Staub, Frank 1949–

views updated

Staub, Frank 1949–

(Frank Jacob Staub)

PERSONAL: Born May 28, 1949, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Frank Leonard (a musician and office worker) and Virginia Anderson Staub; married Sally Hammond. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Muhlenberg College, B.S., 1971; University of Rhode Island, M.S., 1975.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 50801, Tucson, AZ 85703. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and photographer. Formerly worked as a high school life sciences and chemistry teacher, railroad track laborer, truck driver, veterinary assistant, and white water river guide.

MEMBER: Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, World Wildlife Fund, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, National Audubon Society.

AWARDS, HONORS: Selection as outstanding science trade book for children, Children's Book Council and National Science Teachers Association, 1993, for America's Prairies; selection among best children's books of the year, Bank Street College, 1998, for Moose, and 2000, for Sea Lions; editor's choice selection, Science Books and Films, for Sea Lions; Carter G. Woodson Book Award and cited as notable social studies trade book for young people, Children's Book Council and National Council for the Social Studies, both for Children of the Tlingit.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN; AND PHOTOGRAPHER

Let's Take a Trip to Yellowstone Park, Troll Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 1990.

A Day in the Life of a Ski Patroller, Troll Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 1991.

The Signs Animals Leave, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 2001.

America's Mountains, Mondo Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.

The Kids' Book of Clouds and Sky, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.

Photosynthesis, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 2003.

The Food Chain, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 2003.

America's Forests and Woodlands, Mondo Publishing (New York, NY), 2005.

Running Free: America's Wild Horses, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2006.

"EARLY BIRD NATURE BOOKS" SERIES; AND PHOTOGRAPHER

Mountain Goats, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

Sea Turtles, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Alligators, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Herons, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Manatees, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Prairie Dogs, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Walruses, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Sea Lions, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 2000.

"EARTH WATCH" SERIES; AND PHOTOGRAPHER

Yellowstone's Cycle of Fire, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1993.

America's Prairies, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

America's Wetlands, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

America's Forests, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

"THE WORLD'S CHILDREN" SERIES; AND PHOTOGRAPHER

The Children of the Sierra Madre, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Children of Yucatan, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Children of Cuba, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1996.

Children of Belize, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1997.

Children of Dominica, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Children of Hawaii, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

Children of the Tlingit, Carolrhoda (Minneapolis, MN), 1999.

PHOTOGRAPHER; FOR CHILDREN

Guy J. Spencer, Let's Take a Trip to an Ancient Forest, Troll Associates (Mahwah, NJ), 1987.

Ginger Wadsworth, Giant Sequoia Trees, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1995.

Lesley A. DuTemple, Moose, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 1998.

Val Rapp, Life in an Old Growth Forest, Lerner Publishing Group (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

Contributor of photographs to numerous reference books. Contributor to photographs to periodicals, including National Geographic World, Natural History, Outside, Smithsonian, Backpacker, Fitness, Utne Reader, Woman's Day, Country Life, and Outdoor America.

ADULT NONFICTION

(With Peter Anderson; and photographer) The Upper Arkansas River—Rapids, History, and Nature: Mile by Mile, Fulcrum Publishing (Golden, CO), 1988.

Contributor to periodicals, including Travel and Leisure, Dodge Adventurer, Chevy Outdoors, Cyclist, Backpacker, Outdoor America, Bicycling, American Forests, Tailwinds, and Colorado Monthly. Past contributing editor, Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking.

Staub has also written and photographed numerous audiovisual productions, mostly on nature-related subjects.

SIDELIGHTS: Athleticism, skill in photography, and a passion for the out-of-doors has allowed Frank Staub to channel his advanced knowledge of biology and zoology into a career as an author and photographer of children's books focusing on the natural world. His books present basic facts about animal life, geography, history, culture, and ecology, enhancing young readers' growing sense of the diversity of life on earth. Formatted for use as a research tool, the books contains a glossary, index, and other study aids.

Staub earned his master's degree in zoology. After briefly teaching high school, Staub embarked on a career as a freelance writer and photographer. He started out writing scripts and taking photographs for educational slide sets and filmstrips. By the early 1980s he began to have success writing articles and taking pictures for magazines. The first book to feature Staub's photography was Guy J. Spencer's Let's Take a Trip to an Ancient Forest. The Upper Arkansas River—Rapids, History, and Nature: Mile by Mile featured Staub as the principal author and photographer.

Staub's books on animals were formatted for the "Early Bird Nature Books" series published by Lerner Publishing Group. Each volume is designed to provide young readers in grades two through four with useful information on a single animal, providing information on habitat, a description of the animal, its eating habits, and its place in the cycle of life. Beginning each chapter with a question, Staub augments his informative texts with full-color photographs that show each animal in its natural environment.

