Sierra Vista High School
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hello, Grades 10-12!
I spent a day with you recently talking about researching and writing nonfiction.
I began by telling you how I was inspired by Lindow Man, a bog body I discovered in 1990 in the British Museum in London, England. For me, it was an unforgettable experience and led to the writing of my first archaeological picture book, Bodies from the Bog. I showed you a few examples of bog bodies, including Grauballe Man (from Denmark) and Yde Girl (from the Netherlands).
That book led to the next book, Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii. I described the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 that 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.
My third book was Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past. I explained how I really knew nothing about glaciers when I began my research (this is true of all my books, really), but my research taught me the basic facts that enabled me to write the book. I mentioned Ötzi, who is my favorite glacier mummy, and the many mistakes that were made when he was recovered from the ice.
Finally, I took you through you the three steps I follow in writing nonfiction. I hope you could see that writing nonfiction (or a research paper, for that matter) is not hard if you just follow some simple steps.
I had a wonderful visiting your school and talking to you. I especially want to thank your teachers who signed you up for this experience and your librarian, Mrs. Karen Simons, who arranged my visit and made sure the day went smoothly.
Keep writing and reading and researching!