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Sci-fi author visits NIU to offer insights into ‘Ashfall’ series

Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Author Mike Mullin will visit Northern Illinois University on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss his writing process, his thoughts on censorship, and the science behind his popular young adult novels in the “Ashfall” series.

“Ashfall” tells the story of a teen who must struggle to survive after the cataclysmic eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park. The book has been selected by Northern Illinois University’s STEM Teen Read because it blends a fast-paced fiction story with science facts to create a compelling and educational reading experience.

STEM Teen Read selects only four books a year and hosts live and online programs to inspire readers to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math behind the sci-fi stories. The program is sponsoring Mullin’s visit and has planned several opportunities for readers to meet the author and learn more about the world he created in his popular novels.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Mullin will present “How Taekwondo is Like Writing.” This event, at NIU’s LaTourette Hall Room 200, is free and open to the public. Mullin will discuss his writing process and demonstrate tae kwon do in a fun, interactive presentation. He will be joined by experts in geology, physics and food science to discuss the science of “Ashfall.” STEM Teen Read will provide end-of-the-world snacks.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Mullin will be the keynote speaker at the professional development conference “Too Hot for Teens?” at NIU’s Holmes Student Center. Mullin will speak with educators and librarians about censorship as it relates to young adult literature and learning. Time will be included for networking and idea-sharing among formal and informal educators and Mullin. The event is free, but participants must register at http://teenread.niu.edu. Registration includes complimentary breakfast and parking. CPDUs are available for educators who participate.

Also on Wednesday, Mullin will appear at Sycamore Public Library at 2:30 p.m. to cap off the summer reading program with a discussion on “The Geology of Ashfall.” This event is free and open to the public.

Mullin also will visit NIU’s STEM Career Exploration Camp and Creative Writing Day Camp next week. He will present special activities related to his book and his experiences as a novelist. Registration is still open, but these camps are filling up fast. Visit the http://niu.edu/summercamps to learn more.

Additionally, STEM Teen Read will post expert videos, educator materials, and other fun, interactive materials related to the book on http://teenread.niu.edu. Visitors can play “Enter the Ash,” an original video game based on “Ashfall.” The video game was created for STEM Teen Read by a multi-disciplinary team of NIU students and staff in NIU’s Digital Convergence Lab.

For more information, visit http://teenread.niu.edu or contact Gillian King-Cargile at gkingcargile@niu.edu.

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