Science Book a Day Interviews Loralee Leavitt


Special thanks to Loralee Leavitt for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Candy Experiments

Loralee Leavitt received the Highlights Pewter Plate Award for Nonfiction Feature of the Year, Independent Readers for the “Candy Experiments” article published in Mothering magazine, and her articles in ParentMap helped that magazine win a Gold Award from Parenting Publications of America.  A popular freelance writer, she regularly contributes to CricketScoutingPocketsBoys’ QuestFun for KidzWriters’ Journal, and Highlights.  She has given Candy Experiments presentations at local and national events, school classrooms, science fairs, Halloween parties, and farmers’ markets.  Loralee lives in Kirkland, Washington, with her husband and three kids. – From Andrew McMeel Publishing

Loralee’s Homepage:

#1 – What was the impetus for writing Candy Experiments? I imagine you have a background in science as well?

When my oldest daughter was four, she asked if she could put some of her Halloween Nerds in water. She dissolved them and turned the water purple, and then we threw it away. A few days later, she asked again, and that’s when it hit me–she was ready to dissolve all of her Halloween candy (the candy I didn’t want her to eat anyway).  We covered the table with bowls of water and started dropping candy in. Then we started seeing crazy things, like floating M&M m’s. At some point, I also started seeing science principles at work, and we decided to develop a whole collection to teach science.

I do have a background in science. I took chemistry classes and minored in physics when I was in school, and then became a technical writer.

#2 – I believe you have divided the 50+ experiments in the book into various chapters. How have you organised the book?

I tried to organize the book by theme or subject. For instance, in Secret Ingredients I wrote about hidden extra ingredients in candy, like bubbles and glaze, and other things I was surprised to learn that candy contained.

#3 – What is your favourite experiment?

Dropping sour Warheads into baking soda water has been a crowd-pleaser from day one.  I also like dipping cotton candy into water and watching it disappear from the bottom up.

#4 – What has the response to you book been? From kids? Teachers? Parents?

I’ve gotten lots of emails from teachers and parents who love having a way to interest their kids in science and destroy some extra Halloween candy at the same time.  I also hear from a lot of kids, especially during science fair season–they have lots of favorite candy experiments they want to turn into science fair displays.

#5 – Are you working on any books/projects you can tell us about?

I recently got the great news that my publisher was begging for another Candy Experiments book. So I’m working on a follow-up collection with fun experiments like jumping Pop Rocks and color-changing gummy bears.

I also recently published Road Tripping, a book for families planning car trips. Although it’s very different from Candy Experiments,  I used some of the same tactics, finding fun activities and promoting family together time.

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