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Idan Ben-Barak
Prep- Grade 6
Victoria

I write science books, usually for children; they’ve been translated into over twenty languages and won a few awards. I live in Melbourne with my family. Sometimes, after they all go to bed, I play my guitar a bit. I have degrees in microbiology and in the history and philosophy of science, a diploma in library studies, and a day job that has very little to do with any of the above.

Books by Idan Ben-Barak

COMING SOON! How Do I Know If I’m Upside Down?

Best Suited 2-10 Years
This is me. My body can See, Hear, Smell, Taste and Touch. But it also knows if it is Hot or Cold if I am Sideways or Upside Down … and many other things. Come and explore the human (and other) senses with me!

Argh! There’s a Skeleton Inside You!

Best Suited 4-8 Years
Quog and Oort are on their way to Kevin’s birthday party. Unfortunately, their spaceship has crashed. Pick up this book to lend them a hand!

An interstellar exploration of hands and what’s inside them, from the award-winning creators of the internationally successful Do Not Lick This Book.

We Go Way Back

Best Suited 4-8 Years
What is life?
How did it start?
Long, long ago, no one knows exactly where or when, a tiny bubble formed that was a Little Bit Different. It was the first living cell. Everyone’s ancestor.
And so the story of life begins …
In this visually stunning and brilliantly devised picture book, Idan Ben-Barak and Philip Bunting lead us through the origin of life on our planet, and how an odd little bubble gave rise to the incredible web of life on Earth.

Why Aren’t We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System

Disease – specifically infectious disease – is what eventually kills the overwhelming majority of us. In fact, it’s amazing that it doesn’t get us sooner- we fight off millions of disease-causing germs every day.

So how come we’re not dead yet? In this lively and accessible book, Idan Ben-Barak tells us why. He explores the immune system and what keeps it running, how germs are destroyed, and why we develop immunities to certain disease-causing agents, and he examines the role of antibiotics and vaccines, and looks at what the future holds for our collective chances of not being dead.

This is entertaining and thoughtful science writing to inspire the student interested in a career in medicine or immunology, or to inform the reader who just wants to understand more about their body while having a laugh along the way.

Your Brain Is a Lump of Goo

Best Suited 6-10 Years
Hi, I’m your brain.
Here are some things you should know about me:
I’m about the size of a pineapple.
I sit behind your eyes. I look like a big walnut (but gooey). I’m not a computer.
So what do I do? Oh, just about everything.

A fun-filled book made by brains, about brains, for brains.

Small Wonders: How Microbes Rule Our World

In the spirit of Natalie Angier’s The Canon, and writing with the verve and wit of Bill Bryson, Small Wonders takes the reader on a fantastic voyage to the microscopic, but massively influential, world of microbiology. It’s a strange and dangerous world where oxygen is a lethal poison, sulphur is a delicious treat, deception is a basic survival skill, and perfectly good alcohol is simply thrown away. Idan Ben-Barak wears his learning lightly as he introduces us to the amazing lives of genes and proteins, bugs, and viruses, and the myriad ways in which they interact to shape life on earth. On the journey, we learn about the teamwork required to rot human teeth; the microbe superheroes who feed on radioactive waste; suicide genes; the origins of diseases and antibiotic resistance; and the numerous respects in which microbes benefit human life – from manufacturing food and medicine, to mining gold, finding oil, cleaning up the mess we make, and generally rendering the earth habitable.
Small Wonders is popular science at its best. Ben-Barak’s love of bugs is infectious and makes for a scintillating, fast-moving adventure that will appeal to even the least scientifically savvy of readers.

The Very Hard Book

Best Suited 4-10 Years
Can you …
Forget this line?
Dig half a hole?

This book asks you to imagine and think about some things. That sounds easy, right? Anyone can think stuff. You don’t even need to be standing up. We shall see. Good luck.

Metacognition is the act of thinking about thinking and forms the basis of all critical thought. It is also a concept that comes easily to children whose inquisitive nature makes them a natural at engaging in abstract questions and open-ended thinking. The Very Hard Book starts that ‘thinking’ journey and has a great deal of fun in the process.

Do not lick this book

Best Suited 5-8 Years
Min is a microbe. She is small. Very small. In fact so small that you’d need to look through a microscope to see her. Or you can simply open this book and take Min on an adventure to amazing places she’s never seen before – like the icy glaciers of your tooth or the twisted, tangled jungle that is your shirt.

The perfect book for anyone who wants to take a closer look at the world.

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