Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Freshman Common Read Highlight: Lauren Redniss's RADIOACTIVE

Radioactive By Lauren RednissMarie Curie’s achievements include the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium, a theory of radioactivity, and techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first female professor at La Sorbonne. In short, she was amazing, and remains an incomparable role model for girls everywhere.  

Being the consummate overachiever that she was, Curie's personal life may be of as much interest as her professional one, and Lauren Redniss blends the two seamlessly in her totally unique book, Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout, a National Book Award finalist illustrated with over 100 beautiful color collages.  

Redniss's book is more than just the story of the Curies, though. Drawing on original reporting in Asia, Europe and the United States, her interviews with scientists, engineers, weapons specialists, atomic bomb survivors, and Marie and Pierre Curie’s own granddaughter, it illuminates the path from the Curie laboratory past the bright red mushroom clouds in the Nevada desert through Three Mile Island and the advance in radiation therapy and nuclear power today. 

We really think it would be perfect for freshman common read programs (and the University of Wisconsin-Madison agrees), because it touches on so many academic subjects—science, history, ethics—while keeping its readers totally engaged through the personal nature of Redniss’s writing.  

Also, it glows in the dark. If there’s one thing that kids born in the ‘90s share, it’s a unconditional fondness for glow-in-the-dark commodities.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Carrie Goldman, author of BULLIED, Hosts Comic-Con's First Anti-Bullying Panel


Bullied By Carrie GoldmanWhen bullies taunted her first-grade daughter for carrying a Star Wars water bottle and backpack, Carrie decided to share her experience on her blog. The amazing outpouring of support from the internet community inspired her to form the Anti-Bullying Coalition and write Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.  Sunday afternoon, Carrie moderated the first-ever anti-bullying panel at Comic-Con in San Diego, which she hopes to bring to other pop culture conventions across the country.
Comic-Con social dynamics provide a perfect example of the sometimes blurry line between bully and bullied that Carrie explores in her work. Within geek culture, there is a sizable amount of victimization (male versus female, hardcore gamers versus casual gamers, cosplay feuds), often at the hands of people who were once bullied themselves. Carrie hopes that open discussion will encourage those who were harassed in their youth to use their unique perspectives and experiences to become compassionate anti-bullying advocates, instead of perpetuating the cycle of bullying and fear.
Hosting the panel at Comic-Con also provides an unparalleled opportunity for Carrie’s Anti-Bullying Coalition to reach content creators themselves, whose video games, movies, and comics can, and often do, preserve dynamic narratives of oppression. Carrie hopes that mindful media will promote real-world sensitivity, and the healing that many attendees so desperately want and need.
To read Carrie’s article on her experience at Comic-Con, please click here.