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Highlights Press Fall 2019

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The Poison Eaters
Fighting Danger and Fraud in our Food and Drugs
By (author): Gail Jarrow
9781629794389 Hardcover English Juvenile: Age (years) from 10 - 17, Grade (US) from 5 - 12 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Health & Daily Living / Diet & Nutrition Oct 15, 2019
$24.99 CAD
Active 8.25 x 10.25 x 0.67 in 160 pages Boyd Mills Press Calkins Creek

Six starred reviews—Booklist BCCB Kirkus Reviews Publishers Weekly School Library Connection Shelf Awareness

A Washington Post Best Children’s Book * NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor Book * A BCCB Blue Ribbon * A Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book * A NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 * A Chicago Public Library Best Children’s Book

★ “Revolting and riveting in turns, Jarrow’s masterfully crafted narrative will fundamentally alter how readers view their food.Though laced with toxins, this is anything but toxic.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Here is the fascinating true story of how food was made safer to eat thanks to the stubborn dedication of government chemist Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, whose hard work and determination led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Formaldehyde, borax, salicylic acid. Today, these chemicals are used in embalming fluids, cleaning supplies, and acne medications. But in 1900, they were routinely added to food that Americans ate from cans and jars. Often products weren’t safe because unregulated, unethical companies added these and other chemicals to trick consumers into buying spoiled food or harmful medicines. Chemist Harvey Washington Wiley recognized these dangers and began a relentless thirty-year campaign to ensure that consumers could purchase safe food and drugs, eventually leading to the creation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Acclaimed nonfiction and Sibert Honor winning author Gail Jarrow uncovers this intriguing history in her trademark style that makes the past enthrallingly relevant for today’s young readers.

Story Locale: While the work focuses on the creation and evolution of the FDA in Washington, D.C., it also references Indiana’s Hanover College and Purdue University (home of the Harvey W. Wiley Residence Hall) as well as Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: Recently the recipient of the 2019 Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book for her title SPOOKED!, Gail Jarrow is a highly acclaimed nonfiction author for children known for her extensive research.

OUTSTANDING STEM TITLE: The title is ideal for students and classrooms.

PERENNIALLY POPULAR TOPICS: Nonfiction books about “gross” topics are popular with young readers while the nonfiction topics of chemistry, history, biography, and politics will appeal to teachers, librarians, and parents.

DELVES INTO OTHER HISTORICAL MOMENTS: The Poison Eaters touches upon critical moments in history such as the terms of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and both Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the Civil War, World War I and the 1930s; the muckrakers and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle; women activists; the Radium Girls; and the FDA’s “Chamber of Horrors.”

FULL-COLOR PAGES AND PHOTOGRAPHS: The text offers a colorful and engaging layout. Sidebars provide extra information such as the steps to passing a bill and the current duties of the FDA.

EXTENSIVE BACKMATTER: Thorough source material includes a glossary, timeline, more to explore, an author’s note, source notes, bibliography, and index.

Gail Jarrow is the author of nonfiction books and novels for young readers. Her books have earned the Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor, YALSA Award Nomination for Excellence in Nonfiction, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book, Outstanding Science Trade Book, a NSTA Best STEM book, the Jefferson Cup Award, the Eureka! Gold Award, an Orbis Pictus Recommendation, as well as Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal Best Books and VOYA Honor Book distinctions.

Author Residence: Ithaca, New York

Marketing: Advertising

Institutional advertising—review based

Wholesaler co-op advertising


Author to appear at ALA Annual, Washington, DC, June 2019 to accept Sibert Honor Award for SPOOKED!

Feature title at key educational and library conferences


Author Q&A/feature on

Gail Jarrow educator guide

VIP mailing with editor letter

Publicity: Publicity/Social Media

Blog tour promotion/giveaway

Pitch to Gail Jarrow local media (Ithaca, NY)

Pitch to science and national media

Promote book on BMP Twitter, Facebook, Instagram with visual assets, author Q&A, and giveaways; targeted ads when applicable.

Author Website:

“Not just for…middle-graders…(a) lively… thoroughly researched book.”
 The Washington Post

★ “(A) fascinating, stomach-churning account of Harvey Washington Wiley’s crusade for food safety standards and regulation in the U.S. Vintage ads, product labels, newspaper headlines, cartoons, and photographs offer a visual feast for readers, who will be so engrossed in the stories of unconscionable products and unwitting victims that they won’t realize they’re imbibing a powerful lesson in food safety and the evolution of today’s FDA. Extensive source notes and resources are icing on the cake.”— Booklist, starred review

★ “Jarrow is brutally honest in her descriptions of the ill effects of certain toxins, and the included cheerful ads promoting poisonous products make for a particularly chilling juxtaposition. The no-nonsense tone mixes with wealth of riveting anecdotes to create a surprisingly heady brew of consumer history.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

★ “Jarrow vivaciously draws readers into a world of horrors hiding in plain taste. Maintaining a matter-of-fact, conversational tone throughout, she presents a tantalizing flood of anecdotes and facts, text peppered with old magazine adverts, photographs, and gory details aplenty; extensive backmatter encourages further research into a subject more than fascinating enough to warrant it. Revolting and riveting in turns, Jarrow’s masterfully crafted narrative will fundamentally alter how readers view their food. Though laced with toxins, this is anything but toxic.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “A provocative…riveting chronicle…(i)n gripping, relatable language… this easy-to-read work (is) a fine classroom resource and an excellent addition to any collection. ”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “In this microhistory about the pure food movement, Gail Jarrow has created an excellent reference book about a little-regarded topic that will be useful to classes learning about science, American history, and government. The pictures include a variety of primary sources, including photographs, advertisements, political cartoons, and letters, all of which support further research.”School Library Connection, starred review

“With detailed descriptions of revolting food-production standards and dangerously uncontrolled medications, Jarrow captivates readers with a history of food and drug regulation. Recommended for nonfiction readers and anyone interested in what they are eating.”—School Library Journal

“Jarrow…traces the story of Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, now known as the “Father of the FDA,” who devoted his life to getting the federal government to take responsibility for protecting consumers from poisonous foods. It’s a fascinating horror story and an important study of real-life heroes who stood up and fought for government intervention on behalf of the American people.The book’s open layout and plentiful archival photographs, advertisements, and other visuals enhance accessibility and interest.” The Horn Book Review

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