Michael J. Daley (1959–) Biography
Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1959, in Worcester, MA; Education: Dartmouth College, B.A. (English), 1981. Hobbies and other interests: Tinkering and construction, Scottish dancing, wine making, renewable energy, citizen activism.
Writer and educator. Grocery manager, c. early 1980s; yarn mill spinning fram operator, mid-1980s–1991; Great New England Energy Show, coordinator, 1989–94, publisher, 1995–96; energy lobbyist, 1996–99.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health, New England Coalition, Electric Auto Club of America, American Solar Energy Society.
Rhode Island Children's Book Award nomination, 2007, for Space Station Rat.
At Home with the Sun: Solar Energy for Young Scientists, Professor Solar Press, 1995.
Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril?, Lerner Publications (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.
Amazing Sun Fun Activities, illustrated by Buckley Smith, Learning Triangle Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Choose Your Own Future Adventure Game, Northeast Sustainable Energy Assn., 1998.
Getting around without Gasoline, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, 2002.
Space Station Rat, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2005.
Shanghaied to the Moon, G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including St. Anthony Messenger, Momentum, Youth Update, America, and Religion Teacher's Journal.
Michael J. Daley was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and grew up in nearby Millbury, until his family moved first to the Berkshires and then to Vermont, where he now makes his home. His life-long love of science, machines, tinkering, and science fiction have informed his books for both children and adults with a unique spirit. In At Home with the Sun: Solar Energy for Young Scientists, for example, he provides young readers with directions for a Pizza Box Solar Oven, a popular project because the oven is fun to build, and because Daley's directions include the recipe for solar s'mores. In addition to his writing, Daley ha s presented energy issues to over 25,000 children throughout New England.
With Space Station Rat, Daley moves into fiction, spinning a futuristic story about a boy named Jeff who lives with his parents on a space observation station. The only young person on the station, Jeff is usually in the way or in trouble of one sort or another. Then adventure enters his life when he decides to help his robotic nanny in the task of finding a space-station stowaway: a rodent who is chewing on and damaging the station's electrical wiring. Unknown to Jeff, the rat Nanny is hunting is not a normal rodent: an escaped lab rat, the creature is actually a smart, technologically proficient creature that has been trained to wiretap and retrieve confidential information. Rat has also been taught to communicate on a computer keyboard, as Jeff learns when he begins receiving e-mails from the tiny typist. In Daley's novel, rat and boy learn to trust each other, thwart Nanny's efforts to destroy the rodent, and become friends despite their odd circumstances.
Chris Sherman, writing in Booklist, enjoyed Space Station Rat, writing that "short, snappy sentences, appealing characters, and tension between Nanny and Jeff combine with constant threats of ship malfunctions and Rat's struggle to survive to create a fast-paced story sure to please science fiction buffs." Elaine E. Knight, a reviewer for School Library Journal, called the book "a thoughtful and satisfying adventure for middle grade science-fiction fans," and a Kirkus Reviews critic predicted that "science geeks will enjoy the details of life on a space shuttle."
Daly told SATA: "In my fiction I want the readers to fell like they've visited outer space. In my novel Shanghaied to the Moon readers will take a journey to the moon in a space shuttle and re-live some of the perils and beauty faced by pioneering astronauts.
"I write my books in a five-by-five-foot tower room, on a solar-powered laptop computer. This keeps me well-acquainted with the cramped conditions in spaceships and space stations!"
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 1, 1997, Chris Sherman, review of Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril?, p. 459; August, 2005, Chris Sherman, review of Space Station Rat, p. 2026.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2005, review of Space Station Rat.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2005, review of Space Station Rat, p. 635.
School Library Journal, January, 1998, Linda Wadleigh, review of Nuclear Power, p. 122; August, 2005, Elaine E. Knight, review of Space Station Rat, p. 126.
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