Goor, Nancy (Ruth Miller) 1944-
GOOR, Nancy (Ruth Miller) 1944-
PERSONAL: Born March 27, 1944, in Washington, DC; daughter of Martin H. (a government worker) and Helen (a teacher; maiden name, Zarkower) Miller; married Ronald S. Goor (a health administrator and photographer), March 12, 1967; children: Alexander, Daniel. Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.S., Boston University, M.F.A.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Choice Diets, Inc., P.O. Box 2053, Rockville, MD 20847-2053. E-mail—[email protected] choicediets.
CAREER: Teacher of art at public high school in Bethesda, MD, 1966-70; Smithsonian Institution, Natural History Museum, Washington, DC, director of Insect Zoo, summer, 1971, scientific illustrator, 1975-78.
MEMBER: Children's Book Guild, Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (corresponding secretary), Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Shadows: Here, There, and Everywhere was named an outstanding children's science book by National Science Teacher's Association/Children's Book Council Joint Committee, as a notable book by American Library Association, and as one of the Library of Congress's best books of the year, all 1981; In the Driver's Seat was named one of the best children's books of the year by New York Times and School Library Journal, both 1982; Signs was named one of the Notable Children's Books for the Language Arts, 1983; All Kinds of Feet was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children, 1984; Best Books of 1986 citation, School Library Journal, 1986, for Pompeii, which was also named on the American Library Association Booklist's Children's Editor's Choices list, the Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies list, and the Notable Children's Trade Books for the Language Arts list, all 1986; Heads was named an Oustanding Trade Book for Children, 1988.
NONFICTION FOR CHILDREN
(With Ron Goor) Shadows: Here, There, and Everywhere, photographs by Ron Goor, Crowell (New York, NY), 1981.
In the Driver's Seat (Junior Literary Guild selection), photographs by Ron Goor, Crowell (New York, NY), 1982.
Signs, photographs by Ron Goor, Crowell (New York, NY), 1983.
All Kinds of Feet, photographs by Ron Goor, Crowell (New York, NY), 1984.
Pompeii: Exploring a Roman Ghost Town, photographs by Ron Goor, Crowell (New York, NY), 1984.
Heads, photographs by Ron Goor, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.
Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, photographs by Ron Goor, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.
(With Ron Goor) Williamsburg: Cradle of the Revolution, photographs by Ron Goor, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.
NONFICTION FOR ADULTS; WITH HUSBAND, RON GOOR
Eater's Choice: A Food Lover's Guide to Lower Cholesterol, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1987, fifth edition, 1999.
(With Katherine Boyd) The Choose to Lose Diet: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1990, revised edition published as Choose to Lose: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, 1995.
Eater's Choice Low-Fat Cookbook: Eat Your Way to Thinness and Good Health, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999.
Choose to Lose Weight-Loss Plan for Men: A Take-Control Program for Men with the Guts to Lose, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Nancy Goor and her husband, Ron, have worked together to create numerous children's books, and also a very successful series of books about lowering cholesterol through attention to diet and exercise. Goor explained to CA: "Ron and I began writing health books as a result of Ron's professional and our personal life. When Ron was thirty-one, he learned he had dangerously high cholesterol. I began adapting and creating recipes to be low in saturated fat (the culprit in the diet that raises blood cholesterol) and delicious. We love to eat. Ron soon became the National Coordinator of the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This trial determined that if you lower your cholesterol, you lower your risk for heart disease. He later became National Coordinator of the Cholesterol Education Program." Ron Goor eventually left the NIH to develop health programs independently, which led to the Goors' food books.
The Goors' books are based on the small-group weight counseling program designed by the couple. The program is offered in many hospital and workplace wellness programs, and cardiac rehabilitation centers, around the United States. Although the primary goal of the program is to lower blood cholesterol levels, the Goors found that weight loss was a side effect. Their first book on the subject was Eater's Choice: A Food Lover's Guide to Lower Cholesterol. That was followed by The Choose to Lose Diet: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, which guides the reader to determine his own fat budget. Then, by becoming aware of the fat contents of foods, the dieter can choose whatever he or she wants to eat as long as it fits into the daily fat budget. A light, humorous tone to the text helps to encourage readers and dieters, as do the 320 recipes Nancy Goor created for the books and program. They include dishes such as Cajun Chicken, Chili Non Carne, and Onion Flat Bread. The authors contend that if one keeps an eye on fat calories and restricts them, it will be very difficult to consume too many calories in the total diet, no matter what else is eaten. Reviewing Eater's Choice, a writer for Environmental Nutrition credited the Goors with doing a "first-rate job" in explaining how fat leads to heart disease and why everyone should eat a heart-healthy diet. In an Environmental Nutrition review of The Choose to Lose Diet, another writer remarked: "While the concept of reducing total fat in the diet for weight loss is not new, the Goors' approach of counting fat calories simplifies the process."
