For teachers, parents and anyone looking for “school-at-home” nonfiction books, Nomad Press is an excellent resource for activity-based nonfiction books. With Nomad’s informational series, students not only “read about” important topics of our times but also investigate, “ask about” and “do about” these topics.
First I tried out several of their books. I found excellent information combined with engaging activities and challenging questions. Topics include a large diversity of science and social science issues — earth, water, human genomes, social justice, civil rights, Black Lives Matter, women in science, girls who dare, etc.
I asked Andi Diehn, senior editor and content marketing manager, questions about the vision and focus of Nomad Press books.
How do you decide what type of activities and “science projects” to include?
Andi: We look for projects that are more than simply steps to be followed. We want to get kids thinking about what might happen after the activity or experiment is “complete” and what that means in the larger world. For example, an activity to measure the air pollution in your own yard can be expanded to include an entire neighborhood, and those results can be used to explore the question of air quality around the world and how this is related to climate change. Our authors do an incredible job of finding creative ways to incorporate hands-on learning in every book. This applies to our social studies books, too, which all have research projects or hands-on activities that let kids explore topics even further.
Two books that have become my favorites are Planet Earth and Rivers and Streams.
Andi, tell us about a few of your recent publications and why they are unique. What new books are you excited to tell readers about?
Andi: I’m very excited about a new series we’re publishing this fall that looks at the history and people of the Civil Rights Era and includes lots of questions that encourage kids to examine the social protests we’ve seen in the United States during the last several months. How is the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement similar to the Civil Rights Movement? How is it different? What will people write and say about BLM in 50 years? Kids (and all of us!) need to recognize that history is never firmly buttoned into the past and this set of four new books is a great reminder of that.
Take a look at Nomad Press’s series: Social Justice for Kids. The text is engaging; the historical perspective is comprehensive. To quote from their website:
These past few years have been a lesson in the power of young people to confront a social issue head-on and make their voices heard. We’ve seen walk-outs, demonstrations, marches, interviews, calls for action — teenagers are proving themselves a force to be reckoned with, and it’s an impressive sight, whether or not you agree with their politics.
What can adults do to support them? Besides trying our hardest to ensure their safety, we can also give them context! Beginning with King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Nomad books offer both context and historical perspective.
Then I asked Andi, what is most rewarding — and challenging — about being an editor or publisher?
Andi: The most rewarding part of editing books is seeing the end result in the hands of a young person. Another great thing is hearing a teacher or parent exclaim that THIS book is EXACTLY what they’ve been looking for! What’s most challenging is the current education landscape we’re all struggling to understand. Since books take so long to produce, publishers have always had to strive to see into the future, and with the pandemic changing the very structure of the education system in this country, that view has only gotten cloudier. However, one thing remains certain: kids need books that get them excited about learning, no matter where they are. So that’s our goal.
For writers and illustrators interested in submitting work, what are your guidelines?
Andi: Nomad Press doesn’t actually accept pitches for finished projects at this point (except occasionally from writers we’re already working with) — instead, we consider queries from writers looking for work-for-hire assignments. Authors are very welcome to send along a writing sample and some info on what types of subjects you’re interested in writing about.
This high praise and recognition by Skipping Stones speaks to the mission of Nomad Press:
“Yet another educational and informative book in the Inquire and Investigate series, this volume is of special mention because its subject matter impacts us every day.” (Skipping StonesMagazine Honor Award Winner for Nature and Ecology Books)