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John Malam (1957-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1957, in Wolverhampton, England; Education: University of Birmingham, B.A. (with honors), 1980.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Franklin Watts, The Watts Publishing Group Ltd., 96 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4XD.

Career

Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Shropshire, England, museum archaeologist, 1980-82; editor for various scientific, technical, medical, and children's publishers in England, 1982-89; writer of children's books and activity texts, 1989—. Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, honorary editor, 1988-94.

Writings

JUVENILES

I Can Learn … Counting 0 to 5, World International (Manchester, England), 1989.

I Can Learn … Counting 6 to 10, World International (Manchester, England), 1989.

I Can Learn … Writing Fun, World International (Manchester, England), 1990.

Dinosaurs (pop-up book), illustrated by Andy Everitt-Stewart, Random House (New York, NY), 1990.

Machines (pop-up book), illustrated by Andy Everitt-Stewart, World International (Manchester, England), 1990, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

Stick and Color Fun: Planes, World International (Manchester, England), 1990.

John Malam

Stick and Color Fun: Birds, World International (Manchester, England), 1991.

Stick and Color Fun: Endangered Animals, World International (Manchester, England), 1991.

Dinosaur Skeletons (pop-up book), illustrated by Bob Cremins, Dell (New York, NY), 1991.

Children's Atlas of Endangered Animals, illustrated by Graham Austin, World International (Manchester, England), 1991.

Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals (sticker book), World International (Manchester, England), 1991.

Animals in Danger (sticker book), World International (Manchester, England), 1991.

(Editor, with Hans van Lemmen) Fired Earth: 1,000 Years of Tiles in Europe, Dennis Publications, 1991.

My First Dinosaurs: With Lift-the-Flap Surprises, illustrated by Colin King, World International (Manchester, England), 1994.

My First Questions and Answers: With Lift-the-Flap Surprises, illustrated by Paul Johnson, World International (Manchester, England), 1995.

Early Learning Center: Sticker Atlas of Europe, illustrated by David Murray, World International (Manchester, England), 1995.

Little Red Riding Hood (story sticker book), illustrated by Helen Prole, McClanahan (New York, NY), 1995.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears (story sticker book), illustrated by Helen Prole, McClanahan (New York, NY), 1995.

The Three Little Pigs (story sticker book), illustrated by Helen Prole, McClanahan (New York, NY), 1995.

Jack and the Beanstalk (story sticker book), illustrated by Helen Prole, McClanahan (New York, NY), 1995.

In the Town (jigsaw sticker book), World International (Manchester, England), 1995.

On the Farm (jigsaw sticker book), World International (Manchester, England), 1995.

Extraordinary World: Highest, Longest, Deepest (fold-out book), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.

Guide to the World's Record Breakers, Heinemann (London, England), 1996.

Loopy River & Other Mazes (sticker book), illustrated by Paul Johnson, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Bendyu Road & Other Mazes (sticker book), illustrated by Paul Johnson, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Flags of the World Sticker Atlas, illustrated by Colin King, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Highest, Longest, Deepest: An Exploration of the World's Most Fantastic Features, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Exploring Ancient Egypt ("Remains to be Seen" series), Evans (London, England), 1997.

The Traveller's Guide to Ancient Rome, illustrated by Mike Foster, Marshall (London, England), 1998, published as The Traveler's Guide to Ancient Rome, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Soccer, Macdonald (Hove, England), 1998, published as Fantastic Football, illustrated by David Pattison, Hodder (London, England), 2001.

Ancient Greeks at a Glance ("At a Glance" series), Hodder (London, England), 1998.

Wacky Weather ("How It Works" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Big Rigs ("How It Works" series), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

The Victorians ("History Starts Here" series), Wayland (Hove, England), 1999.

The Ancient Greeks ("History Starts Here" series), Wayland (Hove, England), 1999, Raintree (Austin, TX), 2000.

Gods and Goddesses, Bedrick (New York, NY), 1999.

Greek Town, illustrated by David Antram, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1999.

Myths and Civilization of the Ancient Romans, illustrated by Francesca D'Ottavi, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1999.

