COVID-19

Women In STEM (Math & Science) – Author Interview with Laurie Wallmark, and Giveaway

 Today we’re interviewing Laurie Wallmark, author of Numbers in Motion, and several other titles.

 

                               

This book features the STEM topics of mathematical equations and science, and how Sophie Kowalevski became the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate in mathematics that required original research and inspired a generation of mathematicians.

Sophie was also the first to hold a university chair in mathematics, and the first to be the editor of a major scientific journal.

 

  1. Tell us about Numbers in Motion and what inspired you to write the story of Sophie Kowalevski.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved math. Why? Because it’s fun! Although several of the people I’ve written about before have been talented mathematicians, they were recognized in different fields. I thought it was time to share a woman mathematician’s story with kids.

 

2. How did you do your research for this book? How did you organize all the information you learned about Sophie?

I researched her life through books and professional journal articles. A book that was especially helpful was written by Sophie herself, A Russian Childhood.

I use the program OneNote to organize all my research. I have a separate tab for each book, each of which includes a section for notes and for quotations. It’s very important to be able to go back to your notes and find the source for what you’ve written. In addition, I have tabs for my bibliography, a timeline of Sophie’s life, and, while I was researching and writing the book, an ever-expanding list of possible scenes to write.

 

 

3. How do you envision teachers and librarians using this book in classrooms?

The true value of picture books is that they can be used on so many levels. To start with, there is of course the text and illustrations of the story. Especially in a book like mine that takes place in another time period, there are many possibilities for discussing how the world has changed.

In addition, most nonfiction picture books, including mine, include some basic back matter such as a timeline and a bibliography. Numbers in Motion also has three more pieces of back matter. My author’s note tells how, in addition to being a mathematician, Sophie was also a writer. Next, for students (like me!) who might want to know more about Sophie’s math, I explain in more detail the problem she solved–the rotation of solid bodies. Finally, I include how Sophie Kowalevski’s name was transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet. This presents a great opportunity to discuss how people’s (possibly even some of their classmates’) names might be spelled different ways when written in our Roman alphabet.

 

4. Can you suggest three questions related to women in mathematics for student discussions?

  1. Why do you think we haven’t heard of as many woman mathematicians as men?
  2. Do you think woman and girls have the same natural ability in math as men and boys?
  3. Do you think there are any women working in mathematics today who have made important discoveries

 

 

5. What do you want readers to take away from Numbers in Motion?

Sophie loved math and overcame many obstacles to pursue her studies. I think the big take away from Numbers in Motion is it’s worth pursuing your dreams, even if other people say you can’t or shouldn’t.

To read more about Laurie and her work, click here.

 

Want to own your very own copy of Numbers In Motion? Enter our giveaway by leaving a comment below! 

 

You may earn extra entries by blogging/tweeting/facebooking the interview and letting us know. The winner will be announced here on April 13, 2020 and will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (US only) to receive the book.

 

 

 

STEM Tuesday– Astronauts and Space Travel — Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone

STEM Tuesday–Astronauts and Space Travel– Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone

 

Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the last Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math!

Today we’re interviewing Tanya Lee Stone, author of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream It’s a fascinating look at the early days of astronaut training where women were barred from participating despite, in some cases, possessing superior skill levels. The New York Times Book Review said, “Stone’s carefully researched book makes the point that in the 1950s and ’60s there were ’13 women who… had the Right Stuff’ – but were the wrong sex at the wrong time.

 * * *

Christine Taylor-Butler: Tanya, you are one of the most accomplished authors in the field with more than 100 books under your belt. One of your superpowers seems to be telling compelling stories of lesser known historical figures whose contributions have left an indelible mark on society. For example, you wrote about Ilan Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut to date. What lead you to his story?

Tanya Lee Stone: Gosh, that book was written in the beginning of my career, before I was choosing my own topics. His story was so compelling that I dove right in.

CTB: In researching Ilan Ramon you came across private research that was conducted decades prior (1961) to determine if women were qualified to go into space. That snippet of information lead to writing Almost Astronauts – which earned you the American Library Association’s  Sibert Award. Do you find that your book research leads you to other serendipitous topics for future books?

