It’s the most wonderful time of the year…that’s right, new picture book biographies! A few times a year, Librarians choose some of the season’s best biographies for their Children’s collections. December’s selections are especially exciting as book awards season approaches and “best of” lists accumulate.
Librarians are also planning programs for the next year during this time. Most often I find myself planning summer STEM programs inspired by my favorite new biographies for maximum out of school learning potential! Many of us are also looking for a meaningful holiday gift for the children in our lives. Picture book biographies can be the perfect way to share joy. Books can be an experience to share with our families, with friends and through activities connected to the amazing individuals we read about. Books can be passed down or given to others. This year, share the gift of books and include some hands-on activities to continue learning long after the winter season.
The book on top of my to give list is Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison. Accompanied by illustrations, the author and artist details 40 women to explore and learn from. Next time a child records video on a tablet or phone take the opportunity to explore the section on filmmaker Julie Dash. This compilation of biographies covers so many STEM fields, children of all ages and interests will find something inspiring.
From Legos to kitchen items like tooth picks and cookies, we are always exploring architecture and engineering at the Library through building. Building toys offer an easy introduction to countless STEM fields. For the daring designers, take the opportunity to show them buildings and the creative individuals who thought of them. K.L. Going’s The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright offers the perfect connection to all of those squares and triangles in the Library’s Magna-Tile sets. Jeanette Winters’ The World is not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid gives children a vastly different design perspective and the chance to think beyond the block!
STEM learning is jam packed into the kitchen and there is little more to get kids excited about books than a chance to create something they can also eat! Cooking programs are always incredibly popular with kids and a great opportunity to measure, test, follow instructions and experiment. Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin covers all of the science, technology, engineering, art and math used by chefs.
Looking for a book for the children who can’t resist the excitement of a giant creature with terrifyingly sharp teeth? Try out Jess Keating’s Shark Lady: True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist. Scientists often brave frightening scenarios to gather the data and information needed for their research. Introduce the work of ichthyologist (that’s a fish scientist!) to little ones who will delight in the story of the bold scientist Eugenie Clark while learning about creatures of the sea. Looking for the perfect STEM inspired book to share for any occasion? Check in with your local Librarian! Not only are we ready to recommend you books, but we can also supply you with some fun activities to build deeper connections with young learners.
Kristin is the Children’s and Teen Librarian at CLP – Hill District. She enjoys embroidery, feminist children’s literature and strong female protagonists! The music of Mr. Rogers has been known to make her very emotional.