Every book I write presents a unique challenge to me as a researcher and as a writer. Check out my books and learn a bit about the research and writing of each.
In Print Titles
Newest books first.
Part of the Special Reports Series.
Everyone has an opinion about the impact of cancel culture. I had to dig to find actual facts, often turning to the work of psychologists and communications experts to learn about the impact and effectiveness.
Part of the Classic Rock Bands Series.
When my editor sent the list of potential titles, I jumped at the chance to write about my favorite band. Often I find sources at the library and online because I’m writing about current events, but this time I bought a stack of books that still have place of honor in my office.
Robotics in Health Care
Part of the Hi-Tech Health Care Series
Brightpoint Press, 2022.
This is my second hi-lo title. It was challenging to write about something hi-tech at a low reading level. Researching surgical robots, robots that help sanitize hospital rooms and more was fascinating. It changed forever how I think of robots.
“. . . Two eye-opening titles are standouts. 3D Printing in Health Care informs readers about how bioprinting (printing with living cells) is used to create parts that can be used inside the body, as well as artificial joints and limbs. Robotics in Health Care explains the increasingly varied roles of robots that assist doctors in surgery; deliver medication, meals, and blood samples; clean hospitals; and assist with rehabilitation. VERDICT An excellent choice for classrooms and libraries that will strongly appeal to readers interested in technology.” School Library Journal, 2021.
Being Black in America
Part of the Understanding the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Brightpoint Press, 2021.
I’ve written about race several times before, but this book was my first opportunity to write high interest level/low reading level or hi-lo. I will definitely seek out more work of this type. Check back here for three more hi-lo books I’ve already turned in!
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Part of the Special Reports Series.
With this book, I learned what it takes to impeach an official and just how hard it is to prove a case. I traced the steps in the process as well as how each step was impacted by current events during this presidency. Finding unbiased sources was tough but well worth the effort.
Coronavirus: The Covid-19 Pandemic
Part of the Special Reports Series.
I accepted this assigment early in the health crisis that would become the pandemic. Keeping up with the latest statistics and findings meant updating material severa time throughout the editing process and as the book went to print.
Review for The Impeachment of Donald Trump and Coronavirus: The Covid-19 Pandemic
“This series seeks to explain current events, and it succeeds. Both titles provide a thorough examination of the facts and key people involved. Readers will recognize buzzwords from social media and the news, but these titles put those words in context. Coronavirus focuses on the medical and social aspects of the pandemic with little mention of politics; President Trump’s impeachment is described in a fair and impartial manner . . . As a research source, these books hit all the marks. They feature unbiased information from trusted sources . . . Recommended for libraries.” School Library Journal, 2020.
The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and The Murders of Tupac and Biggie
Part of the American Crime Stories Series.
I jumped at the chance to write The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. I grew up hearing about the assassination because Dad worked at Channel 11 in Lubbock, Texas and was part of the crew keeping the news on the air. Finding accurate information among the conspiracy theories was tough. I sought sources that brought science to the search for answers.
My son encouraged me to take on The Murders of Tupac and Biggie because of my social justice writing. In general, more recent information is easier to find but I had to dig for information on the deaths of these two rappers. This book was a lesson in which deaths the media considers important enough to cover.
Part of the Engineering the Human Body Series.
Focus Readers, 2020.
I knew the phrase stem cells but this book offered me the chance to learn what they are and how they are used in medical research. Because they are a “hot button” political topic, I wanted to know the facts and not just the fables. Reading medical texts and explaining the science to young readers was a challenge.
Earning, Saving, and Investing
Part of the Financial Literacy Series.
Straight text about money could be hard to digest. This book includes worksheets, charts and activities to help readers learn about money and how to make it work for them. In addition to turning in my text manuscript, I got to mock up flow charts, tables, and more.
The Dark Web
Part of the Privacy in the Digital Age Series.
This is another book that my son urged me to take on. He wanted me to know what the Dark Web was about instead of repeating things that I had heard. Smart guy. It was a difficult book to research because most of the people talking about the dark web profit from your fear. I’m not saying it is a sunny, wonderful place but it is a lot more than sex trade and drugs. Keeping this book age appropriate was tricky.
Evolution of Mammals and Evolution of Reptiles
Part of the Animal Evolution Series.
Excited Abdo was doing this series, I asked for two of the titles. I had studied evolution and genetics as an anthropology student but recent gene sequencing had redrawn the Tree of Life which shows how various animals are related. I learned so much about the evolution of early animals writing these two books!
Puggle and Labradoodle
Part of the Top Hybrid Dogs series.
