ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













Symbiartic

Symbiartic


The art of science and the science of art.
Symbiartic HomeAboutContact

More Science for the Children

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


Email   PrintPrint



A long time ago in a place very far away… I was thinking about writing science children’s books. I did some research at the local bookstore. It seemed as though children’s science books were either overwhelming picture encyclopedias with captions and loads of disjointed facts, or they were really slow, dry accounts of how butterflies emerge from their respective cocoons. Yawn.

I’m obviously not the target audience, as I am not 4 feet tall with an oral fixation. But really. Surely we can do better than this, right?

After a few freelance writing gigs for educational publishers, learning the ways of writing at a first grade level, I started to feel like I might be able to write what I considered a damn decent children’s book about science. But what topic to tackle first?

After spending an embarrassing amount of time mulling this over, I just recently bit the bullet and wrote a short children’s book about cells. It’s not a narrative story. The cells are not going on a grand adventure or anything like that. But the book does cover a few different types of cells we humans have: skin cells, blood cells, brain cells, muscle cells, immune cells, etc.

The drawings are incredibly simplified (and embellished with faces), but they are reminiscent of the cells’ actual shapes and textures.

As far as science education goes, as a writer and former science teacher, I think that you need to be straightforward, sometimes silly, but never condescending. I’d like to think this book doesn’t talk down to our little ones, as this is honestly how I would explain what cells are to a young’un, and I don’t do baby talk. That’s patronizing.

What do you think?

You can buy it on Amazon.

Katie McKissick About the Author: Katie McKissick is a former high school biology teacher turned science writer and cartoonist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her first book is called What’s in Your Genes? and will be in bookstores December 2013. Her work can be found at www.beatricebiologist.com. Follow on Twitter @beatricebiology.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





Rights & Permissions

Comments 2 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. Page J 8:54 am 07/18/2013

    Our society is sorely lacking in scientific literacy, so unfortunately some adults may find this book helpful as well.

    Link to this
  2. 2. eurotimbr 6:35 pm 07/22/2013

    Looks like a good approach to me. You might consider adding a sentence that says what the cell does, in cases where this is not obvious.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article



This function is currently unavailable

X