10-Year-Old Author Writes Book to Support Premature Babies

Ten-year-old Boston McClarty is unlike most children in more ways than one: not only did he survive his own premature birth, but he also went onto self-publish a children’s picture book to support babies in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). His twin brother, Declan, was not so lucky. After his brother’s death in infancy and his parents’ pain, Boston decided to write a children’s picture book for all the struggling families of the NICU.



The NICU can be a place of great hope and enormous loss. “We saw both sides of the NICU,” said Susan McClarty, mother of the twins. “We saw the tragedy, and we saw the miracle.” Boston’s own experience as a premature baby makes his own life an optimistic story for parents who fear for the longevity of their own children. But his life isn’t the only story he’s chosen to share with these families.

McClarty’s first book, Heroes Are Made, is dedicated to his twin brother. For each purchased copy, McClarty will donate a blanket to the NICU. Each blanket will be accompanied by a personalized letter from McClarty explaining his story in an effort to share some semblance of hope and community with parents of sick or premature babies. Boston says he’s already at work on his second book, which will come with similar charitable endeavors.


'Heroes Are Made' by Boston McClarty


The book is as creative as it is uplifting:

Yikes! A group of evil robots is attacking the town of Pendale on Gib Planet. Would you be brave enough to fight? These kids are! Join Captain, Ninja, and Swirl as they do everything necessary to save their town.

Thus far, Boston has donated nearly 500 blankets.


Featured Image Via WKRN.

Ancient Book Proves Connection Between Medieval Irish Doctors and Islamic Culture through Missing Binder

The Independent reports that an ancient text has revealed a surprising connection between medieval Irish doctors and ancient Persia (now Iran) during an important age of Islamic learning. Professor Pádraig Ó Macháin of University College Cork’s Irish Department discovered that doctors in the 1400s were exploiting medical knowledge from Persia. The famous medical text Canon of Medicine by the Persian physician Ibn Sena (980-1037), also known as Avicenna, was used to train doctors in Ireland during the medieval times.


Image Via


The spine of the book was found to contain an Irish translation based on a Latin translation of Ibn Sena’s work.  Prof Ó Macháin said “the discovery underlined just how much medical scholarship in medieval Ireland was on a par with that on the Continent.” Ó Macháin discovered that an Irish scholar must have travelled overseas to train, and was impressed by Ibn Sena. They decided to work together and used a Latin translation as the basis for an Irish translation.


Because of the importance of the manuscript fragment to the history of Irish learning and medicine, they agreed that the binding be removed from the book by John Gillis of Trinity College Dublin (TCD).


Prof Ó Macháin is quoted as saying, “The use of parchment cut from old manuscripts as a binding for later books is not unusual in European tradition. This is the first time that a case has come to light of such a clear example of the practice in a Gaelic context.”


“The discovery and digitisation of the text was a scholarly adventure,” he goes on. “One of those occasions when many people, not least the owners of the book, were working together towards a common purpose for the cause of pure learning. It was a pleasure to have been able to make it happen and to have been part of it.”






If you want to learn more about this discovery then read more of the article from Independent!


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‘Johns Hopkins University’ Raising Out-Of-Print Books from the Dead

In 2016, John’s Hopkins University Press received a $938,000 grant courtesy of The Andrew Mellon Foundation, which allowed them the funds to continue building an Open Access (OA) platform for monographs in humanities and social sciences. 


This was all part of MUSE Open, a non-profit organization aimed at making scholarly texts, journals, articles, and more readily accessible. The organization was founded in 1995 and, in the past twenty-three years, has teamed up with nearly 300 publishers to make works from all categories available online.



via Project MUSE


This is vital because people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to read and learn from these texts have been given a platform to do exactly that.


In April, Johns Hopkins received another grant for $200,000 from both The Andrew Mellon Foundation and The National Endowment for the Humanities which will allow them to take over 200 out-of-print works and release them back into the world via MUSE.


Expanding their database to include texts that were previously out-of-print will give these books new life and allow them to be seen again for the first time in years.


Johns Hopkins has taken the lead on this, but maybe in the future we’ll see more out-of-print works raised from the dead, along with other Open Access platforms making texts accessible for all!





Featured Image via Pixa Bay.

Anatomical Fugitive Sheet

How Did 16th Century Doctors Get Their Anatomical Info? Pop Up Books, of Course!

