My Books: Which Is My Favorite?

Last week, Twitter pinged me to let me know that I had a notification and I clicked through to find the above tweet.  Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen wanted to know which book was my favorite. No way I could answer this in a tweet so I promised to blog about it today.

First things first, I think it is fairly situational.  It just depends.

The Ancient Maya was my first so clearly it is my favorite.  My academic background is anthropology and then history. An ancient culture was a perfect fit and I’ve always had a thing for the Maya.  Always.  When I took a Smithsonian class on superheroes, we had to design a hero based on an ancient god.  The one I chose was, not surprisingly, Mayan.  In this book, I loved having the opportunity to bring people from so long ago alive for young readers.

Black Lives Matter has been such an important book because it has found its way into so many schools.  Although one reviewer described the book as irritatingly neutral, I worked hard to achieve that neutrality.  I wanted the facts about police shootings to speak for themselves.

But I also love What Are Race and Racism? because that book allowed me to explore the biology of race for young readers.  Hint: There is no biological basis at the genetic level.  Race is a social construct that has and continues to impact lives because of the choices we as human beings make.  I just hope that somewhere a class will read this book and learn at least that much.

Hidden Human Computers is a favorite because through it I was able to write, with Duchess Harris, about the lives of inspirational women. Women who didn’t wait for someone else’s permission to do science that mattered.

I love The Dakota Access Pipeline because it combines so many topics that fascinate me – anthropology, history, science and environmentalism. And it is such a vital and timely topic.

I have been very luck in that so many of the books that I’ve written touch on vital topics. Depending on the day I’ve had and the topics that I’ve been considering, my favorite book will shift.  I’m a lot like that with food too.  Oh, coffee.  My favorite.  Mmm, tacos.  I love tacos.  Baba ganoush – love it!  My tastes and interests vary greatly whether we are talking books, food, knitting, music, art, movies and more.  But that’s the great part of being a nonfiction writer – I get to explore so many topics.

What’s my favorite?  Ask  me three weeks in a row and you will probably get three different answers but each will be true when I give it.