Joan Marie Galat- CCBC Author, Illustrator and Storyteller Directory. Digital image. Joan Marie Galat. Canadian Council for the Arts, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2018. <http://directory.bookcentre.ca/members/joanmariegalat>.
The Night Sky and Galaxies
Joan Marie Galat is an author of books for both children and adults, with a background in science and journalism. She started writing books at the age of nine. A newspaper published her first articles at the age of twelve, where she became a paid weekly newspaper columnist. Her first title, Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Stars, became a best-seller within six weeks of its release. Her books explore a wide range of fiction and non-fiction topics. Her highlights in her career involve presenting Korean translations of her books at an international book fair in Seoul, speaking at the United Nations Environment Programme event in Seoul, South Korea in 2016, and many more. Joan advocates unity, connections from across the world and literacy through her presentations about the night sky etc.
KK: What inspired you to write at such a young age?
“I liked to read so much, I wanted to make my own books. I discovered—early on—that when you write, you get to spend time with the topics that interest you. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what matters is how well you express your ideas.”
KK: On your website, it mentions that you spoke in South Korea. How did the audience In South Korea differ from your audience in Canada?
“Audiences in both countries are warm and welcoming, however in Seoul, there were so many young adults on a Friday night. The audience was fully engaged, excited about ideas and learning. Many people came to speak with me afterwards, asking questions that showed their interest in the topics discussed.
Stories and the night sky connect us, no matter where we live. The outcome was increased awareness about sustainability and how our environment extends into the night sky, connecting us with one another across continents.
I also spoke at schools and libraries in South Korea. While often more formal than children in Canada, the students are just as friendly. They were very pleased to ask an author from Canada questions.”
KK: As per a YouTube video, it mentions that you talk about astronomy and other topics. What topics do you focus on the younger audience as compared to older audiences?
“First, I begin every school presentation by showing students how to find the North Star. I cover many of the same topics with different grades, but I go into more detail as the grades increase.
Grades K-3 receive content based on my picture books and early readers, while grades 4 and up receive content based on my other titles, such as Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You (National Geographic Kids), the Dot to Dot in the Sky series (Whitecap Books), and Dark Matters—Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (Red Deer Press).
I adjust my content based on teacher requests. I often speak to older grades about how strong writing skills will help them get ahead and be more competitive, no matter what field they choose to enter.”
Treating all age groups and people around the world as one, is quite refreshing. It is also important when writers not only entertain or open the audiences’ creativity but also educate them in a fun way. Whether, it is to voice an opinion or present in class, her ability to come up with new ways to engage with the audience based on age and even country is quite remarkable. Furthermore, what I found enticing was her ability to publish at the age of twelve. To have that level of certainty and maturity is something most people don’t acquire at that age.