As we continue to celebrate National Non-Fiction November, I’m delighted to welcome Cathy Evans, author of Cat Eyes and Dog Whistles (the Seven senses of humans and other Animals), published by Cicada Books, to the blog. Cathy shares her journey to becoming a non-fiction writer for children. Welcome to the blog Cathy!
How I started writing non-fiction by Cathy Evans
“I’ve come to children’s non-fiction by a slightly unusual route. I worked as a vet, and took a break when my kids were born. Writing has always been a passion of mine, so when my kids were a little older I started writing the occasional article for local papers and websites, and gradually gained confidence. I was drawn to the idea of a book about the senses for kids when I was home schooling my kids. We were doing a lot of work about current events and news/fake news. I started explaining to my older son how our bodies tell us stories through our sensory organs; how the story of the self starts with anatomy, with our bodies telling us what is real. He was surprisingly fascinated by it all. Particularly proprioception – how brilliant is it that you can touch your nose with your finger without seeing either body part?! I pitched it as an idea and within a year Cat Eyes was born!
My editor paired me with Becky Thorns, who is a brilliant illustrator, and who really brought the material to life. I think that there’s such a gap in the market for books that communicate information in an exciting graphic way.
Speaking as a parent, I want my kids to be curious and explore the world, but I don’t necessarily want them doing that online. My son is very much a visual person. He likes text to be broken into chunks and he likes illustration to guide him around the subject matter. Sometimes it’s hard to find science books that do this effectively and which reach out to kids, like my son, who aren’t natural science enthusiasts, but who can be drawn into it by means of engaging text and presentation.
In a world that can be very confusing, factual books can be very reassuring. I believe we need to teach kids how things work – nature, our bodies, the planet – because if there’s anything the past couple years have taught us, it’s that nothing can be taken for granted.”
Find out more about Cathy’s book here. With thanks to Cathy and Cicada Books for contributing this guest post.