Mesopotamia and the Near East from 10,000 BC to 539 BC ("Looking Back" series), Raintree (Austin, TX), 1999.

Queen Victoria, Wayland (Hove, England), 1999.

So You Want to Be a Pirate, illustrated by Dave Antram, Macdonald (Hove, England), 1999.

The Ultimate Dinosaur Book, Parragon (London, England), 2000.

The Amazing A to Z of Dinosaurs, Parragon (London, England), 2000.

Earth, Marshall (London, England), 2000.

Song and Dance ("Everday History" series), F. Watts (New York, NY), 2000.

Cleaning the House ("Everyday History" series), F. Watts (New York, NY), 2000.

Super Structures, illustrated by Mark Bergin, F. Watts (New York, NY), 2000.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!: Gory Things You'd Rather Not Know, illustrated by David Antram, F. Watts (New York, NY), 2000.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Victorian Schoolchild!: Lessons You'd Rather Not Learn, illustrated by David Antram, Hodder (London, England), 2001.

The 1940s House (activity book; television tie-in), Channel 4 Books (London, England), 2001.

Dinosaurs ("Atlas in the Round" series), Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.

Cars ("Max Fax" series), Hodder (London, England), 2001.

Aircraft ("Max Fax" series), Hodder (London, England), 2001.

Henry Ford, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2001.

Florence Nightingale, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 2001.

Exploring Ancient Rome ("Remains to be Seen" series), Evans (London, England), 2001.

An Ancient Greek Temple, illustrated by Mark Bergin, Hodder (London, England), 2001, published as An Ancient Greek Temple: The Story of the Building of the Temples of Ancient Greece, Bedrick (New York, NY), 2001.

The Victorians ("Past in Pictures" series), Hodder (London, England), 2002.

Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, Marks & Spencer (London, England), 2002.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Victorian Miner!: A Job You'd Rather Not Do, illustrated by David Antram, Hodder (London, England), 2002.

Ancient Egyptian Jobs, Heinemann (Oxford, England), 2002, Heinemann (Chicago, IL), 2003.

The Mummy: Myths and Legends of the Desert, Kingfisher (London, England), 2002.

Exploring Ancient Greece ("Remains to be Seen" series), Evans (London, England), 2003.

Exploring the Vikings ("Remains to be Seen" series), Evans (London, England), 2003.

Exploring the Aztecs ("Remains to be Seen" series), Evans (London, England), 2003.

Mummies, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2003.

The Gladiator's Secret ("History Hunters" series), Ticktock, 2003, Gareth Stevens (Milwaukee, WI), 2004.

Prehistoric Life, Parragon (London, England), 2003.

Our Earth, Parragon (London, England), 2003.

Ancient Greece ("Picturing the Past" series), Enchanted Lion Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Jason and the Argonauts, illustrated by David Antram, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

The Wooden Horse of Troy, illustrated by Peter Rutherford, Compass Point Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.

"INDIANA JONES EXPLORES" SERIES

Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Egypt, illustrated by Jeffrey Burn, Evans (London, England), 1991, Arcade (New York, NY), 1992.

Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Rome, Evans (London, England), 1991, Arcade (New York, NY), 1992.

Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Greece, Evans (London, England), 1992, Arcade (New York, NY), 1993.

Indiana Jones Explores the Incas, Evans (London, England), 1992, Arcade (New York, NY), 1993.

Indiana Jones Explores the Aztecs, Evans (London, England), 1993, Arcade (New York, NY), 1994.

Indiana Jones Explores the Vikings, Evans (London, England), 1994, Arcade (New York, NY), 1995.

"MR. MEN" SERIES; ILLUSTRATED BY ADAM HARGREAVES

Mr. Bump and His Bumpy Day, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Happy and His Best Smile Ever, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Tickle, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Bump, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Greedy, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Happy, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Messy, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Nosey, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Mr. Funny, World International (Manchester, England), 1996.

Everyone's Happy with Mr. Happy, World International (Manchester, England), 1997.

"TELL ME ABOUT" SERIES

Tell Me about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Evans (London, England), 1996.

Tell Me about Vincent Van Gogh, Evans (London, England), 1996, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Tell Me about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Evans (London, England), 1996, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Tell Me about Claude Monet, Evans (London, England), 1997, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Tell Me about Beatrix Potter, Evans (London, England), 1997, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Tell Me about Thor Heyerdahl, Evans (London, England), 1997, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tell Me about John Cabot, Evans (London, England), 1997, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tell Me about Roger Hargreaves, Evans (London, England), 1997, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tell Me about Pieter Brueghel, Evans (London, England), 1998, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tell Me about Leonardo da Vinci, Evans (London, England), 1998, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Tell Me about Mary Seacole, Evans (London, England), 1999.

Tell Me about Martin Luther King, Evans (London, England), 1999.

Tell Me about Sojourner Truth, Evans (London, England), 2000.

Tell Me about Robert Louis Stevenson, Evans (London, England), 2001.

Tell Me about Florence Nightengale, Evans (London, England), 2003.

Tell Me about Queen Elizabeth I, Evans (London, England), 2003.

Tell Me about Queen Elizabeth II, Evans (London, England), 2003.

"BUILDING WORKS" SERIES

Airport: Behind the Scenes, Check-in to Take-off, Belitha (London, England), 1999, Bedrick (New York, NY), 1999.

Hospital: From Accident and Emergency to X-Ray, Belitha (London, England), 1999, Bedrick (New York, NY), 1999.

Library: From Ancient Scrolls to the World Wide Web, Belitha (London, England), 2000, Bedrick (New York, NY), 2000.

Theatre: From First Rehearsal to Opening Night, Belitha (London, England), 2000, published as Theater: From First Rehearsal to Opening Night, Bedrick (New York, NY), 2000.

"MEGABITES" SERIES

Mummies and the Secrets of Ancient Egypt, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2001.

Gladiator: Life and Death in Ancient Rome, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2002.

Titanic: Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2003.

"DANGER ZONE" SERIES

Avoid Becoming a Pirate's Prisoner!, illustrated by David Antram, Book House (Brighton, England), 2002.

Avoid Sailing in the Spanish Armada, illustrated by David Antram, Book House (Brighton, England), 2003.

Avoid Being a Mammoth Hunter, illustrated by David Antram, Book House (Brighton, England), 2004.

"DATES WITH HISTORY" SERIES

11 February 1990: The Release of Nelson Mandela, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2002, published as The Release of Nelson Mandela: February 11, 1990, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2003.

6 August 1945: The Bombing of Hiroshima, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2002, published as The Bombing of Hiroshima, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2002.

1 September 1939: Hitler Invades Poland, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2002, published as Hitler Invades Poland: 1 September 1939, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2002.

21 July 1969: Man Lands on the Moon, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2003, published as Man Walks on the Moon, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2003.

11 November 1918: The World War I Armistice, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2003, published as World War I, Armistice Day, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2003.

5 November 1605: The Gunpowder Plot, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2003.

14 October 1492: Columbus Reaches the Americas, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2003, published as Columbus Reaches the Americas, Smart Apple (Mankato, MN), 2003.

14 April 1912: The Titanic Hits and Iceberg, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2004.

13 October 1066: The Battle of Hastings, Cherytree Books (Bath, England), 2004.

Contributor to The Atlas of the Medieval World in Europe, IV-XV Century, Bedrick Books (New York, NY), 1999. Malam's children's books have been translated into numerous languages.

Sidelights

John Malam is a British writer whose children's books range from sticker books, pop-ups and movables to history and archaeology texts employing the Lucasfilm character Indiana Jones as guide and mentor. That Malam is interested in ancient history is logical; he began his career as an archaeologist long before he began writing. His continued interest in ancient history and nature are evident in his titles, many of which closely follow criteria set in the British national curriculum. He has told readers that he would love to write more about the history of early Britain, but that in order to do so, he'll have to wait for the national curriculum to accomodate it.