Reflecting on her work in children's books, Goor once told CA: "I have always considered myself an artist. I majored in art in college, taught art in public high school, did scientific illustrations, and enjoy silkscreening, painting, and drawing. Although I have written and illustrated stories since childhood, it was not until I wrote a newspaper article—'Traveling to Sicily with Children'—that my career took a new direction. I began writing children's books when Harper & Row said they would publish my husband's fictional manuscript on shadows if he would change it to nonfiction. I wrote the new text, and Shadows: Here, There, and Everywhere was published by Thomas Y. Crowell in fall, 1981. In the Driver's Seat, a children's book using Ron's photographs and my text, was published in fall, 1982. Our third book together, Signs, was published by Crowell in fall, 1983.
"Ron and I work well together. When he was special assistant to the director of the National Museum of Natural History, he got the idea to have a live insect zoo in the museum. He needed a volunteer to direct the museum and do the artwork. I eagerly agreed. Creating the insect zoo and directing it that first summer, in 1971, was a fantastic experience.
"Writing books together has also been exciting and rewarding. Getting the ideas seems to be the easiest part. For example, when my younger son was in the first grade he told me, 'Mommy, I like to read signs.' 'Aha,' said I. Then Ron and I set to work. Ron took hundreds of pictures of signs. I organized, reorganized, and reorganized them again, wrote several texts, and Signs was published.
"Neither Ron nor I remember which one of us thought of the idea for In the Driver's Seat; however, we were both convinced that driving a tank, a supersonic jet, or front-end loader would be something any kid—or even old kids like us—would love to do. By doing the book I got to ride in an army tank, an electric engine, and an eighteen-wheel truck, on a combine, and to sit in the driver's seat of the Concorde, a front-end loader, and a race car!
"Each book brings new adventures. I got to ride in the cab of an old-time steam engine and pull the horn! To get a picture of a beach umbrella making a shadow for Shadows, we went to the beach for the day. We buried our older son up to his neck in the sand. Children kept running over his sand-covered body thinking he was truly only a head. We took pictures of killer guard dogs—a frightening but fascinating experience—to illustrate 'Beware of Dog' sign for Signs.
"Writing nonfiction for young children is a challenge. You have to write simply about subjects that are often difficult or complicated. How does a blimp work? What is a shadow? The text must be clear, and, as in all writing, the words must have rhythm and sound right when placed together. The aim of our books is to expand a child's awareness and interest in the common, everyday things around him. The advantage of using photography is that photographs capture the real thing—that which can be found in a child's environment."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 15, 1995, Carolyn Phelan, review of Williamsburg: Cradle of the Revolution, p. 916.
Environmental Nutrition, December, 1988, "New Cholesterol Treatment Program," p. 2; September, 1990, review of The Choose to Lose Diet: A Food Lover's Guide to Permanent Weight Loss, p. 8; December, 1995, review of Eater's Choice: A Food Lover's Guide to Lower Cholesterol and Choose to Lose, p. 8.
Horn Book, February, 1982, Nancy Sheridan, review of Shadows: Here, There, and Everywhere, p. 63; December, 1983, Ann A. Flowers, review of Signs, p. 700; August, 1984, Nancy C. Hammond, review of All Kinds of Feet, p. 484; January-February, 1987, Margaret A. Bush, review of Pompeii: Exploring a Roman Ghost Town, p. 72; September-October, 1990, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, p. 619.
Instructor and Teacher, November-December, 1982, Allan Yeager, review of In the Driver's Seat, p. 151; May, 1984, Allan Yeager, review of All Kinds of Feet, p. 102.
Library Journal, April 15, 1987, Allayne C. Heyduk, review of Eater's Choice, p. 92; February 1, 1990, Linda S. Karch, review of The Choose to Lose Diet, p. 100.
New York Times, November 14, 1982, Sherwin D. Smith, review of In the Driver's Seat, p. 60; November 30, 1982, George A. Woods, review of In the Driver's Seat, p. 23; July 26, 1989, Marian Burros, review of Eater's Choice, p. B6.
Publishers Weekly, December 12, 1986, Diane Roback, review of Pompeii: Exploring a Roman Ghost Town, p. 58; December 19, 1986, Penny Kaganoff, review of Eater's Choice, p. 41; January 26, 1990, Molly McQuade, review of The Choose to Lose Diet, p. 416.
School Library Journal, September, 1981, Ann G. Brouse, review of Shadows, p. 107; November, 1982, review of In the Driver's Seat, p. 68; September, 1984, Carolyn Vang, review of All Kinds of Feet, p. 102; December, 1986, Marguerite F. Raybould, review of Pompeii, p. 103; December, 1988, Leda Schubert, review of Heads, p. 98; June, 1990, Diane Nunn, review of Insect Metamorphosis, p. 112; December, 1990, review of Insect Metamorphosis: From Egg to Adult, p. 22; June, 1995, Margaret C. Howell, review of Williamsburg, p. 120.
Scientific American, December, 1981, Philip Morrison, review of Shadows, p. 38.
Washington Post, June 16, 1987, Carole Sugarman, review of Eater's Choice, p. WH14; July 20, 1993, Jay Siwek, review of Eater's Choice, p. WN15.*