When I took this assignment, I thought, “Dogs are funny. This is going to be a cinch.” I hadn’t considered how hard it would be to find accurate information. Breeders want to make sales and these dogs are hybrids so there was no recognized breed organization. Still I dug and uncovered what I needed to write two books that have children asking their parents, “Can we get one?”
Meth and Steroids
Part of the Drugs in Real Life series.
The War on Drugs has been such a big part of American life for so long, I wanted to find out more about it. I quickly found out how difficult it is to research an illegal activity. Every source I could find was biased in some way unless it had been published by the medical community.
The Debate about the Electoral College
Part of the Pro-Con series.
Focus Readers, 2018.
I went into this book with firm opinions about the Electoral College. After all, shouldn’t we as a democracy use the popular vote? My research revealed how the College functions to give people a voice in American politics. As with so many of my books, I had to learn before I could explain the topic to my readers.
“The uses here are far-reaching, not only as a resource for teaching constructive listening and debating skills, but also for providing a balanced look at current cultural and societal conversations.” School Library Journal
Co-authored with Duchess Harris. Part of the News Literacy series.
Whether you go online to find information on to play games, you encounter ads. Researching this book taught me to recognize ads disguised as search results and content. I also learned how targeted advertising works.
The Dakota Access Pipeline
Part of the Special Reports series, Set 3.
I wrote this book while the events at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota were still unfolding. I quickly found that pro-oil and anti-oil sources were biased to the point that every fact had to be questioned. But this book gave me the opportunity to combine history and anthropology as well as the science of oil extraction in a single book.
What Are Race and Racism?
Part of the Race in America series
Everyone’s daily lives are affected by race and racism in America. What Are Race and Racism? examines the complex meanings of these concepts, what roles they play in society, and how they affect individuals in America today.
Professional Gaming Careers
Part of the E-Sports: Game On! series
Norwood Press, 2017
This book excited my son and my nephews. I’m a casual gamer, as in I have a handful of games I enjoy although I would never claim any skill. Still this book took me far beyond my living room, into another world with sponsorships, massive competitions, and live streams.
The Zika Virus
Part of the Special Reports series, Set 2
The Zika Virus was headline news while I was researching this book. Each educational title I write is reviewed by an academic expert. For this book the virologist sent me articles and various sources that were recently released and still difficult to access. I researched not only how viruses work but how communities work to keep people healthy.
Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA
Co-authored with Duchess Harris
Part of the Hidden Heroes series
Ninety-nine percent of the time, my editor approaches me and asks me to write a book. Duchess approached the publisher because her grandmother was one of these women. I was honored to work on this book with her. Getting to bring this story to life as we researched the history, the science, and the math was a beautiful challenge.
Women in Science and Women in Sports
Part of the Women’s Lives in History series
Researching the titles in this series wasn’t a struggle. After all, there have been so many influential women in every area of life. What was tricky was narrowing down who to present and, in the book about science, explaining their work. Because, in all truth, what a theoretical mathematician does was tricky to explain.
Part of the Essential Library of World War I
When I accepted this title, I didn’t realize how little time American soldiers spent in the trenches compared to the British, French and Russians. Not only did I get a better grasp on the timeline of WWI, I also learned that it is a lot easier to research this particular war if you read French.
12 Incredible Facts about the Cuban Missile Crisis
Part of the Turning Points in US History Series
12 Story, 2016
Step 1. Research the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Step 2. Come up with exactly 12 chapters to encompass it all.
Before researching this book, I had read about the military aspects but not the world politics or the unbelievable tension that shrouded the nation as Americans worried and waited for the worst to happen.
The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
Part of the Essential Library of World War II.
Find unbiased sources. That’s one of the first rules of research, but a true challenge when writing about World War II or any other war. This book gave me the opportunity to study the Japanese strategy behind the attack as well as insight into the opportunities American intelligence missed before it took place.
Black Lives Matter
Part of the Special Reports series
When my editor contacted me about this, my first question was “how did you know I live near Ferguson?” This book was my opportunity to write about the shooting of Michael Brown, a horrible event that impacted my community. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. This was my first book with Duchess Harris. She brought her academic expertise to the project. I combed through court documents and coroners reports as we pulled together a book about police shootings across the U.S.
Part of the Ancient Civilizations series
A double thrill — my first book and an anthropology topic. I knew about the Maya but quickly discovered that recent discoveries meant I had new material to learn. Working on this book was definitely a joy as I learned new material as I wrote about archaeology and chemistry.
Out of Print Titles:
Gertrude Ederle versus the English Channel
Before this was an e-book, it appeared in Read as reader’s theater, a play to be read in the classroom. This piece challenged me to discover the girl behind the headlines, the swimmer who conquered the English Channel in a time before wet suits.