Urban Education Institute STEP Project

Butterflies Don't Grow from Mud - spreadA collection of trade-quality non-fiction texts, produced and designed for the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute. The books were designed to assess reading skills using the kind of material kids will encounter in the real world, written by award-winning authors such as Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Marc Aronson, Tanya Lee Stone, and Kathleen Krull. Done in partnership with Marc Aronson and John Glenn.

On the Record

On the Record booksPaired profiles of contemporary figures for middle grade and high school readers, edited for Elizabeth Ward at Scholastic. Each pair of stories follows its subjects on a personal journey—to survive harrowing experiences in the wilderness (Joe Simpson and Aron Ralston), report stories from a war zone (Sebastian Junger and Sonia Nazario), make it as a professional athlete (LeBron James and Jim Morris), understand themselves by uncovering family secrets (Barack Obama and Amy Tan).

A Wicked History

A Wicked History booksA collection of 26 biographies, covering the history of evil-doing from Hannibal to Hitler. Edited for Elizabeth Ward at Scholastic.

“The Wicked History series does a great job of introducing kids to some notorious names. The compact hardcovers don’t sensationalize, but they make the point that their subjects are very ruthless people indeed…. From the eye-catching covers to the solid maps and historical engravings and illustrations (all made to look of a piece, even though they may be from different sources), the books have pick-me-up appeal. Even kids who don’t think they like history may change their minds when confronted with these.” – Ilene Cooper, Booklist

Action Books

Action BooksA collection of 48 books produced for Scholastic as an independent developer. Action books took on hi-interest topics at targeted reading levels for struggling readers in middle school and high school. The Action collection included original fiction by popular authors such as Rita Williams Garcia, Lauren Myracle, and Jerdine Nolen.

Lynx Books

Lynx BooksA collection of 20 leveled readers covering science and social studies topics for middle-grade and high school students. Lynx books were designed to be paired with a collection of short graphic novels. Produced as an independent developer for Steck Vaughn / Harcourt Achieve.

Tod Olson