Reviewing Mountain Goats in the School Library Journal, contributor Amy Nunley called the work "marvelous," and added that Staub's "spectacular full-color photographs team up with a simple, informative text to create an appealing offering." Appraisal reviewer Sarah Ayres Berman noted that "Staub is an excellent photographer and uses his skill to take readers of Mountain Goats as close to these interesting animals as possible." Sea Turtles also drew praise from critics such as Frances E. Millhouser, who commented in the School Library Journal on the book's "well-organized and clearly written text" and noted especially the fact that "environmental dangers and attempts at protection are thoughtfully treated."

Herons offers young readers a look at a bird species that has also been subjected to environmental and other dangers, such as the egret, which was almost hunted to extinction to feed a human fashion frenzy for feathered hats in the 1800s. As in his other "early bird" books, Staub introduces readers to the home ranges and behavior patterns of these eye-catching creatures, and he discusses protective measures that have been enacted to preserve their species for future generations.

In addition to exploring the animal kingdom, Staub has also brought his attention—and his camera lens—to bear on the diversity within the human race in his "The World's Children" books. In The Children of the Sierra Madre, for example, he introduces readers to the young residents of Mexico's mountainous Sierra Madre region. Using photographs to show the way children live today, Staub also discusses the history of the region, its culture, and its geography. School Library Journal reviewer Sharon R. Pearce described the volume as "an inviting package that shows various aspects of life" in this area of Latin America. Praising both The Children of the Sierra Madre and Children of Yucatan, Annie Ayers noted in Booklist: "These photo-essays create a vital sense of immediacy…. Students … will be able to identify with these children and their lives," thus learning the lesson: "Our way is not the only way." Children of Cuba received particular praise from critics, both for Staub's matter-of-fact discussion of the impact of Castro's communist regime on modern life and for his photographs. As Susan Dove Lempke noted in Booklist, the photographs are superior to the stock photographs that are usually featured in such volumes. "Each picture is beautifully composed, crisply focused, and centered on people going about the fascinating minutiae of their daily lives," wrote the reviewer.

Children of the Tlingit focuses on a single group of native people—the Tlingit Eskimos of southeastern Alaska. For more than 100 years the Tlingit homeland and its people were exploited by their Russian overlords. Then Alaska was purchased by the United States in 1867, and the exploitation continued under new stewardship, imposing unwelcome if well-intentioned change on traditional Tlingit ways. In the mid-1950s, however, U.S. policies began to reflect a more humane respect for Tlingit customs and culture, and an age of revival and cultural preservation began. Staub offers a candid and balanced look at this transformation, observed Dee Storey in Social Education. Children of the Tlingit describes Tlingit life past and present, in what Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan recommended as "an appealing resource."

Several books about North American geography have also benefited from Staub's talents as both a writer and a photo-essayist. America's Prairies profiles the three types of grassland environments, as well as the animals that inhabit each, in a book that a Kirkus Reviews critic called "an excellent presentation." America's Forests similarly describes the nine types of forests that span North America, comparing and contrasting the plant and animal populations of each, and offering a brief overview of what Booklist contributor Phelan described as "basic woodland ecology."

In Let's Take a Trip to Yellowstone Park, Staub presents basic information via a "photo-journey" through one of America's natural wonders. In addition to describing the park's geography and geology, he discusses the ecosystem of the area, including the plant and animal life. According to an Appraisal contributor, the author "stresses the importance of letting nature take its course" with reference to efforts to manipulate the populations of animals such as the elk. Staub revisited Yellowstone for Yellowstone's Cycle of Fire, which focuses on the fires that laid waste to portions of the park in 1988. By providing photos of the efforts to contain the fires, as well as of the results of the blazes that consumed 13-million acres of wilderness, Staub "gives the experience a positive spin," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The work shows that the natural burn policy adhered to by the U.S. Park Service promotes a natural cycle of rebirth and new growth. Praising the work in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan noted that both Yellowstone's Cycle of Fire and America's Prairies "present … basic information in an attractive manner" and will be "valuable for classroom units or individual research."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Appraisal, winter, 1991, review of Let's Take a Trip to Yellowstone Park, pp. 76-77; fall, 1994, Sarah Ayres Berman, review of Mountain Goats, p. 61.

Booklist, February 1, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of America's Prairies, p. 1005; October 1, 1996, Annie Ayers, review of The Children of the Sierra Madre, p. 344; December 1, 1996, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Children of Cuba, pp. 650-651; July, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of Herons, p. 1816; April 1, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Children of Dominica, p. 1406; May 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of America's Forests, p. 1593; June 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Children of the Tlingit, p. 1827.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1994, review of Yellowstone's Cycle of Fire, p. 75; February 1, 1994, review of America's Prairies, p. 150.

School Library Journal, August, 1994, Amy Nunley, review of Mountain Goats, p. 152; April, 1995, Frances E. Millhouser, review of Sea Turtles, p. 146; August, 1996, Sharon R. Pearce, review of The Children of the Sierra Madre, p. 160; July, 2004, Patricia Manning, review of Kids' Book of Clouds and Sky, p. 128.

Social Education, May, 2001, Dee Storey, review of Children of the Tlingit, p. 218.

About this article

Staub, Frank 1949–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article