A good nonfiction story should be more than just a bunch of facts. Author Conrad J. Storad
says that nonfiction stories should be fun. That's exactly what he tries to do with each and every book that he writes for young readers. Storad is an award-winning author, editor, science writer, and teacher. He is the author or editor of more than 50 science and nature books for children and young adults and has been honored with many national awards for his writing and editing.
Storad has read stories and done author presentations and writing workshops for more than 1 million boys and girls during 1,500-plus school and library visits in 17 states. After reaching the 1 million mark during a March 2017 visit to Mariposa Elementary School in Tempe, Arizona, students urged him to press on toward 2 million. In addition to his very active event schedule, Storad also continues to edit books and writes a monthly column, "Conrad's Classroom" for Story Monsters Ink
Gator, Gator, Second Grader
, illustrated by Alex Lopez, and The Bat Book (Afraid of a bat? What's up with that?)
, illustrated by Nathaniel Jensen, (Bobolink Media) are among his newest titles.
Published in 2014, the State Library of Arizona selected Monster in the Rocks
(Bobolink Media) to represent Arizona at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. "52 Great Reads" is a program sponsored by the Library of Congress and the National Center for the Book. A children's book is selected to represent each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The title is brilliantly illustrated by Storad's long-time artist collaborator, Nathan Jensen of Portland, Oregon, and narrated by Eddie the Elf Owl, a long time “Watcher” from a family of watchers. The underlying theme of the story is "Obey your parents," told from the perspective of a family of Gambel's quail who must learn to deal with the legend of a giant Gila Monster, the monster in the rocks. But all is not as it seems. Does having "monster" in your name really make you bad or scary? Will the chicks survive the lesson"? Eddie knows.
Fang and Stinger (An Arachnid Story)
earned national honors in 2013. The story has delighted an entire new generation of young readers. Nathan Jensen’s bright, exquisitely rendered illustrations bring Storad’s verse to life on the pages. Tootie is a red knee tarantula. She only has one fang. Her best friend is Hairyette, a desert hairy scorpion. She is afraid of her own stinger. Together, the arachnid pals must deal with taunting and teasing and the travails of being “different.” They must also face up to the neighborhood bully, mean old Peppi the tarantula hawk wasp.
In 2012, Arizona Way Out West & Witty
, co-authored with Lynda Exley, and illustrated by Michael Hagelberg, was named One Book Arizona for Kids. Every student in Arizona read the book in 2012 as part of Arizona's Centennial celebration. It was also selected to represent the state as part of the "52 Great Reads" program. The activity book version, Arizona Way Out West & Wacky
, earned national honors in 2012, winning the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, and a Best Book Award from USA Book News.
In 2011, his book Rattlesnake Rules
was named "Best Children's Nonfiction Picture Book in America" by USA Book News. In 2008, Meerkats
won the Glyph Award as "Arizona's Best Book." It also won for "Best Children's Nonfiction." In 2005, as part of her program to promote reading, then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano selected Storad's Don't Call Me Pig! (A Javelina Story)
. More than 93,000 Arizona first graders received a special edition copy of the book. In 2001, the Arizona Library Association honored Storad with the Judy Goddard Award as "Arizona Children's Author of the Year."
In February 2010, Storad retired from his "day job" as director of the Office of Research Publications at Arizona State University. For more than 24 years he was executive editor for the nationally acclaimed ASU Research Magazine
. He also was the founding editor of Chain Reaction Magazine
, a science magazine for young readers. During his tenure at ASU, Storad and his staff won more than 350 regional, national, and international awards for writing, editing, photography, illustration, publication and Web site design, and video production.
Prior to ASU, Storad was a reporter, editor, and general manager for The Barberton Herald
newspaper in northeast Ohio. He also worked as a science/medical writer for the U.S. National Cancer Institute, a freelance magazine writer, and as a feature writer/editor at Kent State University. He earned a mass media communication degree from the University of Akron in 1979. In 1983, he received a master's degree in mass communication/science journalism from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication and was a Year 2000 inductee to the Cronkite School's Journalism Hall of Fame. Storad also was a 2007 inductee to the Barberton High School Academic Hall of Fame. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers, Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, International Reading Association, Arizona Book Publisher's Association, and is a past president of the University Research Magazine Association.