Quarto Kids | 23 October 2020Meet the Author: Kate Siber Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Kate Siber, who wrote 50 Adventures in the 50 States and National Parks of the USA, talks about her research process and squeezing lots of information into small spaces! What is your research process like for your books, 50 Adventures in the 50 States and National Parks of the USA? I’m a journalist at heart so I do a lot of interviews. For National Parks, that meant talking to a lot of rangers and people who run educational programs, which was tremendously fun. Basically I asked them: What do kids LOVE about your park? The answers were always delightful: catching salamanders! Looking for bugs under rocks! Sliding down sand dunes on sleds! For 50 Adventures, I spoke with a wide variety of people—a glaciologist in Alaska, coral reef scientists in Florida, a raft guide in West Virginia, a sea kayak outfitter in Washington, a wild bird rescuer in New York City, a foraging expert in Oregon… the list goes on. How did you choose which activities to include in the final book? Anything interesting end up on the cutting room floor? It was quite an equation. I have covered adventure travel and outdoor sports for many years, so I had an abundance of ideas. (Except for states like Delaware and Oklahoma. I had to do some research for those! But dolphin watching and crystal collecting seemed really fun…) Once I put all my ideas into a list, it was a matter of balancing the list with a variety of seasonal activities as well as activities that are more accessible (like hiking) and those that may be more challenging (like ice climbing). We also wanted to make sure that the flow of the book made sense, so we created the list in alphabetical order to make sure, for example, that we didn’t have too many winter scenes all in a row. As far as fun things on the cutting room floor, one was rappeling into Neversink Pit, a famed 162-foot sinkhole with waterfalls and rare ferns in Alabama. So cool! But we thought it might be too far beyond the reasonable capability of kiddos. We were also thinking about inline skating for Atlantic City, New Jersey but then it seemed too ‘80s and I couldn’t even find one place where you could rent skates! Ha ha, so that didn’t seem like a good option. (We went with biking instead.) I do seem to see a resurgence of inline skating here where I live though. What’s up with that? What is your process like for paring down so much information into bite-sized pieces for young readers? Honestly it feels like second nature. I’m a magazine writer so I’m used to writing to very very specific word counts. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself (career, background)? How did your work contribute to this book? I got my start as an intern and then an editor at Outside magazine. Since starting to freelance 15 years ago (!) I have gone from reviewing outdoor gear like sleeping bags and running shoes to adventure travel writing, which took me to places as varied as Bhutan, Fiji, Namibia, Ecuador and the Azores. Over the years, I have interviewed a ton of athletes, outdoor gear product designers, outfitters, guides, travel experts. Now my magazine work focuses more on science, conservation, social issues and mental health. What are you working on now? I am currently working on some personal essays for outlets like Adventure Journal and Outside magazine. I’m also working on a book review of this incredibly cool watercolor-packed field atlas of California forests and a short feature on a non-profit that acts as a digital archive of ancient and hard-to-access rock art sites from around the world. I love things like that. I’m also collecting mountains of apples from the trees in our backyard and trying to figure out what to do with them! Click here to watch Kate’s Quarto Classroom Geography/Physical Education lesson About the author: Kate Siber, author of the award-winning bestseller National Parks of the USA, is a journalist and a correspondent for Outside magazine living in Durango, Colorado. She has tried her hand at almost every adventure activity going, and covers the world’s wild and remote places as well as environmental and social issues. Her writing has been featured in many publications including National Geographic Traveler, National Parks, Preservation, Men’s Journal, and The New York Times. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.