Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WEIRD ROCKS Rocks!! Plus a Giveaway

When I was a kid my first hobby was rock collecting. It all started with one of those little sampler boxes that we picked up at a museum. Then my parents took us rock-hounding: searching for gems in places open to the public. Then my sister found (and subsequently lost, sadly) a lovely ruby. Then I got my masters in geology. Then I married a geologist...well, you get the drill.

What I would've given for a copy of this book when I was young! Michele Corriel has written a truly fun exploration of some of the weirder rocks on the planet. Today she's here with a guest post, plus she's giving away one copy of WEIRD ROCKS. It would be a great addition to any library. All you need to do is comment and I'll put you in my random giveaway generator!

Sometimes it’s easy to think of a non-fiction picture book (or any non-fiction book) as a way to get information across to young readers. But for me, it’s much more than that. It’s an opportunity to understand language. It’s a new door opening for a poetic perspective. A new inlet to creativity. 

For example, you can’t say the “obsidian black sky” before you know what obsidian is. You can’t say “the granite feeling of winter” without knowing how old and stubborn granite can be.

There is also something empowering about being able to name things. (Think about Voldemort and how by never saying his name everyone became even more afraid.) For me, non-fiction is more empowering than the Hallow's elder wand.

So when I’m sitting down to write a non-fiction picture book, I think very hard about the words I’m using and how to embracing the language in a way that can open the door for young readers to use those words and to understand the concepts, not just in the scientific way, but in a poetic way as well.

In the same way, non-fiction books can used in the classroom as a means to seeing vocabulary not only as definitions but to hear how melodic words can be, how close beauty is to an idea. And, of course, as a way of avoiding the dreaded clich├ęs.

Another way to use non-fiction for creative writing is to use the old “what if” scenario. What If the continents never drifted apart? What kind of world would we live in? Would we be a single country?

I also like to try to think out of the box when I approach a subject that has the potential to be very dry. I try to come up with a new way to introduce the reader to something as boring as, say, a simple rock. For every rock we come across there is a history as ancient the earth itself. Sometimes, even older (I’m thinking of meteorites). I think of star dust and mysteries. I think of cities destroyed by volcanoes. Or inland oceans whose only signature is the fossils they left behind.

Besides the words themselves, besides the story behind the subject, there are the people whose lives are dedicated to sorting out a single question.

The world is such a fascinating place, and it is the job of the non-fiction writer to get that point that across to the reader.

Check out the WEIRD ROCKS trailer, and then comment to win a copy!

No comments: