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Gold-medal editorial director wins Best Book title


July 03, 2008

Conrad J. Storad, director of ASU Research Publications, recently had a very good week.

He and his staff learned they had won the 2008 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) gold medal as the best university research magazine in the country a few days after Storad received the Glyph Award for Best Book at the Arizona Book Awards for his children’s story “Meerkats.”

“All I can say is that 2008 has been a very, very good year for my staff and myself in terms of professional accolades and recognition,” says Storad, who was named Arizona Children’s Author of the Year in 2001. “The award for Best Book is definitely a major award in my career as a children’s author.”

He also earned the Governor’s Choice Award in 2005 for his book “Don’t Call Me Pig!”

Although his children’s books are not directly connected to ASU, he considers promoting science and nature literacy as one of his essential duties as editor of ASU Research and Chain Reaction, a free educational publication that brings ASU science and research to young readers and classrooms throughout Arizona and across the United States.

“The idea to create Chain Reaction grew out of my work as a children’s author and through many conversations with elementary and middle-school teachers, reading specialists and librarians,” Storad says.

His book “Meerkats” was the first children’s book to ever garner the Best Book Award from the Arizona Book Publishing Association.

“The judges liked it because it presented facts and interesting information in a fun and entertaining manner for young readers,” he says. “The photography in the book is also quite excellent.”

Storad says he watched many episodes of the popular Discovery Channel program “Meerkat Manor” in conducting background research for the book. The book is just one of more than 100 titles in the Early Bird Nature Book series published by the Lerner Publishing Group in Minneapolis, Minn. Storad has written many titles for that series, including four new ones: “Gila Monsters,” “Javelinas,” “Galapagos Tortoises” and “Piranha.”

The gold medal given to Storad and his staff for ASU Research Magazine was one of 28 awards given to the Research Publications staff for their work in 2007-2008 alone. (See “ASU Research Magazine: Best in the nation” on page 2 of the June 13 issue of ASU Insight.)

“I am blessed to work with the most talented staff on campus,” Storad says. “We always strive to make each new issue of our magazines better than what we’ve done in the past. We know we do good work, but it is a bonus when that good work is recognized by those in the publications profession who know that top quality publications do not produce themselves.”

“Meerkats” was selected May 10 as the Best Book at the Arizona Book Awards. The black-tie event was conducted by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. Eligible works must have been published in 2007 by an Arizona author or publisher, or must be primarily set in or about Arizona.

Winners and finalists were awarded Glyph Awards in 34 different categories. Award-winning Arizona author Jewell Parker-Rhodes was the emcee for the event.

Storad is working on two new books: “Mars” and “The Rattlesnake Rules.” The first is part of the new Early Bird Astronomy book series, and the book is geared toward readers in grades 2-4. “The Rattlesnake Rules” is a new picture book that should be ready for sale early next year.

“Everyone has rules to live by,” Storad says. “Even rattlesnakes.”