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Kathleen Krull

Paul Brewer

What a conversation starter for a classroom or the dinner table: Can you imagine life without TV?

 

I can't even imagine it, and I'm old. Not that old, but I'll admit to this much: I doubt very much that the Krulls were the first family on their block in Wilmette, Illinois, to get a TV. My mom was pretty sure TV rotted your brain, but once we got one, she did let us watch The Wizard of Oz movie every year and a few other shows. So we had a lot more time for that other thing . . . what is it called . . . oh, right—reading books.

 

Anyway, going all the way back to 1920—and it's really not that long ago—there was no such thing as TV. My new book is about a supersmart boy named Philo Farnsworth who came up with the idea for inventing one. Yes, a boy—he was only fourteen years old. In between chores on his family's farm in Idaho, Philo played with machines and followed the latest developments in science, such as electricity.

 

One day he was out plowing the potato fields, he looked behind him at the rows of dirt he was forming, and suddenly his quirky ideas all came together for a television using electricity. Amazing.

 

It took him several more years to build the first model, with a few explosions along the way, and there's a lot more to tell about his story. But I wanted to frame it by emphasizing just how drastically Philo Farnsworth changed the world. So I start by describing how harsh and lonely it must have been growing up in the American West of the early 1900s. Before Philo.

 

One of the many things I liked about him was that he genuinely wanted to help humanity, bring people closer together, maybe even bring about world peace, and he thought his machine was the way to do it.

 

What do you think—has TV helped or hurt humanity, and in what ways? As for me, there are some shows I believe to be the end of civilization as we know it. There are certain other shows I couldn't live without.

 

But I still think books are more important than TV. I say turn off the TV and read, read, read. My motto is "There's no such thing as reading too much."

 

Let the debate begin. . . .

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative approach to biographies for young readers. Her books include The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum; The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss, the Lives of . . . series of collective biographies, the Giants of Science series; and more as featured at www.kathleenkrull.com. Kathleen lives in San Diego, with her husband, children's book illustrator Paul Brewer.


Author Bookshelf

A Boy Named FDR

By: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Franklin D. Roosevelt was born into one of the wealthiest families in America, yet this ultimate rich kid grew up to do more for ordinary Americans than any other president. This appealing picture book biography...

It's My Earth, Too

By: Kathleen Krull
illustrated by: Melanie Hope Greenberg

It’s never too early to begin learning about the beauty and bounty of Planet Earth. And now with this bright and rhythmic tribute, young children will find out all the ways in which they, too, can...

Jim Henson: The Guy Who Played with Puppets

By: Kathleen Krull
illustrated by: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Sesame Street and The Muppet Show introduced Jim Henson's Muppets to the world, making Kermit the Frog, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird household names. But even as a child in rural Mississippi, listening to the...


The Boy on Fairfield Street

By: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Award-winning author Kathleen Krull zeros in on the formative first 22 years of the life of Ted Geisel. This is the first picture book biography of Dr. Seuss, written especially for his young fans who want to know what made...

The Boy Who Invented TV

By: Kathleen Krull
illustrated by: Greg Couch

An inspiring true story of a boy genius.

Plowing a potato field in 1920, a 14-year-old farm boy from Idaho saw in the parallel rows of overturned earth a way to “make pictures fly through...

The Road to Oz

By: Kathleen Krull
illustrated by: Kevin Hawkes

KATHLEEN KRULL’S LIVELY text traces the life of L. Frank Baum from his dreamy privileged childhood in mid-19th-century upstate New York through the many detours on his road to Oz. A failure as an actor,...


Giants Of Science Isaac Newton

By: Kathleen Krull

Here is a man with an imagination so large that just ?by thinking on it,? he invented calculus and figured out the scientific explanation of gravity. Kathleen Krull presents a portrait of Isaac Newton...

Sigmund Freud

By: Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull proves Sigmund Freud deserves a place in her much-lauded series, because he essentially created a brand-new branch of medicine: psychoanalysis.

Giants Of Science Benjamin Franklin

By: Kathleen Krull

The electrifying biography of innovative scientist Benjamin Franklin is the perfect addition to this outstanding series!
Benjamin Franklin is a famous colonial inventor and multitasker who may be best remembered as one of America’s Founding Fathers. But he...


Giants Of Science:Charles Darwin

By: Kathleen Krull

“An illuminating, humanizing portrait of a famous scientist.” —Booklist, starred review

All his life, Charles Darwin hated controversy. Yet he takes his place among the Giants of Science...

Giants Of Science:Albert Einstein

By: Kathleen Krull

"Another standout in a uniformly stellar series.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review



“[An] engrossing and remarkably accessible biography.” —The Horn Book
 Albert...




What Was The March On Washington?

By: Kathleen Krull

On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, to demand equal rights for all races. It was there that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech,...


What Was The Boston Tea Party?

By: Kathleen Krull

"No Taxation without Representation!" The Boston Tea Party stands as an iconic event of the American Revolution—outraged by the tax on tea, American colonists chose to destroy the tea by...

Kubla Khan

By: Kathleen Krull

Always cast in a supporting role in the many books about Marco Polo, the great Kubla Khan now takes center stage in a splendid picture-book biography. He is a wonderful subject-a man who liked to live...

Giants Of Science: Benjamin Franklin

By: Kathleen Krull

Sure, almost all kids know Benjamin Franklin as one of America’s Founding Fathers, a man with a hand in both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. And they may even have some vague idea that...


Albert Einstein

By: Kathleen Krull

Albert Einstein. His name has become a synonym for genius. His wild case of bedhead and playful sense of humor made him a media superstar?the first, maybe only, scientist-celebrity. He wasn?t much for...

Giants Of Science Charles Darwin

By: Kathleen Krull

All his life, Charles Darwin hated controversy. Yet he takes his place among the Giants of Science for what remains an immensely controversial subject: the theory of evolution. Darwin began piecing together...



A Woman For President

By: Kathleen Krull

Pocahontas

By: Kathleen Krull


Louisa May's Battle

By: Kathleen Krull

Marie Curie

By: Kathleen Krull and Boris Kulikov

Giants Of Science: Marie Curie

By: Kathleen Krull and Boris Kulikov

Marie Curie, the woman who coined the term radioactivity, won not just one Nobel Prize but two?in physics and chemistry, both supposedly girl-phobic sciences.


Giants Of Science Leonardo Da Vinci

By: Kathleen Krull

Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are mind-boggling evidence of a fifteenth-century scientific genius standing at the edge of the modern world, basing his ideas on observation and experimentation. This...

Charles Darwin

By: Kathleen Krull

Benjamin Franklin

By: Kathleen Krull


Albert Einstein

By: Kathleen Krull

Sigmund Freud

By: Kathleen Krull


Giants Of Science Sigmund Freud

By: Kathleen Krull