Showing posts with label sara latta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sara latta. Show all posts

May 02, 2013

What part will DNA play in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation?

Female DNA was found on a piece of at least one of the explosive devices used in April 15's Boston Marathon bombing. However, police have not yet determined whether or not the DNA discovery indicates a woman's involvement in the attack.

What is DNA? DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule that carries a set of instructions. These instructions tell our cells what to do, which determines physical traits such as eye color or height. The information encoded on the DNA molecule is what makes a person unique.

Available in paperback and library binding

The DNA in the blood can narrow down a list of suspects–clearing the innocent or helping send the guilty to prison. In our book, DNA and Blood: Dead People Do Tell Tales from our True Forensic Crime Stories series, discover how blood pattern analysis and DNA fingerprinting began, how they are used now for crimes like the Boston Marathon bombing, and how they have solved decades-old mysteries.

This book and others in the series are available from EnslowBarnes and NobleAmazon, your favorite independent bookstore or your preferred vendor.

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February 14, 2013

Happy Ferris Wheel Day!

Library Binding ISBN: 978-0-7660-2845-6
Grades 5–6

Library Binding ISBN: 978-0-7660-3964-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4644-0132-9
Grades 1–2

Chicago was chosen to have the 1893 World's Fair. The fair's planners wanted to impress the crowds that were sure to attend. Just four years earlier, the 984-foot Eiffel Tower had been built for the Paris World's Fair. The tower was like an iron bridge to the sky. American civil engineers competed in a nationwide contest for an idea to outdo the French Eiffel Tower.

The boldest ideas were for taller towers. Then one engineer had a different idea. George Ferris drew plans for a 250-foot wheel that could carry over two thousand people high into the sky.Some people think George Ferris got his idea for the Ferris Wheel by watching a water wheel, like this one, near his home.

Mr. Ferris gave the World's Fair directors his drawings for his giant wheel. But the directors decided against a wheel for the fair. They were sure it could not survive Lake Michigan's strong winds.

In November 1892, the World's Fair directors still had nothing to beat the Eiffel Tower. They finally agreed to let George build his wheel but with his own money. George found some wealthy investors who said the 250-foot wheel should be called the Ferris Wheel.

When the fair finally opened on May 1, 1893, George's wheel was not finished. But on June 10, the crew began hanging the thirty-six carriages. Finally, at three o'clock on June 21, 1893, George's Ferris wheel opened for business. A ride on the Ferris Wheel cost fifty cents, which was also how much it cost to get into the fair.

Because George dared to dream big and follow his dream, today millions of people all over the world have a great time riding Ferris wheels.

Today, the London Eye in London, England is one of the world's most famous Ferris wheels. About ten thousand people ride it each day. Currently, the world's largest observation wheel is the Singapore Flyer.

But world's largest Ferris wheel may be coming to New York City's Staten Island waterfront with construction to possibly begin in early 2014.  The proposed wheel would stand at approximately 625 feet.

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November 29, 2012

Interview With Author, Sara Latta

What do these books all have in common? Yes, they are all Enslow books. But besides that, they were all written by author, Sara Latta. We thought it would fun to share our interview with Sara, a girl who was raised on a dairy farm in Kansas and grew up to become an author. Enjoy!

Enslow: Has anything in your upbringing influenced your interest in writing nonfiction?
Sara: I'm a science writer, so my interest in nonfiction grows out of my love of science. I was raised on a farm, and I was captivated by the world around me. I studied the behavior of red ants and discovered that they will bite when provoked. That was a painful lesson! My mother was understanding of dead birds in the freezer and the experiments with baby teeth and sugar. I thought I'd be a scientist when I was in college; I had a double major in Microbiology and English. It was only when I was in grad school that I realized that I'd rather write about science than DO science. 

Sara Latta at a school visit.

Enslow: If you could give a beginning writer advice, what would it be?
Sara:  Read, read, read, especially in the genre that interests you. And I mean read with a really critical eye. How does the author use everyday language to express complex issues? What is the role of narrative--everyone likes a good story! Familiarize yourself with your subject. Since I am a science writer, this often requires reading a lot of technical articles, but when you interview a scientist about his or her work, you want to show that you've done your homework in advance.
Enslow: Can you recall a specific challenge you had writing any of these books?
Sara:  You know, the three forensic science books (Bones: Dead People DO Tell Tales; Cybercrime: Data Trails DO Tell Tales; and DNA & Blood: Dead People DO Tell Tales) posed a real psychological challenge to me. I spent a good amount of time immersed in and writing about really horrible people and their horrific deeds. I wanted to tell the stories of how investigators used forensic science to solve real crimes, but I had to make sure the stories were appropriate for middle grade readers. It wasn't always easy.

Enslow: How did you overcome it?
Sara:  I finished the books.
Enslow: What is your main concern when writing nonfiction for children or young adults?
Sara: Well, good writing is good writing, so that's the main thing. But writing for children and young adults also requires putting yourself into the mind of the reader. I try to think about the metaphors that they would understand, and which concepts can they handle, especially those that might be disturbing or too abstract. But I think the key is to not underestimate the intelligence and curiosity of kids, and I don't talk down to them. I assume that they haven't bought into the idea that physics or chemistry or biology is hard. I'm hoping that my readers are the kind of kids who found out the hard way that red ants bite when provoked.
Enslow: Do you write only nonfiction?
Sara: I wrote a picture book about dark matter (Stella Brite and the Dark Matter Mystery, Charlesbridge, 2006), which is fiction but about science--something my friend Jacqueline Houtman calls sciencey fiction. And I have a couple of unfinished young adult fiction manuscripts that I hope will someday appear on bookshelves.
Enslow: Where is your favorite writing space?
Sara: My office. I'm fortunate that I have a room of my own, as Virginia Woolf put it. My husband bought me a comfortable writing chair, and I also have a sofa for reading and/or napping as the need arises. 

Sara's writing space.
Enslow: What types of books do you enjoy reading?
Sara: I classify my books into two categories. I am a huge fan of audio books; I listen to them while walking, exercising, driving, doing dishes and laundry, etc. I tend to listen to mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction. I listened to all of the books in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The books I sit down and actually read are all over the map--fiction and nonfiction. I write a YA book review column for our local newspaper, so I read a lot of books for young adults. One of my favorites this year was Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity.

Enslow: Who would you trade places with for a day?
Sara: I'd love to be an explorer, to go where no one has gone before. The last great unexplored frontier today is the deep ocean, so I guess I'd like to trade places with an oceanographer and explorer like Sylvia Earle. I'm afraid she would find my life a bit dull, however.