"Mammoth Hunters" - March 2005
Elizabeth Carney gave her young readers an inviting description of the field work by scientists who are studying the remains of an ancient mammoth in Siberia. Laura Helmuth of Smithsonian magazine commended Carney’s use of “inviting, non-patronizing language,” including the amusing image that a mammoth weighs more than 230 fourth graders.
Carney, who wrote her story while working as an intern for Scholastic publications after completing a master’s degree in biomedical journalism at New York University, also told her readers that many questions remain unanswered, such as why the mammoths died out. Her piece provides a vivid description of field work and gives kids the message, Helmuth said, that “they could go do this when they grow up.”
“Although it focuses on the topic of mammoths, the story sheds light on scientists’ work altogether,” said Arthur Landwehr of German Public Radio. “Children can easily understand how much work is involved with discovery, and how rewarding it can be.”
“I love children’s writing,” said Carney, who is now an editor at Current Psychiatry. She continues to freelance for Scholastic. “I’m very enthusiastic whenever they assign me a story,” Carney said.
The judges noted the quality of entries in this inaugural competition for the children’s science news award, including several strong contenders from international media outlets. In addition to recruiting international entries aggressively, AAAS also included international reporters on the judging panel.