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Author - MICRO MANIA (New Kids Science Book)
Educational Consultant & Scriptwriter - DINOSAUR TRAIN TV series (PBS)
Monthly Columnist - Sesame Workshop's Parents Web Site
Other Recent Projects


Author - MICRO MANIA (New Kids Science Book)

Micro Mania

SUMMARY
REVIEWS
THE GERM-SPANGLED BANNER (It's the microbes turn to sing!)

SUMMARY

Calling all kids who love the squirmy, icky, buggy, and the generally gross! Loaded with mind-blowing images, fascinating facts, and humor, MICRO MANIA takes readers on an eye-opening tour of a world that's mostly invisible to us. It's an amazing mini-universe that comes into astonishingly large-scale focus on these spectacular pages-furry-green bacteria, creepy crawly bedbugs, foot fungus and more! Written for children ages 8 and up, this book explores the little bugs that make themselves at home in our kitchens, bathrooms, and bodies, and explores why some germs are good and others make us ill-and what we can do to stay healthy. You'll discover why the tiniest of creatures can have a really big impact on our lives.

Photo of Jordan D. Brown

To schedule an author visit to your school or library, contact jordan@jordanDbrown.com


REVIEWS

NSTA Recommends (National Science Teachers Association)
11/24/09

by Daniel Kujawinski
Adjunct professor

In his opening acknowledgements, author Jordan D. Brown thanks his editor "for always pushing me to make it 'grosser.'" He more than followed her advice. From explaining the nature of bacteria to the flatulence of whales, this extremely readable book will be appreciated by the typical middle school student as well as more mature readers.

Scientific vocabulary is used appropriately and in context. The roles of microbes in real-world environments such as kitchens, bathrooms, playgrounds, and pets are discussed, and practical applications are given. The photography is very good. Hands-on activities for extended, open-ended explorations are suggested with clear directions and safety considerations. I recommend this book for outside reading or as a reference text in a middle school library.

Depending on the student-teacher relationship, this book could also be used in a literacy program for reluctant readers. I would bet that after reading Micro Mania, colorful conversations over dinner, on trips, and at inopportune times would be generated with tidbits like "if a cockroach loses it head, it can survive for a week. Eventually it dies of thirst."


"Books to Borrow...Books to Buy" syndicated column by Kendal Rautzhan
March 7, 2010

"Prepare to be amazed and yes - very possibly grossed out. From the billions of tiny creatures that crawl all over your skin to the trillions more that live inside of your body, the mites that live in the follicles of your eyelashes, the over 500 kinds of bacteria that live in your mouth, fleas, ticks, bedbugs, and the disgusting amount of bacteria and fungi that grow in your kitchen sponge - these are just a small fraction of what you'll encounter in this fascinating book. If you want to get kids interested in science, this book is an excellent start. Loaded with information that's written in such a way that not only engages readers but will also make them laugh, "Micro Mania" is guaranteed to educate and fascinate, with just enough gross stuff to keep even reluctant readers zipping through the pages."


The Buffalo News
November 8, 2009

By Gerry Rising

I think that middle-school youngsters will enjoy reading this book, as its language is perfect for them. Some will giggle over a few words that would be edited out of this column, and the following paragraph will suggest the general style:

"Some parts of your body are much more appealing to bacteria than others. In general, if a body part is dark, wet, warm, and stinky, then bacteria will thrive there. Given the choice between a dry elbow and a sweaty armpit, bacteria will go for the sweaty armpit every time. Your mouth is another place where bacteria can find the right conditions to grow like crazy. Bacteria also love to hang out and grow in your underwear, especially if you've just exercised. And it's hard to imagine a darker, wetter, warmer place than the insides of your intestines. that's why your colon is Bacteria City for your body."

What is important, however, is that the book takes youngsters well beyond such informal talk. It is a veritable mine of information about tiny living things, many of which live on or in our bodies. Almost any parents who reads this book with their children will also learn from it; I certainly did.

On just one page, for example, I learned that Anton van Leewenhoek was not the inventor of the microscope but rather improved upon earlier devices, having read about them in a publication by Robert Hooke; that Leewenhoek's microscopes looked more like mousetraps than the tube instruments we use today; and that I had even been pronouncing the Dutch microscopist's name wrong. Brown tells us it is LAY-ven-hook.

Readers of this book will come away with much information about bacteria, viruses, microbes, protozoa and the larger fleas, spiders and silverfish. They will have been encouraged to try projects: making mold, zapping a dirty sponge, preparing a plankton net. And they will be warned about the danger of salmonella infection from handling turtles.


THE GERM-SPANGLED BANNER (Song/Movie)

During author visits to elementary schools and libraries, I sometimes show a short music video I created, featuring a lyric I wrote to the tune of the "Star-Spangled Banner." The song is sung from the point of view of all the invisible critters that surround us, many of which help us survive…May it inspire you to wash your hands regularly - but not turn you into a germaphobe! With apologies to Francis Scott Key, whose remains are probably being devoured by billions of bacteria at this very moment, here is my ode to "the little guys."

