Monday, August 11, 2008

When I Grow Up: A Young Person's Guide to Interesting and Unusual Occupations by Jessica Loy

When I Grow Up: A Young Person's Guide to Interesting and Unusual Occupations by Jessica Loy

Choosing a career path is quite a daunting task. Some people know from childhood what they want to do, but I think most people really don't know until later in life. Regardless of whether you know "what you want to be when you grow up" or not, it's always very interesting to learn about different jobs. Look at the success of Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs, two shows that fascinate me. I'm a little too squeamish to actually be a crab fisherman or one of the professionals on Dirty Jobs, but I'm interested in learning more about them, nonetheless.

Now, Jessica Loy has written a book that features people who have very interesting and unusual occupations. We meet the following people:

  • Entomologist
  • Alpaca Farmer
  • Archaeologist
  • Master Cheese Maker
  • Research Biologist
  • Game Designer
  • Chocolatier
  • Percussionist
  • Lobsterman (who is a woman)
  • Guitar Makers
  • Kite Designer
  • Pet Photographer
  • Set Designer
  • Robotics Engineer
Each career gets its own two-page spread that features quotes from a professional in the field, full-color photographs, and lots of interesting information about the career. For example, we meet Jamie Miller, a master cheese maker. He works on a farm in Vermont that produces cheddar cheese, and the book covers the 12 steps in the cheese-making process, from cow to packaging.

We also meet Andrea Lain, an archaeologist, who knew at the age of eight that she wanted to dedicate her life to studying the past. Her spread features a number of photographs of artifacts, including a deer jaw, a fragment from a 17th century chamber pot, and burned bone fragments found in a fireplace site.

I like this book because it introduces careers that appeal to kids who are creative, and it may inspire them to nurture that creativity within them. The language in the book is easy to read and would make a good choice for reluctant readers. It's a definite must-have for libraries.

More information:
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805077170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805077179
  • Source of book: Review copy from publisher

Visit Picture Book of the Day for more great nonfiction selections.


  1. Good to give kids a sense that there are jobs and opportunities. One thing too that we can teach children, and the rest of society, is that all jobs have value. We should teach them it is wrong to pay a multimillion dollar bonus to the CEO of a failing company that is laying off thousands and then turn around and pay a horrendously low amount to a teacher or a police officer.

  2. Hi Max,
    Thanks for stopping by and pointing out your site.

    As a former teacher, I wholeheartedly agree.