My 2016 released classic (46 years in print) Science Experiments You Can Eat is a book of procedures. How did I know about what I wrote? I did every experiment in the book and did not write up the ones that failed. So I was my own primary source. In this new edition (third) my editor read it as if it had never been published before and returned the manuscript to me with 300 queries. I responded to every single one.
There are many steps between submitting a manuscript before it becomes a children’s nonfiction book. By my calculations, a thirty-two page picture book of 3,000 words (5 typewritten pages single spaced) is reviewed by at least seven people, each reading it an average of four times—25+ readings before it becomes a book. Talk about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s! This much investment is a statement about honor and pride of workmanship but mostly it is a tribute to the ultimate user—children. In the writer’s jargon of “show, don’t tell” our book shows them, “We’re giving you our very best. It’s what you deserve.” It is also designed to last and to be treasured.
Without exception, iNK authors travel to do research first-hand. If they write history, they all use primary source material; they go out of their way to interview experts and when the manuscript is finished, it is vetted by an expert. In some cases, they take courses before starting their research to make sure they comprehend their subject matter on a deep level. Only then do they understand what they can leave out and still be accurate and clear for children.
It is only when children are educated by materials that are written on good authority to be truthful that they develop the prior knowledge to be able to discern false news when they hear it.
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