The first time I met Lynn Brunelle, she asked for ground pepper. A whole dish of it! And our host was happy to provide it because we were dining al fresco, being harassed by wasps. Evidently, wasps do not like pepper and after it was placed on the table, we finished our meal in peace. Lynn knows her science. Which is why you absolutely need a copy of her newest book, An Official Geek Mama Guide:
BIG SCIENCE FOR LITTLE PEOPLE– 52 Activities to Help You and Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science (Roost Books).
It’s that time of year when we find ourselves mingling at parties. Halls are decked and people sparkle. There is merriment and openness in the air. There are new people to meet.
“What do you do?” a person I just meet asks.
“I’m a writer.” I say.
“A writer! Wonderful!” she says. “What do you write? Have I read it?” The question is asked with enthusiasm.
“Science stuff, mostly.” I take a sip of my jolly cocktail and smile.
“Oh. . . interesting.” Her enthusiasm is replaced by a sudden interest in someone that she waves to over my shoulder.
Nothing stops a party conversation more quickly than saying you’re a science geek. I can tell she wants to leave but I begin to gush. She is trapped.
“I know, I know. A lot of people don’t like science. It’s a problem. Our country isn’t hugely science literate and our kids need to be! I never liked science when I was a kid and now I love it!”
She looks at me. “What changed?”
“My perspective. I used to think science was just another subject and that meant I had to memorize a lot of facts and equations. That’s how I was taught. You?”
“I guess, yeah. I suppose I thought it really had nothing to do with me and my life.”
“That’s why I write about it!” I was on a roll; the horse was galloping. “I write about science because I want to show that it’s a way of looking at the world. Science is all about wonder. It starts with a mystery, a question, a problem. Why? How? It’s the same reason paintings, books, poems and movies are made. It’s stories.”
“Like what?” she asks, but now she is looking at me and no longer sneaking peeks around the room for any excuse to leave.
“Ok, like, uh . . . gecko feet.”
“Did you ever wonder how those little lizards can walk up walls without falling down?”
“I guess, yeah, How do they do that, suction cup toes?”
“Nope. They have these really tiny hairs on the bottom of their feet. The hairs are so small that the molecules in them share magnetic exchange with the molecules of the wall!”
“I know! And the applications of that . . . well, just imagine! And there’s so much more—like glowworms that cling to the ceilings of caves and drop snot lines down that glow. Insects fly in and think they’re outside. They fly up into the “stars” and get stuck in the snot and then swallowed.”
“Ew.” She is laughing now. “I’m not sure about the applications of that!”
I can’t stop myself. “Microbes can’t grow on sharkskin, salmon bring nutrients from the sea to the forest so big trees will grow, chickens are related to dinosaurs, this cheese puff and you and I are made of star dust . . . and don’t even get me started on dust! Did you know you can walk on raw eggs without breaking them? Make raisins dance? And a ton of other things you can do with stuff you already have around the house.”
I pause to breathe. I take a sip of my drink. She is waving again to someone behind my back. I look around to see who else I might know, so I can leave and give this poor woman a break.
“Hey, Tony!” she says to the back of the room. “Come here! You’ve got to meet this writer . . .”
She smiles at me. “And I thought this party was going to be boring.”
A four-time Emmy Award-winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Lynn has over 25 years of experience writing across all manner of media. A former classroom science, English and art teacher, editor, illustrator, and award-winning author of over 45 titles, Lynn has created, developed and written projects for Chronicle, Workman, National Geographic, Scholastic, Random House, Penguin, A&E, The Discovery Channel, Disney, ABC TV, NBC, NPR, Cranium, and PBS. Her latest book for kids, Big Science for Little People: 52 Activities to Help You & Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science was released this October.