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I’ve had the idea for twenty years or so, but I only began writing it two years ago. I thought it was ready for the April conference, but then that was canceled. When everything started to fall apart, I began getting other ideas. Wait a minute, this is only half-way done, I thought. A woman did the artwork for me. I needed something I could look at in order to write the book. I took a chemical periodic table and turned it into an apartment building. All the characters live there. I’m not teaching chemistry. I just want to introduce children to the periodic table in a fun and adventurous way. I created a city and used chemical names like Thermometer Highway. The characters needed to be in the city and have all these places to go and I needed a visual to work with.

I’ve heard horrific stories when it comes to the periodic table. People are afraid of it. A friend told me she would have been a doctor if it weren’t for chemical periodic table. That is so sad. She said she wished she had had a book like this when she was little.

I want children to meet Henry Hydrogen and Oliver Oxygen, so when they get to high school, they’ll be comfortable with chemistry. There are numbers, letters, colors, and a whole lot of adventures.

I created the city and gave the main characters jobs. One works at the Bunsen Burner Bakery. “C” is for Carbon. He works, and he does a number of things. Some characters combine and go on adventures. These can easily become a series. In one book they go skiing and there is an avalanche. They save Periodic City by building a wall of ice. Another is about a steam train called the Periodic City Express that breaks down.

Where do things stand at the moment? Well, others who’ve read it have wonderful things to say about it, but I’ve just sent it to an editor. I want to know what she thinks and hear her suggestions.

MEET: JOYCE BRADFORD

I was raised in Vashon Island, Seattle, WA, and for the past 20 years my mom had been encouraging to write a children’s book. I had the idea of a ‘Periodic City’. I didn’t really become interested until my great niece was born and then it was like a great fireball that lit inside me. I have to write these books! She loves books and she loves to read!