There’s no escaping it; science is everywhere. From the deepest oceans to the farthest reaches of space, life is based on science. Sometimes as students age, they begin to perceive science as difficult or dry. When I give workshops in elementary schools, I remind them that this is far from the truth. And if you start teaching STEAM at a young age through fun, experiential activities, their perspective can change. (STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.)

There are many benefits to STEAM, like encouraging critical thinking and problem solving while fostering imagination and innovation. Having studied science myself, I like writing nonfiction to help children understand our fascinating world and to satiate their everlasting curiosity. Complex scientific theories can be simplified and relayed to children in easy to grasp and fun ways.

I’m excited to announce my latest nonfiction picture book, Dancing through Space: Dr. Mae Jemison Soars to New Heights illustrated by Sawyer Cloud and published by Albert Whitman. Dr. Mae Jemison overcame every obstacle on her path and became the first African American woman to fly to space. She studied engineering, became a doctor and an astronaut, but what many may not know is that dance also plays a pivotal role in her life.

I structured the book as a dual narrative that features her two main passions; science and dance. As the story unfolds, the two worlds merge together, illuminating how art and science are both essential parts of our world.

What I hope children will retain from this book is to first of all, dream big and persevere to overcome any and all challenges. I also hope children can understand that they don’t have to pick one road, life is an amazing kaleidoscope of different experiences they can experiment with. They can follow more than one passion and experience life more fully while following their heart. I personally connect to this message because I studied both science and art/literature early on and saw these disciples as distinct. But as the years went by, I realized how connected these fields are.

Last year, I also released another science book, DEEP, DEEP, DOWN: The Secret Underwater Poetry of the Mariana Trench illustrated by Juan Calle and published by Capstone Editions, a Capstone imprint.

This lyrical picture book that takes readers on a journey to where few humans have been, the deepest ocean in the world. The narrative debunks stereotypes about this mysterious place with surprising and beautiful truths about Earth's deepest point. What I hope children will retain is how vibrant life is deep, deep down and how interconnected our lives are to every place on the planet. The book also addresses ocean conservation which is an important topic.

It’s an honor to work with children and a delight to write for them. As parents and educators, you all have an important role.  I encourage you to read more STEAM to young children so they can better understand the world around them. This may also inspire them to pursue science later on.