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Meet the Author: Matthew Brenden Wood

Have you ever wondered who writes our books? Find out in our Meet the Author blog series! 

Portrait of Matthew Wood lying on beige carpet with a tabby cat licking his head

Nomad authors are the foundation on which our house is built, the soil in which our garden grows, the scaffolding on which we balance to hang our wallpaper, and any other metaphor you can think of that means indispensable.

This week, we are highlighting one of our amazing authors to find out what makes them tick. Do you know kids who want to be writers? Here's a way to show them how it's done.

Introducing: Matthew Brenden Wood!

Matthew's books:

The Space Race: How the Cold War Put Humans on the Moon
Projectile Science: The Physics Behind Kicking a Field Goal and Launching a Rocket with Science Activities with Kids
Planetary Science: Explore New Frontiers
The Science of Science Fiction

Follow Matthew on Facebook — and on Instagram!

Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started writing for kids?

I studied astronomy in college, and really enjoyed talking about the universe with anyone that would listen. As a teacher, I love sharing with others how amazing science is, and as a huge nerd in general, I love how science fiction can help bridge the gap between what is and what could be. When I heard Nomad was thinking about a book that put two of my favorite things together, I had to try writing it! And I've loved it ever since. I try to write books that I would have wanted to read as a kid – something that gets me asking even more questions!

Why will kids find space fascinating?

I think kids find space fascinating because it's the great unknown! Even though we’re learning new things about our universe all the time, there are still so many things we don’t know. Will we ever visit Mars? What does a black hole look like? Are we alone in the universe? Kids could help answer these questions today at home or in class thanks to citizen science projects!

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Kids and adults might know that we've visited the moon, but they don't actually know how or why it happened. I hope that readers come away with a sense of just how much of the Space Race was about the people and governments involved and not just about winning.

The fact that two nations decided to compete against each other using science and exploration instead of bombs and missiles can also teach us a lot about the world we live in now.

Many of your other books are about science. Do you ever get bored writing about science?

Nope! I love writing about science. I'm always on the lookout for some new and fascinating discovery – you never know what breakthrough might happen next!

What do you enjoy most about writing activity books?

I love showing people that science – even space science – doesn’t need a fancy laboratory or college degree. It can be done at home. Whether it's making a comet out of dirt and ice or helping scientists look for exoplanets, anyone with patience and curiosity can do real science - especially curious kids!

Speaking of projects, do you have a favorite?

I do! I love calculating the speed of light using a chocolate bar and a microwave. It’s a simple experiment that that gets kids asking all kinds of good questions: How does a microwave work? Why use chocolate? Why is the speed of light constant? Can we eat the chocolate? Is there any more chocolate? 

Do you do author visits?

I love to do classroom visits! There’s nothing better than helping kids find their own interest in science.

Which place would you rather visit, the Moon or Mars?

I think I’d have to go with Mars. Where else could you climb the solar system’s tallest volcano or its deepest canyon? Blue sunsets, swirling ice caps, maybe alien life… Mars it is.

If you went to space for a year, what would you miss the most?

Gravity, for one. Ice cream (astronaut ice cream is TERRIBLE, trust me), my cat, my friends and family… There’d be a lot to miss! But I’d love coming back and sharing the experience with everyone. I might even write a book about it...

 

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