Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Guest Post by Sarah Albee

Hello, Mr. Schu, and thanks so much for inviting me to your blog today to celebrate the launch of my latest book, Why’d They Wear That?

I’m so glad we had a chance to meet one another in person at NCTE.

(I'm so happy we met at NCTE, too. Thank you for taking over my blog for the day.) 

When I visit schools, kids often ask me where I get my ideas. And that makes me really happy, because twenty years ago, I don’t think nonfiction writers got asked this question very often. Most nonfiction books back then were pretty factual, straightforward biographies or informational books. Nowadays, nonfiction books can be tremendously varied. We nonfiction authors can have a voice, and a point of view, and we can choose an unusual approach to our topic, and we can be dramatic, or persuasive, or humorous—or all of those things. And the look of nonfiction books has come such a long way as well. There are so many beautifully illustrated and designed nonfiction books nowadays.

The idea for Why’d They Wear That? occurred to me while I was in the midst of researching my prior two books, Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up and Bugged: How Insects Changed History. Both of those books explore social history, and as I researched, I kept writing down fashion-related questions (like—How did a guy in a suit of armor go to the bathroom? and How did people wash their clothes when they only owned one outfit? and How did they figure out how to make silk from cocoons back in ancient China?) And I realized I could do a whole book that explored the history behind what people wore. 

National Geographic was the perfect publisher for this book. They produce beautiful books, and the books are so well designed. I worked with a team of amazing people, and I love how excited they all are about my book.

Today I wanted to unveil the trailer for the book. My 19-year-old daughter, Cassie, pretty much made the whole thing for me. She’s really talented, and already has her own youtube channel. I chose the images, and she and I worked together on the script, although the funny lines were mostly her ideas. I hope you like it!

Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah Albee is giving away a SIGNED copy of Why'd They Do That?

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 2/11 to 11:59 p.m. on 2/13.

2. You must be at least 13 to enter.

3. If you win, please pay it forward.

Sarah Albee writes mostly middle-grade, nonfiction history. Her latest book, WHY’D THEY WEAR THAT? (National Geographic) released yesterday. Her recent titles include BUGGED: HOW INSECTS CHANGED HISTORY (Walker/Bloomsbury), and POOP HAPPENED: A HISTORY OF THE WORLD FROM THE BOTTOM UP (Walker/Bloomsbury). Sarah blogs about offbeat history at, is a contributor to the Interesting Nonfiction for Kids “Nonfiction Minute”, and loves to visit schools. Follow her on Twitter @SarahAlbee.

Borrow Why'd They Wear That? from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.


  1. I love the way Sarah grabs kids and pulls them into her subject- this looks like it's going to do just that. Great job on the trailer, too!

  2. My Class is obsessed with nonfiction right now! I can't wait to share this post with my fourth graders! This book will be a fun read for them too 😀

  3. Sarah's latest book looks awesome! My son will love it. And of course, I want to know how one goes to the bathroom in a suit of armor. Just in case I ever get one. :)

  4. I'm a huge fan of Sarah Albee's books - and Sarah, herself! I really enjoyed reading this and checking out the new trailer. Thanks, Sarah and Mr. Schu! :-)