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April 8, 2015

BookUp Guest Post --- How Science, Reading and Writing Connect

By Mariam

The kids in the National Book Foundation’s BookUp program do a lot of things --- they participate in an after-school reading group led by an acclaimed, local author. They go on field trips to libraries and bookstores to get their own books. They learn the importance of reading and develop their literacy, social and emotional skills. And, sometimes, they get to go on cool field trips!

Below, Mariam, an 11-year-old BookUp member who is part of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn group, writes about the trip that all Book-Up members took to the New York Academy of Sciences a couple of weekends ago. While there, they not only got to speak to groundbreaking professionals in the science field, but also to Katherine Duckett, who works at the acclaimed science fiction publisher Tor and writes her own speculative fiction.

Below, see Mariam’s post about the field trip, and how science and reading are more related than you might think.

At the field trip to the New York Academy of Sciences, we got to meet people and learn about engineering, science, technology and mathematics. We went around and asked people about their professions in order to learn a bit about them and give them a moment to learn a bit about us.  Here are some of the things that I learned on the field trip:

1)      From one of the professionals, I learned about getting chemotherapy when you have cancer. The medication attacks the body, but they want it to kill the disease and not the person.

2)      From another engineer, I learned how surgeons’ tools are made. They must be as safe as possible but still get the job done.

3)      I enjoyed talking to one of the engineers about my passion for reading and writing. She told me about some of the books she enjoys the most and I told her about mine.

4)      I got to meet one of the people who helped publish the book THE MAD SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO WORLD DOMINATION: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius, edited by John Joseph Adams. She also signed my book, which was really exciting.

The people I met at this field trip inspired me to continue pursuing my goal of becoming a software engineer and an architect. They reminded me how we share information on the internet and through books, and how it’s important to learn from one another --- you can’t just be in your own world and pursue your dreams on your own. They reminded me how important reading and writing is --- without reading and writing, we would be nowhere near where are today, and we wouldn’t contribute anything to the people who will come after us.

Plus, reading and writing can send you on a rollercoaster ride, whether it’s from the emotion that the author has put onto the page or the passion you put into your own phrase. And people who call reading and writing “quiet hobbies” clearly haven’t picked up a book written from the heart, or written a phrase filled with feeling. Because inside your brain, reading and writing get louder than the streets of Manhattan.

I had a blast on the field trip and got to meet people who changed the way I view things in life, and how I view text of every type and genre. So thank you to the people who took time to get to know us and teach us something about what they enjoy doing, as well as my teachers, who gave us the opportunity to attend this meet-up.