Advance Copy: Backstories on books by NASW members

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Horizontal photo of a bookshelf with the tops of books visible, along with books stacked atop. The titles all relate to scientific illustration.

Jen Christiansen—Building Science Graphics: An Illustrated Guide to Communicating Science through Diagrams and Visualizations

Would charts and other visuals enhance your articles, press releases, blog, social media posts, book, and talks? Learn DIY tactics from Jen Christiansen’s book, Building Science Graphics: An Illustrated Guide to Communicating Science through Diagrams and Visualizations. Christiansen includes worksheets and case studies to help journalists, editors, students, and teachers improve their messaging.

Liz Lee Heinecke—Sheet Pan Science: 25 Fun, Simple Science Experiments for the Kitchen Table

Turning a sheet pan into a science lab involves no alchemy, only the wizardry of kitchen pantry scientist Liz Lee Heinecke. In Sheet Pan Science, Heinecke provides photo-illustrated guides to 25 fun home experiments. Using baking powder, cornstarch & other kitchen staples, readers aged 7 to 10 will learn the science behind pyramid & cube-shaped bubbles, tie-dye milk, kaleidoscopic eggs, & more.

Horizontal photo of a bookshelf of Bethany Brookshire, with book titles stacked vertically and horizontally.

Bethany Brookshire—PESTS: How Humans Create Animal Villains

When we see coyotes in the street, rats in our trash can, or squirrels in the attic, we feel helpless, Bethany Brookshire writes in Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. We want them to go away. It would be better, she suggests, to emulate Indigenous cultures and learn to coexist with—and not feed—wildlife in our midst, protecting our homes and ourselves with safe methods of biocontrol.

Rectangular photo of a close up view of books on a bookshelf, with spines facing out and many titles related to atomic science and history.

Vincent Kiernan—Atomic Bill: A Journalist’s Dangerous Ambition in the Shadow of the Bomb

William Laurence, New York Times science writer and, from 1956-’64, NYT science editor, received two Pulitzer Prizes. In 1934, he helped launch NASW. He also took money from sources to skew stories, Vincent Kiernan asserts in Atomic Bill: A Journalist’s Dangerous Ambition in the Shadow of the Bomb. Laurence focused on serving himself, Kiernan maintains, not the NYT or his readers.

Photo was taken at the home of Ryan Prior. It shows his bookshelf of works that informed and inspired him as as he wrote "The Long Haul"

Ryan Prior—The Long Haul: Solving The Puzzle of the Pandemic’s Long Haulers and How They Are Changing Healthcare Forever

Lingering, often disabling Covid symptoms have spurred attention to aftereffects of Chronic Lyme, ME/CFS, & other persistent diseases, Ryan Prior notes in The Long Haul: Solving The Puzzle of the Pandemic’s Long Haulers and How They Are Changing Healthcare Forever. “Studying why some people get sick and stay sick,” he says, “could be one of the greatest scientific opportunities of our lifetime.”

Photo of bookshelf in Bryn Nelson's office showing some of the reference books for his book, Flush.

Bryn Nelson—Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

The study of human feces can aid disease detection in individuals and communities, help solve crimes, and inform archeological study, Bryn Nelson reports in Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure. Fecal transplants increasingly are used to treat digestive disorders. Poop even is a source of green energy. Nelson calls poop “the world’s most squandered and misplaced natural asset.”

Rectangular photo of a row of books on a wooden bookshelf, with many titles related to the earth, environment, and science. A bookend with an antique globe, and a monochrome vintage photo of a couple are visible adjacent.

Madeline Ostrander—At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth

How do we manage when familiar seasonal changes fade, creeks and lakes dry up, farms and front yards fall arid, ocean temperature rises, and weather becomes hotter, stormier, and more unpredictable? In At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth, Madeline Ostrander recounts efforts by individuals and groups to rout toxic effects of climate change on the places they call home.

Rectangular photo of a row of books on a wooden bookshelf, with many titles related to the science of pain and children's health, some new and some visibly old.

Rachel Rabkin Peachman—When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions

Needlesticks, though a necessary part of pediatric care, still hurt. Children’s pain, often trivialized or ignored, is not rare and may be chronic, NASW member Rachel Rabkin Peachman and psychologist Anna Wilson report. In When Children Feel Pain: From Everyday Aches to Chronic Conditions, they call for wider use of state-of-the-art pain management and treatment strategies for children.

Closeup photo of a beaver's face, exposing its colored incisors, as it surfaces on a lake.

Jane Park—Hidden Animal Colors

Beavers have orange teeth, an indicator of the iron content that gives them the strength to cut down trees. An Australian lizard flashes its tongue to deter potential predators: the aptly named blue-tongued skink. Some animals dazzle with bright colors while others that seemingly blend into their environment at times may surprise. Jane Park unmasks the latter in her children’s picture book, Hidden Animal Colors.