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 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.

Rectangular photo of Sadie Dingfelder’s office bookshelf with titles on memory, face perception, cognitive neuroscience, and self-discovery. Photo credit Sadie Dingfelder

Sadie Dingfelder—Do I Know You? A Faceblind Reporter’s Journey into the Science of Sight, Memory, and Imagination

Sadie Dingfelder scolded a man in a grocery store for choosing the wrong item. She mistook him for her husband. After she learned she is faceblind, her reportorial instincts kicked in. In Do I Know You? A Faceblind Reporter's Journey into the Science of Sight, Memory, and Imagination, she says she’s learned how to cope: “If I pay close attention and ask the right questions, I’ll figure it out.”

Rectangular photo of Ferris Jabr’s office bookshelf with titles about evolution, climate change, plants, and the history of life on a shelf containing fossils, acorns and seed pods. Photo credit Ferris Jabr.

Ferris Jabr—Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life

Over billions of years, life forms from microbes to mammoths transformed continents, oceans, and the atmosphere, Ferris Jabr reports in Becoming Earth: How Our Planet Came to Life. To explore this process, Jabr visited a former gold mine a mile underground, now a science lab; an Arctic region once home to megafauna; and a 1066-ft tall observatory for global climate studies in the Amazon rainforest.

Rectangular photo of Sneed B. Collard III’s office bookshelf with titles on birds, butterflies, lizards, and other species, as well as on Darwin and the natural environment. Photo credit Sneed B. Collard III.

Sneed B. Collard III—Like No Other: Earth’s Coolest One-of-a-Kind Creatures

The Australian platypus, though a mammal, lays eggs. Whale sharks, the world’s longest fish, may be 60 ft long. New Zealand’s kakapo, the world’s largest parrot, can’t fly, Sneed B. Collard III reports in Like No Other: Earth’s Coolest One-of-a-Kind Creatures. Collard, author of nearly 100 science books for young readers, includes additional resources and exercises in this amply-illustrated book.

Rectangular photo of office bookshelf of Wendy Lyons Sunshine, author of Tender Paws: How Science-Based Parenting Can Transform Our Relationship with Dogs, showing books on dog training, behavior, and care, as well as child development, treatment of childhood trauma, attachment theory, and neuroscience. Photo credit: Wendy Lyons Sunshine.

Wendy Lyons Sunshine—Tender Paws: How Science-Based Parenting Can Transform Our Relationship with Dogs

Introducing a puppy or traumatized rescue dog to your home often presents unexpected challenges: some are nippy, fearful, or constant barkers. Tactics that help at-risk kids also may improve dog behavior, Wendy Lyons Sunshine asserts in Tender Paws: How Science-Based Parenting Can Transform Our Relationship with Dogs. To change behavior, she says, one first needs to assess a dog’s unmet needs.

Rectangular photo of Sheeva Azma’s office bookshelf showing books on science communication as well as literature and other topics in which she finds inspiration.  Photo credit Sheeva Azma.

Sheeva Azma—Science X Marketing

While science and marketing are separate disciplines, effective science communication draws on knowledge and skills from both, Sheeva Azma asserts in Science X Marketing, a book summarizing her experiences studying neuroscience and working as a science writer, educator, marketer, and policy advisor. Azma also explores ethical challenges that people who work in science marketing may face.

Rectangular photo of Erin Zimmerman’s office bookshelf showing works on botany, trees, naturalists, evolution, ontogeny and phylogeny, Darwin, and evolution, along with two antique student microscopes. Photo credit: Erin Zimmerman.

Erin Zimmerman—Unrooted: Botany, Motherhood, and the Fight to Save an Old Science

Despite extinction of nearly 600 seed plant species since the 18th century, the number of top US universities offering botany degrees continues to fall, Erin Zimmerman reports in Unrooted: Botany, Motherhood, and the Fight to Save an Old Science. Protected maternity leave, pumping space, remote work options, and childcare at conferences, she asserts, could keep more highly trained women in science.

Rectangular photo of Devin Reese’s office bookshelf showing works on turtles, reptiles, amphibians, Darwin, the Galapagos, and the environment. Photo credit: Devin Reese.

George R. Zug and Devin A. Reese (NASW member)—Tortoises of the World: Giants to Dwarfs

All tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises, herpetologist George R. Zug and NASW member Devin A. Reese report in Tortoises of the World: Giants to Dwarfs. Tortoises may converse via low-frequency vocalizations, this illustrated guide to 47 tortoise species relates. They can feel tactile stimulation of their shells. Habitat change and direct exploitation threaten their survival.

Rectangular image of Heather Hansen’s readings for Solitude: The Science and Power of Being Alone, including books on awe, contemplation, refuge, and memoirs. Image credit: Heather Hansen.

Netta Weinstein, Heather Hansen (NASW member), and Thuy-vy Nguyen—Solitude: The Science and Power of Being Alone

Solitude, often disparaged, linked to loneliness, or thought an unattainable luxury, offers many benefits for everyday life, Netta Weinstein, NASW member Heather Hansen, and Thuy-vy Nguyen write in Solitude: The Science and Power of Being Alone. Solitude can boost creativity, reflection, and resilience, the authors say. Surprise: it also often fosters improvements in social relationships.