Marc Aronson

Author, Professor, Speaker, and Publisher

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Marc Aronson is an author, professor, speaker, editor and publisher who believes that young people, especially pre-teens and teenagers, are smart, passionate, and capable of engaging with interesting ideas in interesting ways.

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He writes books, visits schools, teaches classes, and publishes books that affirm this belief. His mission is to inspire young people to ask questions, to look around, behind, inside of the stories the world tells us – whether that means being a detective, examining the clues history has left behind, or a reporter, telling the truth about the modern world.

Dr. Aronson’s books are arranged in three age groups: Elementary/Middle; Middle/High School; Adult. He is currently engaged in a long-term project to figure out how to best understand and share a full history of the human world.

Aronson’s love of nonfiction and his conviction that young people can read carefully, examine evidence, and engage with new and challenging ideas is reflected in his teaching at Rutgers University, where he trains future librarians in how to select and share materials with children and teenagers, and his active work as and educational consultant, working with librarians, teachers and administrators. He has addressed national ALA, IRA, NCTE, and NCSS conferences and has been asked to speak to statewide conventions in California, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee as well as numberless schools throughout the country.

Aronson has a doctorate in American History – his focus was on William Crary Brownell, Edith Wharton’s editor, and he published his conclusions as a lengthy essay in the New York Times Book Review. His parents, the scenic designers Boris and Lisa Aronson, as well as his maternal aunt, the weaver Trude Guermonprez, and grandfather, the conductor Heinrich Jalowetz were deeply involved with the arts and modernism. Here is a recent interview with Marc by the Yiddish Book Center, discussing Lisa and Boris Aronson’s work.

Here is a clip of him speaking about this lineage in London. He is working with his wife the author Marina Budhos on further research. That family background in 20th century cultural innovation informs all of his work with 21st century readers. He writes a twice-monthly column called “Consider the Source” for School Library Journal in which he shares his ongoing observations about books, education, reading, nonfiction, and more. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their two sons. The three Aronson males are avid sports players and fans and are always up for a game of pick-up basketball.

35 Comments

  1. Azim Qurashi

    Mr. Aronson is visiting crossroads middle school tomorow!

  2. Amalia Winn

    Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), as well as on original imagination, such as polemical works as well as autobiography, and reflective essays as well as belles-lettres. Literature can be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. The concept of genre, which earlier was limited, has broadened over the centuries. “^^.

    Ciao
    <http://healthwellnessbook.com/index.php

  3. Kristen Clark

    My daughter and I are enjoying reading “If Stones Could Speak”. Your writing style has kept both of us engaged in learning about this ancient wonder.

    Perhaps someone else has commented, however I noticed a technical error in the “Carbon-14 Dating” box on p. 33. The explanation should read: “most of the carbon we take in has *6* neutrons. But some has *8*.” This mom/chemistry teacher couldn’t resist sending in a correction.

    Regardless, thank you for a fascinating read!

  4. Hello,

    Donna Ogle from National Lewis University recommended we contact you. I’m writing on behalf of the STEP Literacy Assessment Program at the University of Chicago (see http://uchicagoimpact.org/step/). We are currently in the process of developing a new reading assessment for students in grades 4-6 that will have both informational and fictional text passages that are aligned to Common Core in order to assess reading comprehension. We were hoping to see if you might be available to write a few of the passages for this assessment. Please let us know if you are interested in this project, and we can send you additional information. Thank you for your time.

  5. Deborah hodges

    I had the pleasure of seeing you in Kansas. Would you be so kind as to help me with a problem? I plan to address my staff, I am a librarian, about the “interest trumps age” idea you presented to our conference. My Problem is, however, that many of my teachers are entrenched in the Accelerated Reader program even though I quit buying tests for it several years ago! Do you have any suggestions on how to approach the notion that leveled readers are not compatible with the CCSS? Thank you so much!

  6. Thanks for speaking at the Heartland Conference at UNO! 🙂

  7. Janie Pickett

    I gained so much from your speaking at University of Nebraska at Omaha and the NSLA Heartland Conference!

    You asked about my Ed. Leadership / Libr Science program, but I apparently mis-remembered your email address and my response was returned. Sorry to not reach you.

    Thanks again for your time at UNO!

  8. Mr. Aronson,
    For the past two years I have been obsessively researching the linkages between the British Civil War period in the 17th century and the American Revolution in the 18th. I was thrilled to stumble upon your John Winthrop, Oliver Cromwell and The Land of Promise in our church library. I have just finished reading it and enjoyed it immensely. In the back of my mind as I have been doing my research, I have been thinking about writing a book about the relation of these two eras in Anglo-American history [you might imagine my mixed feelings when I discovered your book!]. I would greatly enjoy chatting to you if you have time.

    Kind regards, Murray

  9. marc

    sounds interesting, will send you my personal email so we can be in touch

  10. I am a new teacher, but took time to raise a family before earning my BA in Special Education. I am also certified Elem K-6 and LA 5-9. Having seen the reference to AR, made me think of all the routines in public education that are seemingly set in stone; the AR program, I feel is a hindrance to student reading progress because it locks them into a specific level. When I was interning I worked with students who were motivated and wanted to get a book outside of their restricted level but their teacher said NO. It was disheartening.

  11. This valuable blog, “Marc Aronson | Author, Professor, Speaker, and Publisher” shows the fact that you really know what
    you are speaking about! I actually definitely agree.
    With thanks -Jerrod

  12. Talitha

    Hello Mr.Marc, I am currently doing a project over your book, Sugar Changed the World, and would like to ask you and Mrs. Marina some questions to help with my presentation.

  13. Hailie

    Mr. Aronson,
    I am an eighth grade student engaged in the National History Day project through my middle school. I had read your book Witch-Hunt, and had some unanswered questions regarding my reading. An interview with you would work wonders on my project. Some of the questions are

    When did the New Englanders switch over to the Gregorian calendar, and for what purpose?

    The colonies had a religious freedom, so what had stopped these people from switching over to the rest of the colonies’ calendar?

    You touched briefly on the pope and how that had stopped these people from switching over, but were there any other minor reasons?

    If you could take the time to answer these questions at eilihay@gmail.com, it would be very appreciated by me as well as my partners in this project. Thanks again, Hailie

  14. Richard Ashcraft

    Hello, Mr. Aronson. I just finished your Master of Deceit in one sitting because I wanted to write a story in which Mr. Hoover had his own golden-age super-hero team at his disposal. I was wondering if I can ask you some more questions about his FBI in post-WW2 America. Thank you very much.

  15. Noel MacCarry

    Dear Marc,
    We met a while back at a two day workshop on nonfiction at Southern Westchester BOCES. I’m the male librarian who shared that I was writing about Pete Seeger for my students -grade 3-5 audience. My book has been accepted. Eureka! I’m getting down to some “big questions” that are kind of tough to address for my target age range. I really value your talent for presenting the controversial issues in American history in your Hoover biography.
    Would I be able to chat with you by phone sometime? Snow day here and no school.
    Best regards,
    Noel MacCarry

  16. marc

    i remember you well, you added a category to our NF taxonomy, I will email you directly.

  17. Hi Marc,

    I write a blog Science Book a Day (http://www.sciencebookaday.wordpress.com) where I feature a different science book each day. I’m going to feature your book – The Skull in the Rock. I was wondering if you and/or Lee would be interested in answering 5 questions about the book via email.

    I realise you might be quite busy, but I thought I would ask 🙂

    Thank you for your time,

    George

  18. marc

    happy to do so

  19. ATT. Marc Aronson

    Dear Mr. Aronson,
    Long story short, I’ve been trying to get a hold of a clip when your father won the 1976 Tony award for PACIFIC OVERTURES production design. He very kindly mentioned my father John Jay Moore.
    Any chance you might have a clip of that? I thought it would be a lovely gift for my dad. They worked together on many shows, but I think it was the Overtures win I remember seeing him accept on film.
    Thanks so much,
    Kristin Moore-Gantz

  20. Helena McKendrick

    Hello Mr. Aronson,

    I am a high-school student currently making a documentary on the Salem Witch Trials for National History Day. Your book, Witch Hunt, greatly contributed to my research. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a few questions for the documentary.

    Thank you for your time,

    Helena McKendrick

  21. Jacob Boas

    Dear Marc,
    You may recall that you helped publish We Are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust, which is still in print (MacMillan, Squarefish). I’ve recently completed a new (adult) book — Writers’ Block: Scribblers against Hitler. The International Writers’ Congress for the Defense of Culture, Paris, 1935. I’ve been trying to get a name at Holt (or Flatiron) to submit it to, but there seems to be no way of getting through. Would you be able to furnish me with such? Thanks.
    Good to see how your career has taken off!
    Jacob Boas

  22. marc

    Hi glad to hear from you. I no longer work at Holt. Tell me more about the book and I may have some ideas. My email is bookmarch@aol.com

  23. Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos,

    I teach in a behavior program at Boundary County Middle School in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. My students were required to read a non-fiction book on history. They have a difficult time with reading and comprehension as well. I was Googling and found your book, How Sugar Changed the World. We read it as a group, created a power point presentation and a WeVideo. I used this as my class assignment for a Google class that I was taking through the University of Idaho. My students loved this activity and learned so much. You could actually teach from this book for a complete quarter without a problem. It was an awesome experience and I would like to thank both of you.
    Now we are trying to create a lesson plan based on your book for a second Google class and we would like permission to use the links on the music page for our project. Please let us know if we may use them.

