Farnsworth Middle School

Guilderland, New York


A short video of my visit created by the librarians

Hello, Grades 6-8! 

I spent three days with you recently, speaking to each grade about a different topic. I told everyone about how I grew up to become a writer (and a college professor) and the types of books I ended up writing.

Grade 6, I spoke to you about my book Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii. I described the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 destroyed Pompeii, explained how Pompeii was rediscovered and excavated, and then outlined how the plaster casts of the victims were made. If you want to know more about the plaster casts and Pompeii, you can visit this page to start.

Grade 7, I spoke to you about my book, Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past. I explained how little I knew about glaciers when I began to research the book and what I learned about them. I then talked about Ötzi and the many mistakes that were made when he was recovered from the ice. I also showed you some other interesting bodies that have been found in melting glaciers. More information about glacier mummies can be found on this page.

Grade 8, I spoke to you about my book, Bodies from the Bog. I explained what bogs are and how the ancient people of Europe used them. I showed you many examples of bog bodies (and a few bog objects) including Yde Girl, Grauballe Man, and the Weerdinge Men. For more information about these bog bodies and many others, you can visit this page,

And I answered many questions at the end of each presentation.

Answering questions

  Each day I met with small groups of students from each grade during lunch to talk about writing and answer questions. We had a great time discussing things over pizza.

   One group of lunchtime students

Autographing books

I had the best time visiting your school. You have two exceptional librarians: Lisa Lehman and Mary Jeanne Dicker. I want to thank them for planning this massive three-day event (and to Ms. Lehman for cooking my lunch on two of those days). 

Keep writing and reading and researching!