“With all these questions spinning around in my head, I never had a boring moment.”—J. C. Greenburg
J. C. Greenburg is the author of many books for young people in the library and reference field. She's a frequent visitor to schools and pays close attention to kid feedback. She's married to Dan Greenburg, author of The Zack Files, and lives in New York.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“I’ll be landing at the airport in thirty minutes,” said Uncle Al. “Right now I want you to think about the sign over my office door.”
“Oh yeah!” Andrew nodded. “It says, ‘Questions have many answers.’”
“You’ve got it!” said Uncle Al. “It’s the best magic I know. It works for anything. You can use it to make a pizza, find new planets, or get unshrunk!”—from Andrew Lost in the Garden
“I just want you to be normal!” my mother used to say pleadingly—and often. She said it when she found me digging for dinosaur bones in the backyard. She said it when she found the orchid plants I was growing under my bed. (That was before I knew plants need light!) She said it in the grocery store when, instead of asking for candy or cereal, I asked for a Venus Fly Trap.
Poor Mom. She wanted a normal kid. I wanted to see platypuses and figure out how flies walk across the ceiling without falling off. And just how giant is a Giant Gippsland Earthworm anyway? With all these questions spinning around in my head, I never had a boring moment.
I also loved to write. So when I graduated from college, I found the perfect job for me. I became an editor of science books. I worked on books about volcanoes and stars and weather and math. I especially loved helping authors who wrote about living things. The biologists were such fun!. And they, too, loved to ask questions.
Now here was the best part about my job: If I had a question about anything, I could call an expert anywhere in the world to find an answer. Experts are people who love to study things like earthquakes and ants and octopuses. Experts are people who want to tell you what they know about what they love!
After many happy years of working on other people’s books, I decided it was time to write my own. I had learned a lot about things that interested me: why spiders don’t stick to their own webs, why insects can never grow as big as the ones in horror movies, what the inside of the earth is made of. And I still had a TON of questions. Maybe there were kids who were interested in the things I was interested in. That’s when I came up with the idea for “Andrew Lost.”
Now there are two favorite parts of my work as an author. I still get to call anyone in the world to ask questions. For example, a little while ago, I needed facts on blue whales, the biggest creatures that have ever lived, for Andrew Lost in the Whale. I called two experts. We had interesting conversations about what a blue whale’s tongue looks like and whether a 10-year-old could squeeze through a whale’s intestines.
My other favorite part of being an author is visiting schools and talking to kids about everything from the cute creatures that live upside down in our eyelashes to the giant squid that lives in the deepest ocean.
If you asked me how to guarantee that your life would be interesting, I’d tell you this: Come up with some questions and look for answers. You’ll meet some terrific people, have lots of fun, and you will never ever be bored.