Poop-er scooper: Author breaks news on #2

You see Sarah Albee at a dinner party, and you ask her what she does. She says she’s an author, and you naturally want to know what she writes about.


You gulp, take a step back, and stammer, Poop? Really?

“I get asked that a lot by grownups. It’s funny. Kids never ask why. You know, why wouldn’t you write a book about poop?” said Albee, the author of Poop Happened! A History of the World From the Bottom Up, which is actually a serious history of toilets and sanitation and how societies from ancient times to the present day have had to confront the vexing problem of how to deal with their waste.

That’s not to say that Albee and her publisher, Walker Books, haven’t had some fun in the marketing, among other things labelling the book “the number one book on number two.”

“I think part of it is I have the mindset of an 11-year-old boy,” said Albee, who will venture down from her residence in Connecticut to take part in the Oct. 16 Book ‘Em book festival in Waynesboro.

The idea for the book came when Albee, who worked as an editor on “Sesame Street” before launching herself into writing children’s books full-time, had an interesting episode involving her then-4-year-old youngest son.

“He loved to flush stuff down the toilet, and he one day flushed some superballs down the toilet, and it got stopped up. So I had to call the plumber, and we were having people over for dinner that night, and it was really a big pain. And that’s when I got to thinking – what did people do before toilets? What a nightmare that must have been. Because it was a nightmare that night not to have a working toilet. I think that’s what got me to start thinking, I should write a book,” Albee said.

The book, in addition to the serious stuff about public health and sanitation, attempts to answer the age-old questions of 11-year-old boys. “I always wanted to know as a kid – you’d read about medieval times, and you’d see a knight in armor, and you’d wonder, How did he go to the bathroom? Or you’d see a lady in a big hoop dress, and you’d say, How did she even fit through the bathroom door?” Albee said.

The fun stuff comes with a social message.

“I try to make it funny and interesting, but there’s a serious water shortage all over the world, and clean water is going to be the number-one issue for us to face worldwide, beyond fuel consumption. It’s really reaching crisis proportions, and it affects everyone. It’s important to get kids started thinking about it early,” Albee said.

Book ‘Em Details

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 16, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Kate Collins Middle School, Waynesboro
WEB: BookEmFoundation.org

More on Sarah Albee

Link to Sarah’s website.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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