Saturday, October 25, 2014

Zombies in the Real World?

(Zombie walk Pittsburgh 29 Oct 2006CC BY-SA 3.0view termsOriginal work by MissDeeCS; Original uploader at en.wikipedia was PNG crusade bot; The PNG crusade bot automatically converted this image to the more efficient en:PNGformat. The image was previously uploaded as "Zombie894.gif". - This is my own photo. Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.)

As Halloween approaches, zombie images and events appear. My own town is hosting a Zombie Walk tonight!

Zombies are the walking dead, beings who seem alive and yet are not, controlled by some supernatural force. Which leads us to the question, "Are zombies real?"

That's the question that children's non-fiction author Rebecca L. Johnson asks to begin her book, Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead.

In this award-winning book, Johnson tells us how fungus "invades" a fly to support itself and turns the fly into a mechanically-moving, vacant creature. Johnson also explains how parasites and worms do their work to make "zombies" out of other living beings.

Johnson's science background draws her to write about topics like this, making them interesting and accurate for young readers. Many of the zombie discoveries occurred when scientists noticed something and continued to observe. Johnson writes in her author's note for this book: "Nature has no shortage of wonders. Scientists are finding new ones all the time. Even as I finished this book, a new zombie maker was discovered that infects honeybees. Who knows how many more are out there, just waiting to be found?"

Be ever watchful and have a happy Halloween!

Here's a classic from the Kingston Trio, "Zombie Jamboree"


  1. Oh my, I had no idea that there really were 'zombies', Jane. I'll have to share this book with our librarians-kids will love it!

    1. You're right--kids WILL love it, especially those that think the grosser, the better. It could excite kids to be more observant about the things around them and to WONDER. :)

  2. Ugh, Blogger ate my previous (and much more insightful) comment. Basically, I said the book sounds super cool. I also love zombies because unlike werewolves, the Creature From the Black Lagoon, and other supernatural figures, they are a part of the Haitian Vodou world.

    In a country where death isn't waiting at the door, a zombie is someone who lacks autonomy. In a country where people you know die every day, death is a matter of degree.

    1. True, and yes, wise comments about different cultures.

  3. It's so cool that there is never an end to what we learn from/about nature.