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Ruth A. Musgrave, Part 2: The Power of Words

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For science author Ruth A. Musgrave, writing — like reading — is about discovery.

”My favorite thing about writing is finding something new, maybe something scientists just discovered, and getting very, very excited about it,” Ruth told the Network during a visit to Cape Perpetua. “Then you put it into words, get it into a book or a magazine, which makes other people excited about it. That process just energizes me!”

Ruth’s evolution as a writer began with her interest in science and nature and lead to her being a regular contributor to National Geographic Kids Magazine and other national publications.

“I got my start in writing a long time ago,” she said. “I was writing curriculum for children and I would have to write fact sheets so there was background information about whatever science concept they were learning about. I discovered that I loved that. It sort of snowballed and in an interesting pathway I started doing freelance writing and I’ve been loving it ever since.”

Her next releases, due out in August 2016, will be two “board books.” Constructed of heavy cardboard which cannot be easily damaged, board books are used to help babies acquire language skills.

“This was something new for me but I’m very excited about it.” explained Ruth. “Babies start learning language immediately. During the first six months it’s important for a baby to hear people speak. That’s when they do a great deal of their language acquisition and begin to understand the rules of language. I hope these board books will help some babies start speaking. Who knows, maybe that will even develop into a lifelong appreciation for reading.”

As for future projects, Ruth is always trying new things and told the Oceanscape Network that she’s in the early stages of designing some picture books for kids.

Inspiring Young Writers

When not working on her next writing project, Ruth spends a lot of her time talking to kids in local schools about nature and conservation. She is currently extending her reach internationally through Skype visits with classrooms in Austria and Ireland.

Often, she noted, young people ask her how they can become writers themselves.

“If you’re interested in writing, I have some great advice,” Ruth smiled. “Write every day. Write all the time. Write for you. Don’t write for anyone else. Don’t worry about what other people think about your writing… Because the only way to get to know who you are as a writer, to find your own voice, is to write, write, write, write.”

To learn more about Ruth and her work, visit ruthamusgrave.com, whaletimes.org or find her books through the Oceanscape Network’s Goodread’s page.

Related Features: Youth Activities: Reading and Writing

Photo credit: Ruth A. Musgrave.

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About The S.T.E.A.M. Powered Program

This multi-part series features five women who are at the tops of their fields in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Over the 2015-16 school year, one week will be dedicated to each person, highlighting their education, careers and innovative contributions to their various disciplines — including the discovery of new species, the exploration of hostile ecosystems and the conservation of marine species.