By Hayley Durfor
Scientific literacy is more important than ever in our modern, STEM-driven economy. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics dominate secondary education. Intended for playful young readers age 5 to 8, the Picture Book Science series from Nomad Press lays a solid foundation for future STEM study.
With effervescent style, these colorful paperbacks — Forces, Waves, Matter, Energy — encourage readers to be physically active and intellectually engaged in the present moment. Enfield, N.H., writer and parent of three, Andi Diehn, adds fun and humor to real life examples of abstract scientific concepts. Illustrations by Shululu cement these concepts in a realistic yet imaginative fashion. Parents and caregivers will appreciate a back-to-basics refresher of their own scientific knowledge.
The idea to write the series came to Diehn while she was driving. “A line popped into my head — A wave is a way of saying hello,” she says. “I thought about how little kids develop language and knowledge about scientific concepts simultaneously and how wrestling with words that have different meanings is such a huge part of growing your vocabulary. From there, all four books became about exploring the different meanings of the words wave, force, matter and energy — both as scientific concepts and as words we encounter every day.”
Diehn deftly creates material that children enjoy reading and includes the necessary educational components. “Children are natural scientists that thrive on discovery,” she says. “When I’m writing for them, my job is to point at something and go ‘Wow!’ and offer an explanation in a language they understand.”
Diehn hopes these books will inspire young readers to expand their learning horizons. “Kids are naturally curious and it often feels like adults should try our best to stay out of the way of learning and just provide the tools they need to explore the world.” The Picture Book Science series is a valuable addition to every young family’s home library.
The series includes four volumes:
- Forces explains the scientific concepts of gravity, magnetism and friction.
- Waves focuses upon the causes and effects of waves in everyday life: sound waves, light waves, earthquakes and microwaves.
- Matter clarifies the difference between the everyday use of the word and its scientific definition, expands upon the four categories of matter (solids, liquids, gases and plasma) and explores what does not consist of matter.
- Energy defines the scientific concepts of chemical, light, electrical and heat energy.
Hayley Durfor is a native of the New Hampshire lakes region. When not writing, she can usually be found holed up with a book or a sketchpad.