Advance Copy: Backstories on books by NASW members

Successful parenting involves teaching one’s children to parent themselves — from learning to put on socks to managing time. While some parents nag or punish, Katherine Reynolds Lewis says there’s a better way to help children master self-control. In The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever — And What to Do About It, she proposes use of the Apprenticeship Model.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, launched in 2007 with $3 billion in public funding, has generated 42 therapies now in clinical trials for a variety of incurable diseases. Don Reed, a science writer and advocate for stem cell research, describes the program’s successes in California Cures: How the California Stem Cell Program is Fighting Your Incurable Disease.

It’s 2050. Lifelike neuromorphic robots provide domestic, professional, even sexual services for their human owners. Then a rogue engineer programs robots to murder and rob their owners. Dennis Meredith’s sixth sci-fi thriller, The Neuromorphs, explores possibilities and drawbacks of AI. Meredith's nonfiction books include Explaining Research, a guide for scientists and science writers.

The story of development of vaccines against rubella and other childhood diseases in the 1960s pits a daring young biologist against his world-famous boss, testing that used prisoners, intellectually disabled children, and other disenfranchised subjects, political roadblocks that nearly derailed the research, and other elements of high drama. Meredith Wadman covers it all in The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease.

To research and write Wildfire: On the Front Lines with Station 8, Heather Hansen followed the crew of a fire station near her Boulder CO home for two years. She went through training and testing to become a certified wildland firefighter, and joined the crew for emergency calls and planned burns. She provides here an insider’s view of the challenges of addressing increasingly frequent, severe, and costly conflagrations.

An estimated 60,000 or more chemicals on the market have never been safety tested. Many of the roughly 2,000 new chemicals introduced every year are used daily by the general public. New technologies, such as production of nanomaterials, may contaminate the environment in novel and unexpected ways. We often learn about toxicity of various substances only after they cause problems, Richard Crume reports in Environmental Health in the 21st Century: From Air Pollution to Zoonotic Diseases.

People with low health literacy are more likely to be hospitalized, have chronic illnesses, and not seek treatment than those who better understand and use health information obtained from health care providers and the media. Health literacy is a relatively new and still evolving focus of scientific study, according to NASW member Robert A. Logan and Elliot R. Siegel, editors of Health Literacy: New Directions in Research, Theory and Practice. Topics of likely interest to NASW members addressed in the book include how people receive health information, use of social media as a tool for health promotion, and communication skills of health professionals.

Allegations of sexual harassment or assault by powerful men generate daily news headlines. In Advance Copy, Mark Pendergrast discusses how he jumps into the fray with his newest book, The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment. Pendergrast asks: Did false memories, uncritical reporting, and the lure of potential large financial settlements contribute to Sandusky’s conviction as a serial child molester? “Weigh the evidence,” Pendergrast urges. “Then form your own conclusions.”