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.

Adrian Dingle—Awesome Chemistry Experiments for Kids: 40 STEAM Science Projects and Why They Work

Why does an iron nail rust? A cut apple turn brown? How do stalagmites form? Five- to 10-year-olds can discover the answers via step-by-step home experiments Adrian Dingle provides in Awesome Chemistry Experiments for Kids: 40 Science Projects and Why They Work. Dingle’s minor-to-major Mess-O-Meter, plus ratings of difficulty and time required, will help parents assisting their budding chemists.

Trudy E. Bell—Neptune: From Grand Discovery to a World Revealed

Neptune’s 1846 discovery is among the most celebrated in astronomy. Neptune was not seen first through a telescope. It was located using Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation. In Neptune: From Grand Discovery to a World Revealed, NASW member Trudy E. Bell and colleagues provide perspective on both astronomy’s past and recent research suggesting a possible “Planet Nine” still further away.

Lauren Aguirre—The Memory Thief and the Secrets Behind How We Remember: A Medical Mystery

“Why am I here?” The hospitalized man asked again. After overdosing on an illicit drug, possibly fentanyl, he couldn’t retain memories. Nor could some other opioid users. The area of their brains critical to memory formation and storage, the hippocampus, had been damaged. In The Memory Thief & the Secrets Behind How We Remember, Lauren Aguirre explores causes and potential help for memory loss.

Sam Apple—Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection

In 1940s Germany, Nobel laureate Otto Warburg found cancer cells consume 10 times as much glucose as healthy cells. “Like shipwrecked sailors, they were ravenous,” Sam Apple notes. Warburg’s metabolic studies excite new interest today, as does the story of his survival as a Jew protected by Hitler, Apple reports in Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection.

Adam Rogers—Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern

Millions of people saw a dress in a 2015 internet photo as blue, millions more as white. “The way people see color, with their eyes and with their mind, was the biggest news story of the day,” Adam Rogers says. We all process the physics of light and chemistry of pigments differently to create billions of individual palettes, he reports in Full Spectrum: How the Science of Color Made Us Modern.

Liz Heinecke: The Kitchen Pantry Scientist—Biology for Kids

Kids can gain insight into neurons & neural networks by making pipe cleaner models. They can swab doorknobs & grow bacteria and fungi on agar plates. In The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Biology for Kids, Liz Heinecke introduces young readers to 25 biologists & provides step-by-step photo-illustrated guides to home experiments based on each biologist’s work plus facts on the biology behind the fun.

Margie Patlak: More Than Meets the Eye—Exploring Nature and Loss on the Coast of Maine

“When you are growing a family and a career at the same time, you live moment to moment, life fast-forwarding with no-stop action,” Margie Patlak asserts. Illness or death of someone close may upend plans. Immersion in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world as seasons change can be restorative, Patlak writes in More than Meets the Eye: Exploring Nature and Loss on the Coast of Maine.

Claudia Kalb Spark: How Genius Ignites, from Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers

Picasso’s fractured faces defined the cubist movement. His mismatched eyes, elevated ears, and sideways lips force us to see ourselves and our world anew, Claudia Kalb says. In Spark: How Genius Ignites, from Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers, Kalb profiles 13 high achievers, exploring the nature/nurture debate and role of intelligence, creativity, perseverance, and, yes, luck in their success.

David Williams: Homewaters—A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound

In 2018, an orca mother in Puget Sound triggered news stories worldwide, carrying her 6-foot-long dead newborn on her back 17 days, traveling 1000 miles before letting go. Her loss highlights present-day concerns and efforts to clean and restore an environment where humans and other species have long co-existed, David Williams reports in Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound.