Textbook giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Randall Munroe's amazing Thing Explainer, and a lucky accident happened when someone in the textbook division noticed Munroe's amazing explanatory graphics, annotated with simple language (the book restricts itself to the thousand most common English words) and decided to include some of them in the next editions of its high-school chemistry, biology and physics textbooks.
Houghton Mifflin provided us with some of the pages from the textbooks that'll feature Randy's work (see bottom of the post).
Those are some lucky high-schoolers!
Mr. Munroe, 31, said the project appealed to him. He recalled as a child a foldout diagram showing different animals at the starting line of a race and then sprinting/flying/crawling to show the different speeds of different species. "For some reason, I fixated on that illustration," he said. "It stuck with me my entire life."
Mr. Munroe said he hoped his drawings would break up the monotony and pace of a typical textbook. "I'm hoping it will be, 'Oh, here's a kind of fun and unexpected component,'" he said.
He is adding a few new drawings, including one that explains how life returns to a landscape destroyed by forest fire or other ecological disaster. "That's a really neat topic," he said.
Randall Munroe, XKCD Creator, Goes Back to High School [Kenneth Chang/NYT]