Ginger Wadsworth is a research junkie. While growing up in La Jolla, California, she lugged home bags of library books, and many were nonfiction titles, including a biography series about the childhoods of famous Americans. She still checks out pleasure-reading titles, work-related books, and volunteers in public libraries and schools with her therapy dog, where children practice reading out loud to a team of trained animals.
During her career, she has published over 25 nonfiction titles, and her office overflows with potential ideas. Research for these books has taken her all over the United States. Hands-down, her favorite research spot is in Yosemite National Park’s tiny library where she learned about President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1903 camping trip in the park with naturalist John Muir, and the result was Camping With the President (Calkins Creek). As a long-time camper herself, she asked President Obama and his family to go camping with her in Yosemite National Park, but so far they haven’t accepted her invitation. At ALA’s Nonfiction Book Blast, she will briefly discuss the national impact of this true story and give tips on how to use her book. Up, Up, and Away is the life cycle of one garden spider. Ginger will encourage and help librarians who suffer from Arachnophobia (and there are many!!) to put aside their fears and share this book with young readers.
Her book ideas have led her to collections at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, to the Library of Congress, and to historic sites such as the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, Georgia where there are vintage hand-written letters (imagine that in this digital age!), journals, articles, and archival images to peruse. Every box, every file, every piece of yellowed paper says “read me – read me” and of course, that’s exactly what happens! Mining for nuggets of information is often more fun than writing the actual book.
Ginger will focus on First Girl Scout: The Life of Juliette Gordon Low (Clarion Books) at the Book Blast. Several years of research, starting in Savannah, resulted in her biography about the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA. It’s the Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary in 2012, and Ginger will introduce feisty, funny, and determined Juliette Gordon Low who battled debilitating hearing losses and breast cancer, while launching the largest volunteer organization for women and young girls in the world. The historical arc of this book covers three wars, the end of slavery, the changing roles of women, and much more.