Platt was born in Northumberland, England, and spent his childhood in a neighborhood south of London. As he grew up, he figured he'd follow in his father's footsteps and become a civil engineer. However, once he began his studies, he found the profession wasn't for him. Changing course, he explored graphic design and photography. This worked well for him, but again, he found that it wasn't completely his niche. Instead, through it all, he discovered that what he did best was write, and write he did.
Platt began penning articles about photography and then he moved on to writing books. After getting a job editing children's books, he began authoring for children himself. With illustrator Stephen Biesty, who specializes in cross-sectional drawings, Platt wrote Incredible Cross Sections. Since then he has done advertising copy, multimedia projects, comic animations, and restaurant reviews. A versatile, award-winning author of nonfiction and fiction, Platt has written more than seventy books, mostly for children. His works for adults center on maritime themes, particularly smuggling and piracy. Platt continues delving into fascinating subjects about the sea, social history, science, and technology and then writing about them.
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