Chasing Helicity by Ginger Zee

In the time it takes to create a waterspout, Ginger Zee was hooked on weather.

GINGER ZEE

ABC NEWS – Ginger Zee )ABC/Heidi Gutman)

“My mom kept shouting at me to get out of the way,” says Zee, who was eight years old at the time. “I thought it was the coolest thing, I was mesmerized. That’s when I decided that when I grew up I wanted to become a meteorologist on national TV.”

Fast forward a decade or so. After attending Valparaiso University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology as well as majors in both mathematics and Spanish, Zee worked as a meteorologist for several stations including WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids (she was born and raised in nearby Rockford, Michigan), WYIN-TV in Merrillville and

WMAQ-TV in Chicago before making her debut on Good Morning America in 2011 as the show’s first woman meteorologist. She now is their chief meteorologist and hosts an ABC News original digital series “Food Forecast,” focused on climate and its impact on agriculture. Added to all this and in keeping with her interest in science, she also recently authored Chasing Helicity (Disney-Hyperion 2018; $16.99), the first in a series of three children’s book for ages 8 to 12 about a girl named Helicity—a physics term meaning “to spin.”

“Helicity is a character I’ve been dreaming about for years,” the Emmy Award-winning Zee tweeted earlier this year, noting the book is semi-autobiographical.

Indeed, Helicity is an adventurous weather aficionado who barely escapes a tornado barreling through her home town because she’s so caught up in capturing it on film. Also like Zee, who describes herself as being “different” from the other kids when she was growing up, Helicity sometimes has trouble fitting in.

“Helicity lives in a hyper-reality where so much is happening to her all the time—which at times is very much like my own life,” says Zee who since joining ABC News has covered most major weather events. She’s broadcasted from the Jersey Shore during Hurricane Sandy and Colorado at a time of both horrendous floods and wildfires. She’s also been on the ground following tornados in Moore and El Reno, Oklahoma.

“I fly to the storm, I’m always chasing the storm and I’m in the storm,” she says. “Helicity has lots of adventures too.”

Even the name, Helicity, has long been a favorite.

““I chose that name because it’s one of my favorites,” says Zee. “If I had a daughter I thought about naming her Helicity.

My husband asked if was crazy when I told him that.”

The couple has two boys; neither is named after a weather event.

Zee had another reason to write her book.

“I want to encourage students to take an interest in science and technology,” she says, noting that she often speaks about weather at schools. “I want to let them know what’s out there in terms of science and I have the platform to do just that.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books for Kids for the Holidays

Who Is Stevie Wonder? by Jim Gigliotti (Grosset & Dunlap 2016; $5.99). Gigliotti, a former editor at the “National Football League,” has written numerous “who are biographies for about famous people such as Olympian Jesse Owens and baseball star Roberto Clemente. In this book, he explores the life of Steveland Judkins, who at age 11 auditioned for Motown Record Corporation, wowing most of the listeners with his ability to play multiple instruments and sing. What many didn’t know that day, the boy who would become Stevie Wonder and win 25 Grammy Awards as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was blind.

Megan Stine does the same thing in Who Was Michael Jackson? showing young readers how the gifted singer from Gary, Indiana went on to become an international star.

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Knopf Books for Young Readers 2017; $17.99) tells the story of two teens—Henry and Rachel who meet again after years apart. When she was younger, Rachel had a huge crush on Henry and the day before she moved, she tucked a

love letter to him into a book.

Now the two are working in a bookstore together. But life has changed so much in that intervening time. Rachel’s brother has died and she feels numb. Will working with Henry in the bookstore and discovering books together change all that.

You betcha.