What does a kid think about a book on public transportation?

Sept. 29, 2020
Paul Comfort’s new book provides a brief history of public transportation and engages young minds to ponder how people will move in the future.

A new children’s book written by industry veteran Paul Comfort and illustrated by Sudeep KP will be released Oct. 1 and is designed to introduce kids to the world of public transportation through fun facts and beautifully illustrated pictures.

The book, “Public Transportation – From the Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond,” provides a brief history of public transport starting with the Tom Thumb Steam Train, which lost a race against a horse when it broke down, and ending with the possible future of transportation using hyperloop systems and unmanned passenger drones.

The book includes a coloring page and features short, easy to read and understand pieces of information with most pages featuring a “fun fact” or “did you know” callout with bite-sized factoids.

So, what does a kid think about the book? I turned to my own daughter, Noa, a seven-year-old with a love of reading – especially non-fiction – and an appreciation of facts. We conducted an interview before and after reading the book together to see what impressed her most and what she retained.  

Questions before reading “Public Transportation – From the Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond”

Mass Transit: Do you know what public transportation is?

Noa: No

MT: Do you know what buses and train are?

Noa: Yes, people ride them, but sometimes packages ride on trains too. I’ve been on a train - the people moving train not the package moving train – we go to the city and one time we saw Santa on the train.

MT: Do you know what a hyperloop is?

Noa: Nope.

MT: If you had to guess, what do you think it would be? You know what a loop is, do you know what hyper means?

Noa: Maybe a really crazy circle thing, like something that goes really fast?

MT: Do you want to read this book and see if we can learn more about public transportation?

Noa: Yes! Wait, are you going to help me read? I don’t know all the words yet.

Questions after reading “Public Transportation – From the Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond”

MT: Let’s start with the same question before we read the book, what is public transportation?

Noa: It’s a thing that moves lots and lots of people. Buses and trains and streetcars and those trains that run on magnets too.

MT: Tell me what you remember about the book?

Noa: Millions of people ride the tubes – I mean the Tube – in London. New York City has a train that goes under rivers. An electric bus could keep the lights in our house on for a long time and the two guys who had to hammer a golden nail into the railroad missed!

MT: You mean when the two railroad bosses attempted to drive the gold spike at Promontory Point to complete the transcontinental railroad?

Noa: Yeah, they missed it!

MT: Did you like reading this book?

Noa: Yes, but you did a lot of the reading, I listened but it wasn’t hard to listen to, it was fun.

MT: What did you like about it?

Noa: It has lots of “fun facts” and I like facts.

MT: Would you tell your friends about this book?

Noa: Yes, I’m going to tell them when I go to school about the train that runs on magnets.

MT: Can you describe this book in one word?

Noa: Amazing.

MT: Do you want to ride public transportation again?

Noa: Yes, I want to ride the train again or maybe the bus.

“Public Transportation – From the Tom Thumb Railroad to Hyperloop and Beyond” is available as an e-book or paperback through Amazon.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.