On his Web site, Malam explains how he came to be a writer. "Whe I was about ten years old, I told my parents that I wanted to be an archaeologist…. After qualifying as an archaeologist, I went to work at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum…. Part of my work at the Museum was to write excavation reports. I enjoyed writing about what I'd found, but soon realised that site reports are really only read by other archaeologists. I wanted to write for the public, and so I began to write nonfiction articles for magazines and newspapers. Most of the articles were about history. I wrote about things that interested me. I thought other people would find them interesting, too." It wasn't until after his job at the Museum ended that Malam considered writing as a career. He got a job working at World International publishers in Manchester, England, and wrote and edited many children's books while he was there, including parts of the "Mr. Men" series. His experience there made becoming a children's writer a natural next step, and he has been a full time author ever since.

Malam's learning books began with the "I Can Learn" series, pre-school workbooks that help children learn to count. Other educational books employ stickers or pop-up creations with limited text to teach children basic facts about everything from endangered animals to machines. The pop-up books Machines and Dinosaurs both employ the movable format to compare the past with the present. For example, with Machines, each two-page spread displays a pop-up modern machine such as a dump truck or forklift, with its predecessor included in background illustration. Turn the page and the modern machine moves in some manner to show how it operates: a wheel revolves or a ladder on the fire engine extends. In a review of both pop-up books, a critic for Appraisal noted that "these two books have

Indiana Jones guides the reader through ancient Egyptian culture, history, religion, rulers, and art. (From Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Egypt, written by Malam and illustrated by Jeffrey Burn.)

Malam explains the rules of being a gladiator, from the training (your life depends upon it), meals (strengthening porridge, barley, and ash), punishments for trying to escape (severe), and winning every fight (to live long enough to retire) in You Wouldn't Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!: Gory Things You'd Rather Not Know. (Illustrated by David Antram.)

great visual appeal for young children," but added that Machines was the more "successful" title. The reviewer noted the possible confusion that might arise in comparing various dinosaurs in size to modern animals and machines, as if Triceratops and the elephant co-existed in time.

With his "Indiana Jones Explores" series, Malam was able to blend his knowledge of ancient history and archaeology with a novel learning format. Dr. Jones appears on every page of these books, which explore ancient civilizations from Egypt to the Vikings. Acting as tour guide, Jones provides first-person commentary to a wealth of photos, illustrations, and maps that illuminate the high points of each civilization discussed. "Fact File" sidebars also present information in a tabular or list form, time lines help to put the various civilizations in context with events in the larger world, and end matter includes glossaries, indexes, and references for further reading. Jennifer Brabander, reviewing Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Egypt for the Horn Book Guide, commented that the text "is patronizing," but that the book will surely be read by "young fans of Indiana Jones." A School Librarian critic, reviewing the same title, also remarked on the use of Indiana Jones as the guide: "Whether or not Professor Jones adds to the appeal of the book is questionable; his presence is certainly rather obtrusive."

Malam once offered to SATA these comments from two of his fans: "Patricia Casbas, a fourth-grade student from Spain, wrote, 'I really liked the detailed facts and all the pictures. I personally think the Indiana Jones pictures make the book more interesting.' Tom Partridge, age ten, from England, wrote, 'I think your books are brilliant. I especially like Indiana Jones Explores the Incas.'"

Dr. Jones continues his educational seminars in Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Greece, in which "the achievements of the Greeks in literature and the arts, science, medicine, architecture and philosophy and athletics are quite painlessly recounted," according to a contributor to Junior Bookshelf. Arlyn Christopherson, reviewing Indiana Jones Explores the Incas in Science Books & Films, noted that "colorful drawings and photographs, each with its own description, break up the lively and interesting text."

In addition to the "Indiana Jones" books, Malam has also helped to create information books that employ flaps to lift and discover new facts, such as My First Dinosaurs and My First Questions and Answers. He has also contributed to several multi-author series of books, including the "Tell Me About" series of biographies on famous artists, explorers, engineers, and pioneers; the "Everyday History" series, about daily life in historical periods; the "Remains to Be Seen" series and the "History Starts Here" series, both about ancient history; and the "You Wouldn't Want to Be …" series, which discusses the less pleasant and usually glossed over aspects of history. In You Wouldn't Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!, Malam discusses the rules of battle for a gladiator, as well as the interesting types of fights they performed; sometimes Roman leaders would flood an arena to simulate a sea battle, and other times, wild animals were released to make the event seem like a wild hunt. Elizabeth Stumpf of School Library Journal wrote that the books would be "extremely popular with students who relish a bit of blood and guts" in their history lessons.

