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Oct. 23: Mark this date and learn more about mole

By Noelle Babauta

Mark your calendar for National Mole Day, a thrilling holiday celebrated by scientists around the world. To celebrate, crack open “Mole and Tell,” a fun children’s book that teaches advanced chemistry concepts to elementary school kids.

“Mole and Tell” is meant to encourage the celebration of Mole Day, which falls on Oct. 23. If you would like to take part in celebrating, you can get very specific by celebrating between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m, the time that most scientists celebrate Mole Day on.

Catherine Payne

This book is set in an elementary school classroom and follows a group of kids who are learning about Mole Day through show and tell. It is written by Catherine Payne and John Payne, a brother and sister who live on Guam.

Catherine Payne teaches writing at the University of Guam and works as a private tutor for high schoolers. She has always had a passion for writing since she was a kid.

“I knew I always wanted to be a writer but I didn’t know what kind,” she said. “I did pursue journalism for school and also as a career, but I wanted to do something more creative. I fell into writing children’s books. And even with children’s books, I feel like I’m gonna eventually start writing for young adults and then adults.”

Payne has always been interested in science. “It’s real-life application. I like how we see science around us all the time,” she said.

“Mole and Tell” is the first of Catherine Payne’s science series celebrating several science holidays. Payne has a passion for language arts and the wonders of writing. Since the word mole is a homonym, Mole Day particularly piqued her interest. There are many puns in Mole and Tell, which was no mistake.

“One of the things that I like about Mole Day is that it uses homonyms,” Payne said. “There’s the mole the animal, there’s also the mole the unit of measurement, and there’s also the mole which is something on the skin, so I always liked the idea of homonyms and word play.”

“I’ve been wanting to raise awareness about Mole Day just so that kids can get more interested in this holiday and they can learn more about the mole,” she said. “And they can have fun with it as I do with the wordplay and the puns.”

To celebrate Mole Day this year, Payne will be doing read-alouds at schools on Guam. Payne has published five books before Mole and Tell: A Pearl in the Night, Ten Little Surfers in Hawai’i, Chepchop Unai, These Little Kittens in Hawai’i, and I Lalai i Bilembaotuyan.

“So I’ve actually done read-aloud for all of my books,” she said. “That’s actually for me the best part of being a writer, to have that interaction with the reader because then I can see how they receive the book and I can answer their questions. It’s really interesting because I see that people respond to the books in different ways.”

You can find Mole and Tell through Amazon, and the “Science, Naturally!” website.

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