UC Santa Cruz trio teams up to publish children's book about time

Psychology professor Dom Massaro's fascination with time stems from a visit to his son's second-grade class, where Massaro observed youngsters having trouble learning to tell time. That experience inspired him to invent a kid-friendly clock, the award-winning Kid Klok. His curiosity piqued, Massaro went on to explore the history of time and timekeeping, which he now shares with readers of the new book Time to Learn About Time, coauthored by Don Rothman and illustrated by Bill Rowe.

The book is tailored for youngsters ages 8 to 12, though adults will learn a lot, too, including how clocks are made, why clocks run clockwise (think sundials, which mimic how a shadow moves in the Northern Hemisphere, where the sundial was invented), and the origin of the "a.m." and "p.m." designations for the two halves of the day.

Massaro, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teamed up with Rothman, a writing instructor and director of the UCSC-based Central California Writing Project, to write the text, and he tapped Rowe, a research associate in the Division of Natural Sciences, for the line drawings of everything from Cronus, the Greek god of agriculture, to the gear mechanisms of a mechanical clock.

In this age of digital watches, Massaro makes a case for preserving the analog clock, which he said helps develop important abstract, perceptual, and cognitive skills.

"The traditional clock is a leftover from history, not an efficiently designed, easy-to-read device like a digital timepiece," said Massaro. "But no one should assume digital time will replace analog clocks. After all, analog clocks have withstood the test of time."


Editor's Note: Dominic Massaro may be reached at (831) 459-2330 or via e-mail at massaro@fuzzy.ucsc.edu. Time to Learn About Time is available through amazon.com and at Kaleidoscope in Capitola. It also may be ordered directly from Massaro. The suggested retail price is $14.95; wholesale copies are $7.50 in quantities of six or more. A shipping and handling fee of 10 percent will be added to each order.