Sure, the alphabet is responsible for that placement, but I couldn’t be happier about it–or about the fact that my story “Entirely Surrounded by Water” is part of this assemblage of new and classic works of cosmic horror. The title comes from Chapter IX of Winnie-the-Pooh, although I imagine that my late maternal grandmother, who gave me my well-worn copies of Milne some years ago, would not approve of the use to which I have put it. If you get a chance to read the story, I hope you enjoy it. . . .
The Junior Library Guild has named Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: Young Readers Edition as one of its selections. The book, soon to be published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, a Simon & Schuster imprint, will be shipped to some 1,400 school and public librarians who subscribe to JLG. This is a big boost for the book, as being chosen by the JLG generally results in improved visibility and sales. I couldn’t be happier–or more eager for the book to come out.
Just half a year from now, Simon & Schuster will publish my young readers edition of the most important scientific book ever written.
I was twenty-three, an earnest grad student in English, when I first read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In the years that followed, as my nonfiction writing career took me deeper into writing science books for kids, I reread the Origin several times, alongside many more recent works on natural history and evolutionary biology. So once I’d published YA adaptations of books by Howard Zinn, Jared Diamond, and others, it was perhaps inevitable that I’d think, “What about Darwin?” And here we are.
A reviewer once called me “the redoubtable Stefoff.” I hope it was redoubtable, not rash, of me to interpret Darwin’s thoughts and words for today’s young readers. (Bonus: Not just for kids. It’s for anyone who’d like to read a shortened, streamlined, illustrated version of the Origin.)
From School Library Journal‘s review of The Third Chimpanzee for Young People, my YA adaptation of Jared Diamond’s book The Third Chimpanzee:
“Adapted for younger audiences by the redoubtable Stefoff . . . this wide-ranging study of what makes us human offers provocative views of evolution, adaptation, cultural diffusion, sexuality, genocide, race, mass extinctions of the past and present, the roots of drug abuse and language, and even the search for extraterrestrial intelligence . . . . Thoughtful readers interested in any fields related to evolutionary science, anthropology, psychology, human history, and culture will find plenty to ponder.”
It would have been nice to have been described as “the famous Stefoff” or “the indecently wealthy Stefoff,” but neither, alas, is true. Being redoubtable–or at least being called redoubtable–is nonetheless awesome. Never doubt it. The OED defines “redoubtable” as “to be feared or dreaded; formidable” and “to be reverenced or revered; commanding respect.” Fear me or revere me, it’s all good!
I’m happy to announce that several of my recent books have gone into new foreign editions. Here are a few of them: from left to right, the Chinese edition of The Young People’s History of the United States, my YA adaptation of Howard Zinn’s Young People’s History; the Azerbaijan edition of the Young People’s History; and the British edition of The Third Chimpanzee for Young People, my YA adaptation of Jared Diamond’s first book, The Third Chimpanzee. More to follow as I get hold of copies.