Today, we use books for everything. Seriously, everything. Way back when, however, books were expensive, difficult to produce, and uncommon among the public. About this time, humanity was discovering biology, anatomy, the inner workings of the human body as a whole. 


Illustration and artwork was a powerful tool for those studying anatomy, but issues arose from a two-dimensional drawing representing the three-dimensional reality that is the human body. The answer? Flaps.


Medical pop up books

Image via Atlas Obscura, Wellcome Library, London.


Atlas Obscura recently wrote about how what were essentially pop-up books were used as medical documents at this time. Pop up books are alluring, for sure, but medical pop up books are fascinating. Grotesque, sure, but fascinating nonetheless. 


The first known anatomical flap prints were produced in Strasbourg, France, in 1538 by Heinrich Vogtherr. The German artist, printer, and poet pieced together multiple layers of pressed linen so that readers could open up his illustrations to reveal the positions of major organs in both male and female figures. While volvelles, or multi-layered, moveable wheel charts, had been used in medieval astronomy and navigational texts, this was the first time a similar idea had been applied to anatomical illustration. 


Early work including flaps to display anatomy are known now as “fugitive sheets”. The loose-leaf prints described organs, some meant as companion pieces to other texts offering additional knowledge – knowledge including further study and treatments for a variety of illnesses.


Cali Buckley, an Art History PhD candidate from Penn State with a vast knowledge of flap anatomies, said “These were very much part of a bigger idea of not only understanding anatomy, but also having a sort of folk remedy available. It was very much about public edification.”


Medical pop up books

Image via Atlas Obscura, Wellcome Library, London.


Of course, not everything was accurate. 


Flip through one of Vogtherr’s female illustrations, for example, and you’ll find a U-shaped curiosity called the “lacmamil.” “It’s basically two tubules coming down from the nipples that were thought to turn blood into milk, which is something that obviously does not exist,” Buckley says.


Medical pop up books

Image via Atlas Obscura, Wellcome Library, London.


In terms of flap anatomies and the advancement within education, Andreas Vesalius is the man to pay attention to. Think of him as the Michael Jordan of medical text with accurate illustrations. He’s responsible for two of the most celebrated anatomical texts in history, and he published them in the same year. 1543 saw the publication of his dual opuses, De Humani Corporis Fabrica – A Facsimile of the Revised Version of 1555: (On the Fabric of the Human Body) (Vol. 1 of 2) and (Vol. 2 of 2)and its shorter, cheaper counterpart, Epitome. Directed at students, the books established a new standard for flap anatomies.


Later authors and illustrators, such as Johann Remmelin, combined these standards with their own artistic abilities and flair. His 1619 Catoptrum Microcosmicum features three full-page plates with dozens of detailed anatomical illustrations of both male and female bodies. “They were incredibly complicated, but also accurate and kind of wildly pretentious,” says Buckley. 


Medical pop up books

Image via Atlas Obscura, Wellcome Library, London.


As time went on, the techniques used became more sophisticated, leading to more innovative uses of “flap technology”. Gustave J. Witkowski created a multi-layered brain with over twenty moveable parts in his Le Corps Humain (French Edition). Eduard Oskar Schmidt gives you the ability to peel the face off a mustached Victorian man to investigate the muscle tissue, nerves, eyes, and brain underneath in The Anatomy of the Human Head and Neck



Medical pop up books

Image via Atlas Obscura, Wellcome Library, London.


The idea to see within the human body began long before we actually could. Flaps allowed scientists, students, and doctors to gain essential knowledge in their field, and art and science melted together to create a variety of incredible diagrams of the human anatomy. Today, we use technologies like MRIs, CAT scans, and the like, but pop-up books with flaps have not disappeared. Jonathan Miller’s The Human Body was a favorite of mine growing up, after I stole it from my sister’s bookshelf. Continuing with my kleptomaniac tendencies with my sister, she has a stack of transparencies left over from dental school that would make an incredible, if grotesque, wallpaper. 


The innovation and knowledge gained from these flap illustrations has been invaluable to society, and while I’m not a STEM girl, I’m still fascinated by the subject. The human body is a wondrous, magnificent mystery to most people, including myself, and flap anatomies allow amateurs like me to fulfill their curiosity without going to medical school, which is nice.


Featured Image via the Wellcome Collection.