We were so pleased to see another FACTopia book published and have news- there are more to come! We recently asked author and fact finder, Kate Hale, some questions!
FACTopia published with 400 facts and was in a fun and engaging new format for readers. How easy or challenging was it to create this format and have links between so many facts?
In a sense it was easy to let my imagination run wild and find fun and exciting links to different, unexpected topics. But admittedly, it was challenging to make sure they all linked from front to back. Especially if I had to replace a fact for one reason or another. Because they’re all connected like a story, you have to make sure to slot just the right fact into that spot.
Return to FACTopia has another 400 facts- where do you do most of your research?
I wrote both FACTopia and Return to FACTopia while in lockdown during the pandemic. So most of my research was done online. For me, the research isn’t necessarily the hardest part—it’s getting the inspiration to research a particular animal, event, or unexpected thing that readers will find interesting. I found it a lot easier to find mind-blowing facts when I had a subject in mind. That was a little tough to do when I was stuck inside my house. But I tried to ask myself really crazy questions to get inspired, like: “I wonder how many hamburgers a T. Rex would have eaten?” or “Are there any weird facts about libraries?” or “What is the wackiest looking house I can find?” (spoiler alert: it’s shaped like a toilet).
Will there be more from this series?
Oh yes! I don’t know how we keep uncovering more amazing facts—but they keep coming!
Has there been a fact that has totally blown your mind?
After writing the first book, I thought I could never beat the fact that a squid’s brain is shaped like a donut. Surely, I said to myself, nothing can top that! But I was wrong. In Return to FACTopia I found that sharks are actually older than trees. That absolutely blew my mind.
The illustrations are bright and colourful- are they what you hoped for when devising these books?
Oh yes, Andy Smith did such an amazing job. I love the combination of photos and illustration, it’s so much fun. He brings such an energy to every single fact on the page.
What do you hope readers will take away from reading FACTopia and Return to FACTopia, other than facts, of course.
I hope that readers realize that there’s amazing information all around them—no matter if it’s about cockroaches, chickens, or clouds. And that just like our broader world, everything is connected.
Why is it important that children read non fiction for pleasure?