and Debra Driza. I happen to know some of these writers in real life, and I am BEYOND thrilled to have them join us!


Here are the Bookanista reviews today:
On to my Bookanista Interview with Kids Inventing! author Susan Casey -

CF: Tell me a little about yourself
SC: I'm a writer and teacher.  I love writing because it allows me to express
myself and my thoughts and pass those on to others.  I love teaching
because I can interact with students about ideas.  I've lived most of my
life in the Los Angeles area but also have lived in Northern California.
I've traveled to Europe, and Malaysia and lived in Africa, Mexico and
London.  I love to explore.  I致e had all sorts of jobs including some odd
ones:  testing the escape chutes for jets, delivering sandwiches, testing
recipes.

CF: Tell me a little about your book. What makes it unique?
SC: Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors is unique among invention
books because it doesn't just include a few tips and a few stories of
young inventors: it includes stories of over 50 young inventors and
detailed steps about how to become a young inventor.  Also, the stories
are not just a description of an invention by a young inventor but a
detailed account of HOW each of the inventors thought of the idea or HOW
each made a model, or  prepared for a contest, got a patent, or had the
invention manufactured or licensed.  It's a guidebook with many more
details than other invention books.

In writing the book I wanted to show young inventors the benefits of
inventing.  Students who invent can win scholarships and awards.  Awards
in an invention contest can help a young inventor when they are applying
for college.  And young inventors who sell or license their inventions,
can benefit financially.  For example, I included the story of Chris Haas
who at age 9 came up with the idea of putting hands on a basketball.  He
called it Hands-On Basketball.  Kids who don't know how to hold a
basketball can use his basketball to help them hold the ball correctly in
order to shoot a basket.  Chris and his father licensed the idea and the
trademark Hands-On Basketball to a company.  Chris is in his 20s now and
the basketball is still selling.  The profits paid for his college
education and that of his brother and sister.  And Chris contributes to a
lot of charities. (You can see a video of Chris on my you tube account.
http://www.youtube.com/user/susancaseybooks?feature=mhsn#p/u/0/Px1v20R7Dgo
)

CF: What advice might you have for writers?
SC: Advice to Young Writers:  Write about your everyday life.  For example,
what happens in the evenings at your house?  Details could include a
description of your home and of each of the people at your home. Tell what
each does.  Include comments back and forth between two of the people.
Include the sounds as well.  After you finish writing, ask someone who
lives in the house with you to read your work.  Ask them to tell you any
details you left out.  Then, add those details to your story.  And have
fun writing and rewriting until you have a terrific description of a night
in your house.  Or write about something interesting that happened to you.

CF: Where do you see the direction of publishing going? 
SC: Many children's book publishers that I致e spoken with are interested in publishing
books featuring characters that depict the lives of the wide variety
of ethnic groups that live in the U.S.  I think that's terrific since
kids from different countries around the world or kids whose parents
who are from different areas want to read about the cultures of their
families.  And publishers seem to be publishing books on more and more
topics related to our rapidly changing world.

CF: How do you balance teaching and writing and your other real life
activities? 
SC: What other real life activities?  Just kidding.  I'm just
like everyone else.  I try to make time for everything I like to do.
I usually write and teach during the week and visit my family and
friends on the weekends.  I also make time for exercise. I'm a member
of a rowing club so on the weekend mornings I row.  If I have a lot of
writing to do, though, I spend the entire weekend writing.  That can
be great fun since I enjoy writing.

CF: I noticed that you write on a wide variety of topics. What inspires
you?

SC: I'm naturally curious so I have followed that curiosity.  If an event or
topic strikes me as fun or interesting, I write about it and then try to
find a magazine or publisher that is interested in publishing the work.  I
am lucky to the wonderful skill of being able to describe events, or
complicated topics in a lively way and in a way that others can easily
understand.
CF: Tell me one interesting fact I may not know about you.  
SC: When I was younger I was fascinated by Africa and wanted to visit.  I took a trip to
England and when I was there saw an ad in the newspaper that read
something like:  'intelligent girl wanted to act as a nanny and accompany
Professor and family to Ghana, West Africa' for three months.  I answered
the ad, got the job, and was able to explore the country and its culture.
I wrote to my family about what I saw--open markets, drummers and other
musicians performing in the streets, villages--and those letters led me to
start writing non-fiction, stories about real people and their lives.

CF: What are your future plans?  
SC: I have just completed and am sending
out to prospective publishers a picture book about a young girl living
in Mexico and I am working on proposals for several other new books.
Also, I regularly write magazine articles about a variety of topics.

CF: Anything else you want us to know?
SC: On my website (http://susancaseybooks.com/kids_invent.html  ) there are a
lot of stories and pictures of young inventors and invention activity
sheets that young inventors can use to go through the process of
invention.  Here's the link to the activities:
http://susancaseybooks.com/invention_activities.html
And my Kids Inventing! Facebook page is:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kids-Inventing-A-Handbook-for-Young-Inventors/208752925806795

Truly a great book for those kids who simply MUST invent!

What are you reading these days?

3 comments:

  1. What an amazing book idea! I honestly think my son would love it! Great interview. And best wishes to a fellow author/teacher. :-)

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  2. Awesome interview! It's amazing what one person can do. Yay for author/teachers!

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  3. What a fun interview, and such a cool-sounding book! Thinking I might have to add it to my nephew's Christmas gift list... he's all about science and critical thinking. This book appears to be right up his alley!

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Thanks for your input!