Next week I intend to start a nonfiction book that will take quite a bit of work over time. I don’t have a publisher yet, only one or two editors who have signaled an interest in seeing where I might go with the project. I’ll be working with a good friend and learned colleague with whom I worked on MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES (2010), archaeologist NEAL LOPINOT. Of that one a reviewer said, “I applaud Harrison for having written a book that compares various theories of who may have been the first people in North America and making it clearly understandable for young readers. This is always tricky when explaining science to children that they must consider all possible explanations for a phenomenon even if the explanations fly in the face of commonly held (or taught) beliefs. On page 27, Harrison writes “This is how science works. No one has all the answers, but many people working on the same problem slowly add to what we know.” At the end of the book, he even finishes with a section titled “More Questions than Answers.”
It was also recommended by National Science Teachers Association, 2011
Neal and I are both busy so I don’t expect the work on this new book to move very quickly. At some point we’ll bear down on finding an editor but for now I need to get more deeply into the research, decide on an approach to the story, work up an outline, and write two or three chapters. I may have another book or two to announce soon but for now I need to start something new.
Tomorrow I’m having lunch with an archeologist friend of mine, carryout ribs, seated socially distant around a conference table in his department. Neal Lopinot, Director of the Center for Archeological Research at Southwest Missouri State University, was helpful in every way when I was researching and writing MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES (Boyds Mills Press, 2010), the story of the search for the first humans to arrive on the North American continent. Via phone and e-mail he introduced me to several of the key players in North and South Americas whose research and discoveries have unearthed important clues about the long standing mystery. They provided me with pictures from their major sites, responded to my questions, one or two even read and critiqued my manuscript in progress. It was by far the most complex story I’ve ever written about and the best book of nonfiction I’ve ever done.
Reviews liked the book a lot.
“David Harrison has managed to effectively, succinctly, and understandably decipher the myriad
issues involved in understanding the peopling process for a young audience in a way no other author
has.” — J. M. Adovasio, Ph.D., D.Sc, Director, Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute
“It is a well written, thoughtful and data rich discussion of how archaeologists view the peopling of the New World.” — Richard Boisvert, State Archaeologist, NH Division of Historical Resources
“Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones: the Mystery of North America’s First People” is a fine middle
school ages 9-11 teaching book about the search for early North American human settlers and
ancestors and their origins…Children have a first rate opportunity to learn the basics of scientific scrutiny of a theory about human history and prehistory. — James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review
MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES was recommended by National Science Teachers Association and nominated for the Society for American Archaeology’s 2010 Book of the Year for “a book that is written for the general public and presents the results of archaeological research to a broader audience.” I didn’t win but was extremely flattered by the book’s recognition.
Neal, Jack Ray (Assistant Director of the Center), and I get together now and then to catch up on one another’s news. I follow some of their actions through the Archeology Journal that I subscribe to, but getting it first hand is far more interesting.