A renowned, award-winning author of science books for kids talked to East McDowell students about the process of writing and some of the many important things she has learned in her career.

Dawn Cusick lives in western North Carolina. For the past eight years she has taught science and developmental English courses at Haywood Community College. Her books include titles such as “Get the Scoop on Animal Snot, Spit and Slime,” “Get the Scoop on Animal Poop,” “Animals that Make Me Say Ouch,” and many more along the same lines discussing some of the more grotesque behaviors of our animal friends.

“I hope that they see that some of the facts that come alive in science actually fit into a bigger picture,” Cusick told The McDowell News.

As she does in college courses, she taught middle-schoolers the importance of research, which she said is vital to her work. She used the acronym RATS—research, a lot, translating, storytelling.

“Research always rewards you. The more you read and learn, the more key words you will come up with yourself,” she said in the presentation. “Ask yourself questions.”

She showed pictures of different animals she has written about and studied, such as a jackal resting next to a pile of elephant waste.

“Jackals roll in the elephant dung to help him sneak up on his prey,” she said to the audience.

She discussed storytelling and how important it is to self edit and know what people around you like.

“The facts you choose will guide and shape your storytelling,” she said.

Students asked Cusick many questions about her past and present. Selected students joined Cusick and other administrators in the media center for pizza and cake. Cusick held a book signing for students and was able to speak one-on-one with them after her presentation.

For more information on Cusick’s books, visit dawncusickbooks.com.

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