Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Cristy Burne!
Today we have another exciting interview with a fabulous writer who loves to make learning (and life) fun! It’s the incredible, award-winning author and STEM creative, Cristy Burne with her latest title in the Aussie STEM Stars series, Suzy Urbaniak; Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior.
‘Geologist Suzy Urbaniak is a limbo dancer, a crepe-baker, a risk-taker and a question-asker. Winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for her out-of-the-box teaching, Suzy is all about passion, innovation, and doing things your own way. Because life is what’s out there, in #therealclassroom.’
Thanks for sharing Suzy’s story with us, Cristy! 🙂
About the Author
Cristy Burne grew up climbing trees, jumping drains, chasing runaway cows and inventing stories. Before she became a writer, she was science circus performer, garbage analyst, Santa’s pixie, and a teacher.
Currently Cristy is a children’s author, science writer and presenter who has worked as a science communicator for over 20 years across Australia, the US, the UK, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland and beyond. She has a passion for STEM, loves learning through doing, and aims to inspire creativity, daring and resilience in her readers. She is a sought-after education presenter.
WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
Aussie STEM Stars: Suzy Urbaniak – Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior is an authorised biography of geologist and teacher Suzy Urbaniak, written by me (Cristy Burne), with illustrations by Mirjana Segan and published by Wild Dingo Press, just for kids aged 10+.
WHAT is it about?
This is a story of adventure, risk, mistakes and courage – plus billy karts, wildcats, school detention, water-skiing and having a dream. And also volcanos.
This is the true story of the childhood and career of Suzy Urbaniak, a geologist and award-winning science educator who is also a limbo-dancer, crepe-baker, risk-taker and question-asker. It’s about not trying to be a perfect circle. It’s about being true to yourself, doing things your own way, and discovering the real world and #therealclassroom.
What is your favourite part of this book?
I don’t usually cry in my own books, but every time I read the last chapter of this book, I tear up.
That’s because when I read it, I understand again how much Suzy has achieved and given, and how much joy and change and goodness she has inspired. Doing what you know is right, even when it is hard, has so many special rewards.
WHEN did you begin writing this book?
I guess I first started this book six years ago, when I first met Suzy. I was a journalist assigned to interview this pink-haired dancing educator about her Prime Minister’s Prize for teaching secondary science.
As soon as I stepped into Suzy’s Kent Street Senior High School classroom, I was blown away. It felt more like a research laboratory. Her students were all working in independent groups on projects they’d designed. They were so engaged and self-motivated and free to make mistakes. It was amazing!
Then Suzy rang me one day asking for advice about writing books, but I never dreamed she’d trust me with telling her life story. It’s been a hugely exciting project.
When is its release / launch date?
Suzy Urbaniak – Volcano hunter and STEAM warrior comes out February 1 2023.
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
Suzy and I (and our publisher, Wild Dingo Press) work to inspire students from all backgrounds into a better understanding of our Earth – and a huge part of that is science, tech, engineering and maths – all vital for healing and preserving our precious planet.
We hope this book encourages readers to consider geoscience as a career – and inspires everyone to embrace science as a lifelong interest.
WHY is this book meaningful to you?
From that 2016 moment when I saw Suzy working with kids in her classroom, I knew she was an extraordinary force for education and for building kids’ confidence, capacity and agency.
I’m incredibly proud to help Suzy share her story. It’s the story of an ordinary kid who achieved extraordinary things by doing what she felt was right.
Why would its message resonate with readers?
I hope readers see themselves in Suzy’s struggle to find herself and to fit in.
Suzy isn’t perfect. As a kid she sometimes achieved (and sometimes rebelled). She didn’t obey meaningless rules or petty stereotypes. But she always found a way to stay true to herself and what she knew was right.
I hope all kids find a bit of Suzy in themselves.
HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?
I love the cover, with Suzy’s purple hair and vibrant energy just bouncing off the pink background. It’s my first pink book and I’m stoked!
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
As part of the Aussie STEM Star series, Suzy’s story is being promoted all across Australia by the award-winning authors of other Aussie STEM Star biographies. Plus I’ll be visiting schools and festivals (and online) shouting to the skies how much I love this very human story.
You can find this book in all good bookstores or online.
OTHER information or experiences you’d like to share?
Six Quick Cool Facts:
- Like Suzy, I used to have purple hair (and sometimes green!)(and flame-red too!)
- Like Suzy, I used to have a rock collection as a kid (did you?)
- Unlike Suzy, I can’t do the splits (though I tried pretty hard for an entire afternoon)
- Unlike Suzy, I can’t cook to save my life (but I love the idea of trying over and over and over again to perfect a pavlova…because someone has to eat the results!)
- This is my second Aussie STEM Stars biography; the first is about burns surgeon and inventor of spray-on skin Fiona Wood.
- There are teacher’s notes for the Aussie STEM Stars books available from the dedicated website: https://www.aussiestemstars.com.au/
Thanks so much for sharing and for this amazing title in this series, Cristy! You and Suzy are a blast! (pun intended) 🙂
#thequicksixinterview #aussiestemstars #suzyurbaniak #volcanohunter #steamwarrior