Written by Bukola Somide, Author of “Somi the Computer Scientist: Princess can Code”
Hello CompSci Fam!
Did you know that STEM storybooks are effective tools in boosting a young girl’s confidence? But not just any old STEM storybook that is way too technical, quite boring in many instances, and lacks relatable characters/mentors.
In this article, you will learn four sure-fire ways on how to pick an effective STEM storybook to make a young girl feel she can take on the world and thrive in her desired STEM field. If this resonates with you then this article was written to serve you.
1. It has relevant and valuable content
A purpose-driven STEM author is poised to share their knowledge for the greater good, no matter how small. The need to help others thrive in their field of study would be apparent in their work. The educational content should be valuable enough to enlighten the reader on concepts they otherwise would not know and potentially peak their interest to learn more thereafter.
Knowledge sharing is a valuable action to help build up the next generation and push advancements in current technologies to foster innovative ideas. It’s an injustice to humanity for anyone to keep their knowledge, experiences, and lessons learned to themselves without passing it on. Knowledge sharing equips the next generation to do better. In a nutshell, look for STEM books that deliver on relevant and valuable content.
2. Ease of understanding
Do you know why those “<insert topic here> for Dummies” books are so popular?! Yea, it’s because the author took the time to break-down otherwise complex concepts into digestible bite-size pieces. This is invaluable to a novice learner who is smart enough to grasp technical concepts even if it’s at a slower pace. Of course, we believe that everyone with a functional brain is smart enough to learn and keep getting smarter.
It is important for STEM authors to adapt complex technical concepts for early learning and/or novice learners. Making it as simple as can be received without losing its true technical meaning. Also, injecting some humor and/or entertainment where possible helps to capture and keep a young reader's attention. This is where STEM storybooks thrive.
“Out with the boring, this is STEM learning re-imagined.” - Innovant Technologies LLC
#MakeSTEMLearningFun is the adage we live by. So, look for STEM books that deliver on ease of understanding complex concepts in its use of vocabulary, illustrations, and comparisons to relatable everyday objects or experiences for the target audience.
3. Depicts relatable characters or mentors
Our customer research showed that the lack of relatable mentors was one of the deterring factors as it relates to a young black girl seeking a career-in or building their confidence in pursuing Computer Science. This is one of the major pain-points we at Innovant Technologies LLC seek to address. Do not underestimate the power a relatable character/mentor could have on the psyche of a young girl.
Amazon 5-star Rated Customer Review Highlights on storybook, “Somi the Computer Scientist: Princess Can Code”:
“She’s smart and beautiful just like me.” - Amazon Customer
“My daughter was never interested in IT but after reading this storybook, now she wants to be a Computer Specialist.” -Amazon Customer
Even everyday superheroes have flaws too. It’s important for a young girl to be able to see themselves in the characters/mentors in the STEM storybook. NOTE: superheroes do not let their flaws stop them. They have superpowers (aka their unique talents) that sets them apart, which every little girl has as well. Once they key into this superpower and use it for the greater good of humanity, it brings personal fulfillment and positively impacts their community.
The main message here is to encourage a young girl that she does not have to be perfect and that it is ok to fail, as long as she does not give up. So, look for STEM storybooks that depict relatable characters or mentors for the target audience.
4. Its interactive
Engagement...engagement...engagement is paramount to learning retention. “Retention is higher if they think about it” said Christine Taylor-Butler, a best-selling STEM author.
What does it look like when a storybook is interactive, you may wonder?
It means, the author engages the reader to think deeper by asking probing questions, sparking their imagination/creativity, and/or providing STEM related problem-solving activities (e.g. puzzles, mazes, coding assignments) to re-enforce concepts. It takes a purpose-driven STEM author to know how to succinctly interweave a compelling story that is educational, entertaining, relatable, and engaging/interactive.
You can help a young girl’s confidence shine brighter today through the following curated picks of STEM storybooks:
“Somi the Computer Scientist: Princess Can Code” by Bukola Somide
“Computer Science Activity Book for Girls” by Bukola Somide
“More than a Princess: Coloring and Activity Books for Kids” by Delanda Coleman
“The STEAM Queens” by Breenae Washington
The content of this article was inspired by the event titled “5 ways to boost confidence in girls through STEM books”, co-hosted by Delanda Coleman & Bukola Somide, on Clubhouse social media app under club, “Black Authors and Publishers”, on July 1st, 2021 at 4pm PDT.