Growing up I was always coloring and drawing. Throughout my school career I had always taken art classes. I was then introduced to design and page layout while in high school by one of my favorite teachers. My love of design took off from there.
I have been working in the Design Department for almost 8 years now at Rourke Educational Media. What a great opportunity to design books for children! The creative process is tough sometimes. I always get excited when new scripts come in from authors. Sometimes I will get an idea right away on the design, and then sometimes it takes some thinking to come up with an idea. My favorite thing to design are the covers, because that is what captures the child’s attention first. I really try to stay in touch with what interests children, by watching cartoons, kids movies, and reading children’s books. This year I am enjoying working on the covers for a new series called Got Math!
When I am not at the computer designing, I am either reading, painting, or taking online classes to learn new techniques for painting. If you would like to follow my artistic adventures you can find my blog at www.creativelytara.com.
“Aunt Jane, why do your chickens lay more eggs in the spring and summer? And why does Olive lay different colored eggs than Edelweiss?”
Good questions, Brigid!
Looking at the world through the eyes of curious kids inspires me to write nonfiction science books
that give young readers an “aha moment!” I imagine them saying, “Oh, NOW I get it. That’s cool!”
I worked as a senior science editor of nonfiction young adult books for ten years before becoming an author. I have to say that I never fully appreciated how much work goes into simplifying complex scientific ideas until I started doing it myself! I now strive to be an author who entertains and teaches, and sparks some new questions, too.
Since I have degrees in Biology and Environmental Science, it is not surprising that my favorite thing to write about is the natural world. And many of our hobbies, such as growing lots of food in our garden and raising egg-laying chickens, get me thinking about topics that could make engaging books.
One of the best parts of writing science books is finding out new things every day to share with readers. While researching my upcoming book for Rourke, STEM Jobs in Food and Nutrition, I learned that smartphone technology will soon allow shoppers to scan produce to find out about the farm that grew it, that farmers are using satellite images taken all the way from space to check the health of their crops, and that robots have been invented to pick ripe lettuce and strawberries. Now that’s cool!
“What happens to puddles?” They evaporate, right? Now, try explaining that question for a second grader without using the word “evaporate.” Or “molecule” or “water vapor.”
It’s hard, isn’t it? You really have to think about what evaporation means. And there, in a nutshell, is the reason I love writing science books for children. It’s the best way I’ve found to understand the world around me.
Plus, it’s just tons of fun. Nobody appreciates an amazing science fact more than a kid. Sometimes, when I find a really great one, I can just hear it making the rounds across school cafeterias nationwide. I like to try them out on my kids and their friends. Here’s a favorite from my upcoming book on Solar Systems for Rourke: “Did you know there’s a planet in a faraway solar system where it rains glass?”
That’s true! Go ahead and try it out on the next kid you see. Just be ready. They’ll probably have some follow-up questions . . .
You never know where life takes you is the perfect saying to describe Lisa’s journey in education.
After teaching kindergarten and first grade, her curiosity got the best of her and she decided to give middle school math a try. Making the switch helped to discover her hidden love for math and ended up being the best decision she ever made!
Her out-of-the box thinking and teaching style guided her toward authoring an upcoming children’s math series for Rourke Educational Media named Got Math! This series provides readers with quick and concise explanations for those pesky little math skills that always manage to sneak up on you when you are least expecting them.
We at Rourke welcome Lisa to our team and look forward to working with her and to this exciting new series.