 

Educational Consultant & Scriptwriter - DINOSAUR TRAIN TV series (PBS)

Dinosaur Train

THE SHOW:

DINOSAUR TRAIN, a new CGI-animated series from The Jim Henson Company on PBS, embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains while encouraging basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about natural science, natural history and paleontology. Set in a whimsically realistic, prehistoric world of jungles, swamps, volcanoes and oceans, DINOSAUR TRAIN helps kids ages 3 to 6 to apply scientific thinking as they discover new types of dinosaur species, compare and contrast dinosaurs to today's creatures, and learn about paleontology and natural history. Created by Craig Bartlett (Hey Arnold!), the series aims to use kids' fascination with dinosaurs to teach broader concepts about the natural world, and to inspire them to explore nature firsthand.

MY ROLE:

As Curriculum Consultant for Dinosaur Train, I reviewed all 80 scripts for their educational and scientific content, as well and appropriateness for the preschool audience.
  • As scriptwriter, I wrote an upcoming episode "The Wing Kings," in which Buddy and Tiny meet a flying reptile called a Quetzalcoatlus, with a 35-foot wingspan.

  • As Consultant for the Dinosaur Train Web site, I helped develop online games to support the series, and wrote lessons plans for Teachers and at-home activities for parents.
  • TAKE A PEEK:

     

    Monthly Columnist for Sesame Workshop Online

    Characters from Sesame Street

    THE PUBLICATION:

    This free weekly online newsletter from Sesame Workshop.org goes out to approximately 100,000 parents who subscribe to it. The goal is to provide parents of toddlers and preschoolers with information and inspiration about a wide range of topics such as discipline, nutrition, literacy, toilet training, sibling rivalry, and much more. The format features true, often humorous, stories from real parents, with links to practical articles and other resources on the Sesame Workshop web site.

    MY ROLE:

    Since 2003, I've served as the token "dad writer" on the team 2003, cranking out a monthly column about my kids, Finn and Olivia. My approach is to reassure parents (especially beleaguered newbies), help them keep their senses of humor, and offer some tips I've picked up along the way. Thus far, I've written about a variety of topics, including mourning the loss of a pet, celebrating grandparents, nurturing curiosity, handling sleep difficulties, handling temper tantrum, making the most of car time, develop children's sense of humor, fielding quirky questions and much more.

    Sample columns

    Sample 1 (PDF) / Sample 2 (PDF) / Sample 3 (PDF)

    Column Archives (2003-2010)


    Educational Consultant - MY FRIEND RABBIT (Nelvana / NBC)

    Characters from My Friend Rabbit

    THE SHOW:

    Based on the Caldecott Medal-winning book by Eric Rohmann, this animated preschool series follows the adventures of best pals Rabbit and Mouse, and a group of other ebullient animal characters. Whether figuring out how to plug a leaky dam, cheer up a friend, or help a stranded bird, these friends show children that curiosity, friendship and creativity make problem-solving fun! It's the whimsical journey rather than destination that Rabbit, Mouse and their friends love most.

    Meet the Cast

    MY ROLE:

    As Educational Consultant, I worked with the producers and writers to develop the educational mission for the series: To inspire children ages 2-5 to approach problem solving as a social activity that can be filled with optimism, creativity and a positive attitude. In other words, to help children "think out of the box" when facing problems in their daily lives. I fleshed out this mission in an Educational Goals document, which helped secure funding and broadcasters for the series. During the production of the series' 52 scripts, I work closely with the story editors and producers during the key stages of story development (premise, outline/breakdown, first draft script) to insure that each script delivered on its "educational objective" and that the show's learning goals were intertwined with the storylines.


    Educational Consultant for ZIGBY (Thunderbird Films Inc.)

    Zigby

    THE SHOW:

    Based on the popular book by Brian Paterson, this CGI comedy-adventure series for preschools tells the tales of three inseparable pals: Zigby a gung-ho zebra, McMeer, a not-so-bright meerkat, and Bertie, the world's most nervous guineafowl. Set on a jungle isle, Zigby's overactive imagination sometimes "trots them into trouble." But the ever-resourceful, ever-responsible Zigby always finds a way to fix any sticky situations that arise. This series is an ambitious co-production with creative teams in Australia, Canada, and Singapore.

    MY ROLE:

    As Educational Consultant, I developed an Educational Goals document to serve as a resource for writers during script development, and help present the show's goals to potential broadcasters. I reviewed all 52 scripts for each episode of ZIGBY, from outline, to scene breakdown, to first draft script. ZIGBY's educational mission: to inspire children ages 4-6 to follow their curiosity, take responsibility for their actions, persevere when they encounter challenges, and work with others to discover fun, creative solutions.


    Writer, "CRASH: Tale of Two Species" Teacher's Guide

    Cover of 'CRASH: Tale of Two Species' Teacher's Guide

    Teacher's Guide (via Thirteen)

    THE PROJECT:

    This Teacher's Guide, which supports a new NATURE program on PBS, was sent out to approximately 80,000 elementary and middle school science teachers. Background on the program: The horseshoe crab has survived since the age of the dinosaurs. The red knot is a small bird that weighs less than an apple and makes one of the longest migrations on Earth. Each year the lives of these two species touch as they make their separate journeys to reproduce and preserve their species. The fate of one relies on the fate of the other, and they're both in trouble. This is the story of two unlikely heroes and their battles to survive.

    MY ROLE:

    I developed and wrote a variety of creative activities to help elementary and middle school teachers use this science program in their classrooms. One activity, for example, encourages students to consider the adaptations that have made species such as horseshoe crabs, sharks and cockroaches "super survivors." Another activity helps teachers use online resources to enable children observe, record and analyze animal migrations in their area.

    (c) 2008 Jordan D. Brown.  All Rights Reserved.