Special thanks to Nick Arnold for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Terrible Truth About Time (Horrible Science)
Nick Arnold is the author of the award winning series, Horrible Science and Wild Lives. Arnold’s first published works appeared as a result of a project he was working on at the University of North London, when he was trying to teach young children. A positive review was written about him, and he started to write the “Horrible Science” books. – Wikipedia
Nick’s Homepage: http://www.nickarnold-website.com
#1 – What was the history of the Horrible Science series? Were you involved from the start?
I guess I was. I am not sure when Scholastic decided to publish the Horrible Science series. All I know is that I wrote to them (and lots of other publishers) asking if they wanted any science books written and they asked for ideas for a funny, horrible science series. The result was Ugly Bugs – the first book in the series was published in 1996.
#2 – How do you talk about the Terrible Truth of time and frame it within the Horrible Science series?
When I was at school I never imagined that Science could be funny or horrible – and in fact these aspects are easier to find for some titles than others. In the case of Time, the appeal is really the mystery and weirdness of what time is. I decided to write the book around that mystery. This makes the book rather unusual in the series. Yes, it’s a funny, horrible science book – but it’s also a mystery story.
#3 – Do you have a philosophy about writing about science with your particular audience in mind? Who do you envision your audience to be?
I like to think anyone over the age of six can read a Horrible Science book and enjoy and gain at least something from it. The core audience is children aged about 8 to 14 (a very wide range). What I want to show is notwithstanding the odd jargon Science can be very personal to their lives and experiences and is actually easy to understand – as long as they engage their imagination. My job is to to engage their imagination. Apart from that I’m on the side of rational enquiry and human kindness although it would not be appropriate to present the reader with any overt “philosophy”.
#4 – What has the response to the Horrible Science series been?
Well, we’re having this conversation 18 years after the first book came out so I guess they’ve passed the test of time. Publishing is international these days – and so is Science. This means that the readership of Horrible Science is worldwide. I think the books have been published in over 40 languages. I get emails from children all over the world from China to the USA. In my experience children all over the planet tend to laugh at the same things and everyone seems to like the books.
#5 – Are you working on any new books/projects you can tell us about?
At present I am at a bit of crossroads – I want to write new series and I am developing new ideas for them. I am also looking forward to writing some more Horrible Science books. Oh yes, and I also travel the world presenting Horrible Science shows. Busy, busy, busy!
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