We have a treat for you this week! I have been chatting with the lovely ladies over at the wonderful blog Mud Puddles to Meteors for a little while now about their great new ebook, The Weather Watcher's Handbook: a family guide to weather science. This book is so great we just had to share it, Dawn and Annie were kind enough to do a little interview with us, and here it is!...
Q: What made you guys want to write this book?
A: This book actually started as a much bigger project that encompassed many different aspects of nature but as we started writing we realized that to really share all that we wanted to, it would need to be in smaller chunks and a more accessible format.
Writing about the weather was a natural place to start for us because we both love weather science and the seasonal shifts that take place during the year. We wanted to make something fresh and family friendly to share the fun of simple weather science with families, and with children young and old.
A: We wanted the book to be something easy for families to access and use right away. Since Annie already had a great background with publishing Alphabet Glue it was a natural fit for us to publish this as an ebook and share it with families in a quick and economical way.
Q: What weather backgrounds do you both have?
A: We are both avid weather watchers and have lived in a variety of climates. We have also spent years doing experiments and research with our own children and wanted to share these experiences with other families. We are certainly armchair weather scientists and don’t have any formal training, but our children have turned us into pretty avid researchers!
Q: What influence did your kids have in writing the book?
A: As you know, kids are naturally curious, so our own children simply extend our personal curiosities about the way things work. It is wonderful to be able to view the world through the eyes of a child again and to help them find answers to their amazing questions; questions about things we often take for granted because we have known about them for so long. The open nature of the questions they ask is a huge inspiration.
Q: There is a good balance of easy to understand and complex information in the book. How did you decide what to include, and how did you keep it approachable, without compromising on information?
A: Wow! This was actually really tough. We tried to pick topics that would be common to the experience of most families; things that they may see at the park or the backyard, then could come in to read about in the book.
There are some really complex topics in the book that we felt it was important to add so that readers would gain a better understanding of the weather as a whole world system that functions beyond what is happening right outside their own window. We worked really hard to distill that information in a way that would be accessible for the average person, or even an older child who is reading this book independently. We spent a lot of time editing to make concepts simple while keeping the basics of the concept intact.
Q: The experiments in this book are so fun, what is your favorite?
A: Oh, that is hard. The kids had so much fun with all of the experiments.
At Dawn's house the ice orbs have been a favorite for years. The air pressure eggs were also a huge success and the kids loved seeing the egg get sucked right down into the jar; they wanted to do it over and over again. Snowflake hunting is always a favorite activity. When it starts to snow there is almost always an immediate check to see what kind of flakes are coming down!
At Annie's house the air pressure egg was probably the big winner, but her daughter also really enjoyed playing around with the plans for the making hail project. It was fun for her to be on the idea end of things, working to find a way to design the activity to make it as fun and colorful as possible.
Q: What are your hopes for the book?
A: We hope that this book will inspire families to take a closer look at the weather and how it affects our daily lives. And also to learn how isolated weather events are actually part of a much bigger world weather system, taking the small very concrete events to the very big much more abstract concepts.
Q: We love the accessible from anywhere format, along with the great information. Are there any other books in the works?
A: We are very excited to report that we do have another book in progress. We recently signed on to write what we think is going to be a wonderful book for Roost Books. This book will have great appeal to families who love both art and nature, just then kind of families who appreciate the kinds of projects you share here on Imagine Childhood, and are found within the pages of Alphabet Glue and on the Mud Puddle to Meteors blog.
Q: You have a beautiful blog that focuses on the natural world around us, tell us a little more about Mud Puddles to Meteors.
A: First of all, thank you for your kind words about Mud Puddles! The blog was created as a natural extension of our desire to share nature with other families. The natural world is a huge part of our family lives and we are constantly looking for resources to further our own knowledge, and to share our love of nature with our children.
We wanted a site that was visually pleasing, and highlighted beautiful nature photography to inspire families, like the photos found in our Monday "Nature in Your Neighborhood," and Tuesday "Hitting the Trail" posts. We also wanted it to be a resource that families could come to for information, printables, and projects. Each Wednesday we feature a creature, plant, or some other aspect of nature in our "What's That? Wednesday" posts. That post is supplemented with a PDF that includes a fact sheet, photos and other activities for families to work on, or add to their own nature journals or lap books for projects. We also have book reviews and share nature posts and articles we find around the net.
Occasionally we host exchanges to encourage families to connect with one another and to share a part of their own world in order to foster learning about new places and the nature found there. From the outset, we really loved the idea of creating an online community for nature loving families who share a common goal of raising their kids to regard the world with wonder and curiousity.
Q: What is your idea of a perfect weather kind of day?
"Our family would love this book, thanks for the giveaway!"
Thank you to everyone who participated!