by: Bethany Edwards
Today I want to introduce four of the best new multicultural STEM picture books in 2018. These picture books showcase strong female protagonists as inventors, scientists, and artists. From using the ABCs to explain scientific terminology to a fractured nursery rhyme, these picture books are guaranteed to please. Travel from a test tube in a tiny lab to a rocket ship in outer space through these new multicultural picture books for STEMinists.
(photo credit Jordan Honnette)
Best New Multicultural Picture Books for STEMinists
Mary Had a Little Lab
Mary is an enterprising young inventor. She wants a pet, but there isn’t one she can easily buy… so she makes one with the Sheepinator!
Mary’s pet sheep and her new invention make her popular with her classmates. But when she starts making sheep for her new friends, things go hilariously awry.
Can Mary invent a way to fix this mess?
This out of the box creator, inventor, and scientist will have you hooked through this fractured nursery rhyme.
Get a sneak peak with the book trailer and be sure to check out the read-aloud exclusive of Mary Had a Little Glam with Vanessa Brantley-Newton.
Pre-order Mary Had a Little Lab now. Released on March 1st, 2018. Recommended for ages 3-5.
Connect with Illustrator Petros Bouloubasis on his Website
Hey- Ho, To Mars We’ll Go!
This space-age version of “The Farmer in the Dell” infuses new life into STEM education in picture books.
This musical mission to Mars will have young astronauts talking—and singing—about the science of space travel. Singing astronauts on a mission explore the science behind a trip to Mars, from launch to landing on the Red Planet.
Set to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell,” this jaunty journey follows five adorable, bobble-headed astronauts as they learn how to bathe in zero gravity, grow veggies in space, and entertain themselves on the six-month trip.
Even the book itself defies gravity. The text and art float freely on the page. (Think if The Stinky Cheese Man were set in space.). This topsy-turvy book takes you sideways and upside down in this read aloud adventure. Enjoy this interactive, innovative approach to interstellar fun from Susan Lendroth and Bob Kolar.
Sung to “The Farmer in the Dell,” each verse of Hey-Ho, to Mars We’ll Go! focuses on a single aspect of the journey, making a complex subject understandable to a young audience.
In the exclusive interview with Susan Lendroth and Bob Kolar, we find out how the editorial team at Charlesbridge made the text “float” once the spaceship reaches space and which famous astronaut Susan took her 1-year-old to meet!
Pro-tips from Bob Kolar: There is no makeup in space (he had to edit the rosy cheeks on his female astronauts)!
Pre- Order Hey Ho, To Mars We’ll Go. Released on February 6, 2018. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Connect with Author Susan Lendroth on Facebook
Cece Loves Science
If you fell in love with Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison over the holiday, join the club!
Vashti was honored with the NAACP image award for her category Outstanding Literary Work for Children. Vashti is a powerhouse author/illustrator to look out for and I for one am watching closely.
Vashti Harrison has teamed up with authors Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes to bring you the story of Cece, a budding and inquisitive scientist.
Cece and her equally curious best friend, Isaac, conduct experiments to see whether Cece’s dog, Einstein, will eat his vegetables.
Cece will help ALL children smash gender stereotypes and inspire future scientists to dream STEM big.
Preorder Cece Loves Science. Released on June 19th, 2018. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Connect with Author Kimberly Derting on Twitter
Connect with Author Shelli R. Johannes on Twitter
A is for Atom
This self-published ABC book, A is For Atom is one to add to your baby shower list ASAP. In my conversation with the author and illustrator Adam Durant and Kara J. Rutledge, this dynamic duo author/illustrator pair blew me away.
Kara and Adam are art and science teachers in Philadelphia. They are best friends, business partners, and are getting married over summer break this year. They have combined their passion for education into this stunning book.
I have read many self-published books, and this book is everything you hope from a self-starting pair. Kara and Adam are seasoned teachers who know what kids like and more importantly, know what amazing things children are capable of learning.
By creating a simple ABC book, Kara and Adam are encouraging parents to give children the proper terms for scientific terminology. This didactic book is perfect as children grow in their depth of understanding for terms like jet stream, fungus, and matter.
From the high quality of the pages to the unique and stunning collage art, this is the PERFECT book for teaching general science from day 1.
There is no marketing team or big publishing contract budget for this book like the others listed above. However, this beautiful book is definitely deserving of being in the spotlight. Grab a copy of the book as well as the adorable A is for Atom baby onesie and support this incredible STEMinist endeavor.
Be sure to subscribe to Biracial Bookworms for a chance to win a copy in March in honor of Philadelphia’s Science Festival Week.
A is For Atom is available now. Recommended for ages 0-8.
Bonus Read for Aspiring Engineers
If you love the NYT best-selling Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty, check out the accompanying Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers. This empowering activity book will teach problem-solving and creative-thinking skills crucial to STEM fields.
As the picture book so brilliantly showed hundreds of thousands of young readers, flops are an inevitable part of success and something to be celebrated rather than feared.
Don’t miss Storytime from Space where Astronaut Kate Rubins reads Rosie Revere Engineer from the International Space Station!
Astronaut Star Bright
Taylor Richardson is a real live STEMinist; a 14-year-old living in Jacksonville, FL. She is using her voice to not only bring girls of color to the STEM/STEAM table, but all kids all over the U.S. and abroad.
She has been featured in Scholastic Science World, Glamour Magazine, and was recently named one of 21 under 21 to Watch by Teen Vogue for her activism and community outreach.
Taylor’s current project is to send a 1000 girls to see the upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time as well as a receive a copy of the classic book by Madeline L’Engle.
Like Meg’s dad in the movie he wants to touch the stars, Taylor wants to empower girls, especially those of color, to see this movie and know that not only can touch the stars they already are ones! You can take action today and help girls become the warriors they are meant to be. With your donation to Taylor’s Go Fund Me Campaign, it will help her reach her goal to help girls dream bigger. Help her inspire more Megs in this world!
Connect with Taylor Astronaut Star Bright on Twitter
Want more book recommendations? Join our Facebook tribe of children’s book activists dedicated to teaching literacy skills with diverse books.