A few months ago I funded a Kickstarter campaign to help publish a book titled, “Let’s Learn About Chemistry” written by a fellow chemistry educator, Stephanie Ryan.
This board book was an exciting present for my niece. Her parents are not science majors, but they welcome my enthusiasm for science! The book helps the children compare substances, introducing them to phases with colorful and fun graphics; while allowing them to be introduced to chemistry at a young age when they are inherently curious. I love reading to my niece when I have the chance, but there really aren’t too many chemistry specific books out there. This book really filled the void! This book is so fun and novel. I recommend it for any child, as well as any adult who is just an avid chemistry content collector (like myself)! If you are looking for your own copy, the book will be offically launched on June 2nd, 2020. The author has them temporarily available for presale (in lieu of an ACS Philly booth) until April 15th here.
Q: What exactly motivated you to write and publish this book?
A: As a science nerd myself, I totally bought into the niche world of science toys and books for kids when I was pregnant. After my son was born, I watched him play and he was sorting his toys by color and some by shape etc. It clicked for me that this isn't just a niche thing, but something all kids do. As an assessment specialist and curriculum developer, this clicked for me. That in chemistry, there is a lot of sorting into categories, such as classification of matter charts. I asked my son's friends' parents if I could use their likenesses (see below) and I started to note all content for which this could be done. I actually wrote more than is currently in the book, but it is more complicated at the molecular level and will likely become its own book for older kids. The books currently in the market are great, but just don't approach the content in this way. So, I wrote the book!
Q: How has the experience of becoming a children’s writer been for you?
A: The experience has been amazing. The ChemEd community rallied around me and helped me get the books printed via a Kickstarter. That said, the process had a lot more steps than I ever imagined. Hiring a developmental editor, finding a distributor, getting a publicist etc. All very worthwhile things that I hadn't thought about. I can't wait to launch the book on June 2nd, 2020. I was a bit bummed to not share the book at a booth at the ACS Philly meeting as a pre-release sale, but it was the right call for safety of everyone. Seeing the pictures of kids reading the books and being so engaged with the illustrations makes my heart happy. Hearing their conversations begin to include words like solid and liquid is great!
Q: Writing a book seems like an arduous process, would you do it again?
A: I would definitely do it again. I have ideas for different content to make a series and recently I wrote a new story about Carbon to explain bonding. All in very early works, but I have plenty of ideas to make the content accessible to younger kids! With the NGSS moving submicroscopic content and other science skills to younger grades, I think this is the time to use the natural skills that the children already have. And the book uses everyday things, that can yield multiple correct answers. Not just trying to work on DCIs but also SEPs and CCCs!
Q: Have you had a lot of feedback from all your new fans?
A: Parents are loving the book because it doesn't alienate them if they don’t' know the content themselves. It is interactive and can be read to kids of all ages for those with multiple children. The discussions can occur at different levels and the babies can just chew on the board book and point to the bright colors. All are valid!
This book is so fun and novel. I recommend it for any child, as well as any adult who is just an avid chemistry content collector (like myself)! If you are looking for your own copy, the book will be launched on June 2nd, 2020. PREORDERS will be accepted through April 15!