After a school program, an excited second grader named Mateo came up to me and asked, “Have you written any books about conquistadors?”
I hadn’t, I told him. Then I suggested, “If you are interested, you could do some research and write about them yourself.”
Eight years later, Mateo e-mailed to tell me that he had done just that.
Intrigued by Mateo and his writing project, I had a conversation with him. Here are some snippets:
1. After eight years, what propelled you to begin researching and writing about conquistadors?
During Quarantine I had a lot of time to reflect, and so I made a list of things to accomplish. I had made a promise to begin this project, and I always keep my promises.
2. What did you enjoy most about this work?
When I was a kid I always wanted to learn more about the conquistadors, so accomplishing this long time goal of mine was a grand reward in the sense of making “childhood me” happy.
3. Is there anything about conquistadors that especially surprised you?
I think the thing that really surprised me was the exceeding amount of mutiny and betrayal found among them.
4. What aroused your curiosity about conquistadors?
I really think that my curiosity was originally sparked by Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated (my favorite show at the time). The show’s main mystery was the disappearance of the conquistadors, the founders of their town Crystal Cove. Back then, I really couldn’t tell the difference between fact and fiction.
5. You told me that Real-Life Sea Monsters changed your feelings about reading. How so?
Before your book I hated reading. But your book changed my view. The incredible artwork grabbed my attention. And when you turned fiction to fact that really amazed me and made me enjoy reading more and more every day. It showed me something that I had not previously seen. Now I realize how much we can truly learn from books.
6. What are your favorite types of books?
I love history, fiction, science fiction, biographies, mysteries, adventure, monster horror, dystopian, survival, and science.
Thank you for reaching out to me, Mateo. We often do not know what influence our books have. You are an inspiring person!
They know where to go
With no GPS.
Definition: MIGRATE means to move from one region or habitat to another.
Derivation: MIGRATE comes from the Latin word migrāre,
which means to move from place to place.
Other words with this root: Immigrant a person who comes to live permanently in a new country Migrant a person or animal who migrates OR a person who moves from place to place for work, especially a farm laborer
Examples: Gray Whales
Each fall they travel 5,000 miles from Arctic feeding grounds to warm Mexican breeding lagoons. In the spring they head back. African Elephant
At the start of the dry season they migrate to find water holes. Monarch Butterflies
In autumn, they fly 2,500 miles to warmer regions in Mexico or southern California.
Did You Know? Many European song birds migrate to Africa in the winter. Some scientists believe they use this time to practice their singing–“like a bird band camp”–in preparation for the mating season when they return.
Some are pretty. Some are not.
Some are huge. Some . . . a dot.
They outnumber us, 200 to one.
You can’t escape them; there’s no place to run.
They live high and low, in Earth’s every nook . . .
Even in your room. Go look.
Definition: An ARTHROPOD is an animal with jointed legs, an external skeleton, and a segmented body.
Derivation: ARTHROPOD comes from two Greek words. Arthro means joint and podos means foot.
Other words with these roots: Arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints Podiatrist, adoctor who treats foot problems Tripod, a three-legged stand
Insects, such as butterflies and ants
Did You Know? A scientific survey found that an average of 100 arthropod species live in every American home. Some roam in search of food crumbs. Others hunt for hair or nail clippings.
In the news:
Learn more about the arthropod home survey: New Scientist