    Thank you so much,
    Rita

  24. Murray Buttner

    Marc,

    I never got your email, and I suspect that it went to my spam, which I delete periodically without looking super closely at each email. If you would still like to chat about the 17th century I would very much enjoy that.

    All the best,

    Murray

  25. Sara Kardasz

    Hello Mr. Aronson,
    I am the Director of the School Library System at Western Suffolk BOCES on Long Island. We are in the process of planning our 17th annual conference for school librarians which is scheduled for March 10, 2015. The theme of the conference is “Change – Embrace It…Share It…Don’t Get Left Behind. We are looking for a keynote speaker who is the author of informational books at all grade levels. In the past the keynote has taken place from 9 am to 10 am. Please contact me to let me know if you might be available on that date, and what your fee would be. Thank you.

  26. Samantha Taylor

    Dear Dr Aronson,

    I am currently in upper 6th at Wellington School and am doing my last year of A levels. We have to chose an event of historical significance in order to complete our A level and write about it (and its effect that its had through time)explainig its impact in the present day.
    I am currently researching the Salem Witch Trials however i hahve been struggling to find enough information on it and to find answers for questions such as: Why it began? Where did the idea come from? Did it exist/spread to anyother places? Along with many more. Whilst i was reading up on the subject i came across your name and see that you’re well informed and highly knowledgeable in the subject, so i was wondering if you would mind taking the time to email me with your insight upon the matter or to help answer some of my questions? I have just ordered your book and am waiting it to arrive but it would be of great help if you wouldnt mind helping me out in the mean time to expand my knowledge on the matter.Thank you for taking the time to read this, its highly appreciated.

    Many thanks,
    Samantha Taylor

  27. Kate Zaleski

    Dear Dr. Aronson,
    I recently completed the ASLMS program at Rutgers and was a student in your class “Materials for Young Adults.” I am pleased to say I have found employment in a school district that values the library/media center and is committed to moving towards a 21st Century curriculum. We have been brainstorming and are interested in visiting a school that has successfully integrated technology and NJCC into a library curriculum. Knowing that you visit many schools I thought I would ask if you can highly recommend any schools (K-5 and middle school) in the Somerset/Hunterdon County area.
    Thank you for your time,
    Kate Zaleski

  28. Nancy Waters

    I’ve read a few comments on here about the AR program that just are not true. The program does not restrict the students. The teacher’s do. Requiring students to read only books at their ‘level’ is counterproductive. As the librarian, I always suggested students pick one or two books at their ‘level’ and another or others at any level they want. That way they can practice becoming better readers (by reading a ‘just right’ book) and also explore other books as well that they may not be quite ready to read. The kids that were in school when AR was in full swing in our District are good readers. Since AR fell into disfavor in our District due to misuse by teachers as mentioned above, reading scores are dropping along with reading comprehension. That is such a disservice to our students. I’m afraid this is yet another case in education of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Too bad.

  29. Robin Rolfe

    One of our OASL members (Oregon Association of School Libraries) attended the Mock Sibert Workshop in Salem, Oregon and did a write up for it to be published in the OASL Interchange. I wanted to make sure that this was OK with you and did not infringe on your rights as a presenter. I would be happy to send you a copy of the article for you to look over first. I did not want to proceed without contacting you first.
    Thanks for your consideration.

  30. Seven Stories Press

    We at Seven Stories Press will soon be publishing a young adult version of Charles Mann’s 1493, and were hoping to contact you regarding a potential blurb for the book. If interested, please provide an email address so we can get in touch.

    Thank you!

  31. Jerome Green

    I really enjoyed Dr Aronson video on what is race.

  32. Larkin Chapman

    Dear Mr. Aronson,
    My name is Larkin Chapman and I am working on a National History Day/ school Capstone project about how sugar shaped early politics in the Caribbean. I found your book How Sugar Changed the World very helpful and I would like to discuss further with you about these events and your research process.
    I was wondering if we could get in touch via email.

    Thanks!

    Larkin Chapman

  33. im doing a priject on you so what was the name of the school

  34. Jan

    Hello, I am considering Sugar Changed the World as an AP Language and Composition summer reading text. Do you have a published list of discussion / essential questions for 11th grade readers?
    Thanks.
    Jan

  35. Madii

    Hi Mr. Aronson, I have been really interested in your book on Sir Walter Raleigh and I’ve read it quite a few times. I had some questions about his quest for El Dorado because some of your explanations confused me. If you could email me that would be amazing and I could ask you these questions.
    Thanks,

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