Thursday, January 11, 2024

Q&A with Martin W. Sandler



Martin W. Sandler is the author of Shipwrecked!: Diving for Hidden Time Capsules on the Ocean Floor, a new book for older kids. His many other books include 1919: The Year That Changed America. He lives in Massachusetts.


Q: What inspired you to write Shipwrecked!?


A: I was inspired by a single sentence I read that called the ocean floor “the world’s greatest museum.”


Q: How did you research the book, and what did you learn that especially surprised you?


A: I read a large number of firsthand accounts, particularly those written by George Bass, the father of marine archaeology, and spent a significant amount of time reading other books, investigating museum archives to find the right photos, and researching the internet.


Q: The School Library Journal review of the book says, “Full of adventure and numerous explorations of the value of perseverance, this title will capture the attention of readers through a wealth of scientific and historical details.” What do you think of that description?


A: I am, of course, delighted with it. The perseverance of those who conduct these often unprecedented underwater excavations comes through in the book, and I’m pleased that the reviewer was taken with the “adventure” of it all.


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?


A: Along with enjoying the extraordinary real-life stories of how these ships met their fate, how they were discovered and how they were excavated, I hope readers will discover how marine archaeology was born, how important it is in our lives, and how all of these things are made possible by the courage, dedication and skill of human beings.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am working on a book that will reveal how photography profoundly changed people’s notions about war.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: It was a genuine privilege to do this book. My driving motto for doing a book has always been “You couldn’t make this up” and the amazing stories in this book fit that notion to a T.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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