By Connie Goldsmith
(Domenica invited Connie Goldsmith, below, to contribute this entry about her new Fall 2010 TFCB single title about malaria.)
Bugs fascinate me. I’m not talking about iridescent scarab beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, or the giant praying mantis. I’m talking about the curvy Ebola virus with its twisted tail, the E. coli bacteria that propels itself with flagella, and the fatal brain-eating prion. Perhaps most interesting to me are the mosquito-dwelling, liver-loving parasites that cause malaria. What can I say? I’m an RN and a nonfiction writer; writing about bugs is my destiny. Somebody’s got to do it, right?
But let’s get serious. Malaria kills a child every thirty seconds, even though the disease is largely preventable and curable. These children live in abject poverty, so we don’t hear much about them. About 90% of the deaths occur in Africa; the rest are in Asia, the Pacific, and South America. If children were dying of malaria in Memphis or Minneapolis, Seattle or Sacramento, Tampa or Tempe, Americans would find a way to stop this devastating disease from killing our children.
I wrote Battling Malaria: On the Front Lines against a Global Killer because I believe it’s important for young people to know more about what’s happening in the rest of the world. I always enjoy research and learning and translating complex medical jargon into everyday language. Writing this book also gave me the opportunity to find intriguing human interest stories about malaria told by people around the globe. I found some of the stories closer to home when members of SCBWI list-serves answered my quest to speak with people who have experienced malaria themselves.
My book opens with a quote from Dr. Terrance Smith, a Northern California physician who spends part of each year working in a clinic deep in the forests of Thailand. I wanted to recognize Dr. Smith and the thousands of other doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who give their time and experience to fight malaria around the world. My book is dedicated to them, and to the extraordinary generosity of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to reduce health inequities in the United States and around the world by helping all people lead healthy, productive lives.
Because of my years in the medical field, I enjoy writing about health topics for different reading levels. For example, Battling Malaria is aimed at a YA audience. When I finished the book, I wrote a continuing-education article for nurses on the same topic.
It takes a team to make a book. Thanks to the excellent editorial and production staff at Lerner Publishing Group, and the outstanding color photographs, I’m delighted with how my book looks. Thank you, Lerner!
(Thanks, Connie, and don’t forget to check in next week for more from TFCB.)