Malam's Gladiator: Life and Death in Ancient Rome and Titanic: Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure form part of the "MegaBites" series. In Gladiator, Malam focuses not only on the role of the gladiator in Ancient Rome, but also what homes were like, what kind of clothing Ancient Romans wore, and how the Empire mysteriously fell. He reveals to readers how the gladiator was both rewarded with fame and glory, but also shunned, because most gladiators were either prisoners of war or criminals before they were forced to fight in the gladitorial rings. "The conversational tone makes the reading memorable," wrote Laura Glaser in her School Library Journal review. In Titanic, Malam not only discusses the catastrophe of the sinking of the ship Titanic, but also explains to readers how modern technology has allowed scientists to recover ancient wrecks. Added to these details are notes of pirate activity and treasure hunters, which Ann G. Brouse of School Library Journal said "add extra spice to these dramatic accounts," calling the series of books "irresistable." Janet Julian, writing for Kliatt, considered the series "carefully researched, up to date, and engagingly written."

The "Building Works" series features four titles by Malam, all of them giving some historical background of modern types of buildings, then discussing their use in modern culture. His Library: From Ancient Scrolls to the World Wide Web, for example, talks about mobile libraries such as book-mobiles and specialized libraries, as well as discussing ancient collections and the Internet. Theatre: From First Rehearsal to Opening Night teaches readers about the different parts of a modern theater as well as describing historical styles of theater from Ancient Greece and Shakespearean England. Hospital: From Accident and Emergency to X-Ray gives a time line of historical hospitals, but focuses more on the parts of the modern hospital and the equipment a child might encounter on a visit there. "Malam's title will help prepare children for a hospital stay," noted Martha Gordon in a review for School Library Journal. Airport: Behind the Scenes, Check-in to Take-off provides similarly historical and modern context for flying on an airplane. All the books in the series contain "helpful glossaries and indexes," according to Betsy Barnett of School Library Journal.

On Malam's Web site, he explains that someday he would like to write fiction, if he had the chance. Until then, he works out of his office at home. "My office looks like a library (a messy one), with eight book cases full of books, mostly reference ones," he explained. "The floor is always covered in piles of books, too. It wouldn't matter how big my office was, I'd always end up filling it with books!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Appraisal, autumn, 1991, review of Dinosaurs and Machines, pp. 96-97.

Growing Point, March, 1992, p. 5668.

Horn Book Guide, fall, 1992, Jennifer Brabander, review of Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Egypt, p. 334.

Junior Bookshelf, August, 1993, review of Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Greece, p. 154.

Kliatt, July, 2002, Janet Julian, review of "Secret Worlds" series, p. 48.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), November 9, 2003, Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy, "Pictures and Text Give Life to History," p. J11.

School Librarian, February, 1992, review of Indiana Jones Explores Ancient Egypt, p. 25.

School Library Journal, April, 1992, p. 12; April, 1994, p. 141; September, 2000, Martha Gordon, review of Hospital: From Accident and Emergency to X-Ray, p. 252; November, 2000, Betsy Barnett, review of "Building Works" series, p. 172; September, 2001, Elizabeth Stumpf, review of You Wouldn't Want to Be a Roman Gladiator!, p. 250; June, 2002, Laura Glaser, review of Gladiator: Life and Death in Ancient Rome, p. 166; September 2003, Ann G. Brouse, review of Titanic: Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure, p. 226.

Science Books & Films, April, 1994, Arlyn Christopher-son, review of Indiana Jones Explores the Incas, p. 84.

ONLINE

John Malam Home Page, http://www.johnmalam.co.uk/ (April 1, 2004).

Jubilee Books Online, http://www.jubileebooks.co.uk/ (April 1, 2004), profile of Malam.*

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almost 4 years ago

Ola,sou muito fã de Jonh Malam,mas tudo o que vejo dele e engles,sou brasileira e gostaria de me informar com os contactos de Jonh Malam,gostaria de que ele ouvisse esta mensagem:o livro com o titulo "fadas" que vc escreveu é real,vc acredita em fadas?quero saber mais sobre vc.