Biologist/Poet Rob Jackson Dishes Up a Dose of "Weekend Mischief

March 2, 2010

Rob Jackson, (919) 660-7408,, Note to Editors: Rob Jackson can be contacted at (919) 660-7408 or He will give readings of his book at the Regulator Bookstore in Durham, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30, and at Quail Ridge Boo

DURHAM, N.C. – As a biologist and environmental researcher, Rob Jackson works to illuminate the sometimes gloomy complexities of global climate change and biodiversity loss. But his new book of illustrated children’s poems, Weekend Mischief, casts a decidedly brighter light.

Written from a young boy’s point of view, the 20 poems in Jackson’s second book of verse ponder the burning question: Why does the weekend go so fast?

Jackson, the father of three boys, is Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and Professor of Biology at Duke University. His first book of children’s poems, Animal Mischief, was published in 2006. It celebrated the oddities of animal biology through a series of poems about penguins, sharks, fireflies and other creatures that capture children’s imaginations.

In Weekend Mischief, Jackson focuses his wit on the antics of another odd but endearing species – the pre-teen child. Each poem explores a different weekend activity as seen through young eyes. The beauty of nature, the joy of being outdoors and the too-swift passage of time are recurring themes, both in the poems themselves and the illustrations by artist Mark Beech.

Jackson says writing for children and doing scientific research are more similar than people think. “Science and the arts both take creativity,” he says. “The only difference is your audience.”

Weekend Mischief and Animal Mischief aren’t his first ventures into verse. His earlier book of essays on global environmental problems, The Earth Remains Forever, also included a series of poems. Weekend Mischief is published by Wordsong, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press of Honesdale, Penn.