I originally wrote this post as a book review, but after three or four edits, I realized that I couldn't mask my biased opinion about the new children's book, Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! Simply put, I adore this book, as well as author Amelia Frahm, and have something of an emotional stake in its success. So, I decided it would be better to just share the reasons I love this book without trying to hide my enthusiasm.
Amelia Frahm has a gift for shedding light and humor on some of the most difficult issues we face as individuals and as a society. Her pathway for sharing her gift is as an educator and writer of children's books. She also happens to have considerable professional experience in the realm of nuclear public relations.
A little over a year ago, Amelia contacted me about her latest book, which was to cover the daunting subject of nuclear power. I was very excited at the prospect of a nuclear energy children's book, but knew too well the challenges of taking on such a complex subject.
We spoke about our past outreach efforts and it turns out that we had a great deal of overlap-myself as an art teacher to children suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses, and Amelia as a cancer survivor turned cancer educator. In her book, Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy! Frahm makes understanding cancer possible, even fun for kids. She tells the story from a young girl's perspective, and delves into the upheaval of the entire family after her mother is diagnosed with cancer. Somehow she covers this difficult subject with honesty, humor, and humility, perhaps due to the autobiographical nature of the book.
I quickly realized that if anyone could take information about nuclear physics, grid transmission, and probable risk assessment and make it fun for kids, it was Amelia. And that is exactly what she did.
I was lucky to watch the book grow over time, to see the text and images slowly come together on the pages. It was an exciting and inspiring process to witness. When she would send me drafts requesting feedback, I struggled to give her any helpful thoughts, because she was doing such a phenomenal job.
Immediately after the events at the Fukushima Diiachi power plant, Amelia and I both distraught at the misinformation flying around, agreed that she had to finish the book, to publish it as soon as possible. It was needed more than ever, and thankfully now this wonderful resource is available to the public.
Nuclear Power: How a Nuclear Power Plant Really Works! has already been recognized with an Independent Publisher's Book Award and a Mom's Choice Award. Parents, teachers, and most importantly, kids love this book. To be perfectly honest, after reading several (actual) reviews of the book, I think the parents and teachers are getting a lot of new information from this book as well!
I want to share this new resource with the nuclear community in hopes that you will add it to your tool belt of outreach materials. The next time that someone asks for a good resource about nuclear energy for kids, you don't have to scratch your head and think, "someone really should write a children's book about this," because that book is finally here.
Suzy Hobbs Baker is the executive director ofPopAtomic Studios, a non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of visual and liberal arts to enrich the discussion on nuclear energy. Hobbs Baker is an ANS member and a frequent contributor to ANS Nuclear Cafe.