Tanya: Yes. It was in doing the research for the Ilan Ramon book that I discovered a snippet of information about Jerrie Cobb–and that led me to write Almost Astronauts. That happens to me a lot. I’ll get lost in the library, immersed in research, and uncover all kinds of fascinating things that plant seeds in my brain for future books. I think I was writing about Elizabeth Blackwell (Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?!) when I fell in love with Ada Lovelace and later wrote Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?!

CTB: You have a journalistic tenacity when it comes to tracking down primary sources, sometimes calling the person or their families to obtain photos, letters and journals. You speak of taking the time to gain their trust. How long does it take you, on average, to do the research for your books?

Tanya: Every book is really unique. It depends on how difficult it can be for me to find everything I need. The more obscure the story, the harder the job. Courage Has No Color took me 10 years to research and write because I was determined to track down as many of the men (or their family members) as I could to find primary sources such as letters, journals, and photographs to allow me to tell that story.

CTB: That’s a huge learning lesson for aspiring writers and students who believe primary resources are books written by other people about a particular subject.

Tanya: The time is well worth it; I consider it an honor and a privilege to shine a light on these stories–especially while some of these extraordinary people are still living!

CTB: What surprised you most in researching Almost Astronauts?

Tanya: What surprised me most is what still surprises me–that these women, who paved the way for every woman in the space industry today, are still not household names. I hope this book gets made into a film someday so it will have a much wider audience. Can’t you just see Reese Witherspoon as Jerrie Cobb?

CTB: Randolph Lovelace, the scientist conducting the tests, noted women were lighter and would take up less space on a mission. He calculated the difference in cost at $1,000 per pound compared to men if women were sent to space. That’s significant savings in 1960’s dollars. And yet NASA didn’t find it a compelling reason to open the program to women?

Tanya: Nope. Shocking, right? And Lovelace thought for sure that was going to be the fact that would make him a hero. So disappointing.

CTB: Nineteen women were tested. Thirteen successfully completed the testing, in many cases performing better than their male counterparts. Despite their proven skills, women were shut out of the astronaut program until 1978. You’re careful to explain the era in which these events occurred. Still, did it surprise that both John Glenn and Scott Carpenter both testified in Congress against having women in the program?

Tanya: Yes, it did surprise me–and it angered me. But what surprised me even more was that Jackie Cochran did the same thing to them! So much for the sisterhood, eh?

CTB: What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

Tanya: I write books about things that I have a strong emotional connection to, or passion for–whether that connection is positive or negative. The kind of thing that makes me say, “Wow, I can’t wait to share that with readers–that’s so cool, or that’s so interesting, or that’s so unjust!” So what I hope is that readers are as intrigued by the stories as I am, because they are the reason I’m sharing the story in the first place.

CTB. What’s next on the horizon for Tanya Lee Stone? Any future projects you want our readers to watch for?
Tanya: Absolutely! My next partnership with the brilliant illustrator Marjorie Priceman will be Remembering Rosalind: Rosalind Franklin and the Structure of DNA. This is our third book together–I’m ecstatic!

CTB: Note to readers. This book is well worth checking out. There’s a shocking revelation at the culmination of the women’s fight to be recognized.  I promised not to reveal it here but it helps explain what made this book so popular with awards committees. The author’s ability to tell the story of breaking barriers in the women’s own words makes for a compelling narrative, as does the discussion of the time period in which the events takes place. Enjoy.

Win a FREE copy of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream.

Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The randomly-chosen winner will be contacted via email and asked to provide a mailing address (within the U.S. only) to receive the book.

Good luck!

 

Tanya Lee StoneTanya Lee Stone is an Assistant Professor at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, teaching in the Professional Writing Program.  She started her career as an editor in New York. After moving to Vermont in the late 90s, she started writing. She is best known for telling true stories of unsung heroines, with themes of empowering girls and women threaded throughout her work, such as Girl RisingAlmost Astronauts, Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?! and Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers?!  Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Horn BookThe New York TimesSchool Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

Awards and honors include an NAACP Image Award, the Robert F. Sibert Medal, Golden Kite Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book, Bank Street’s Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction, NCTE Orbis Pictus Awards, NPR Best Books, and many state awards.  To learn more about Tanya and her books, please visit www.tanyastone.com. You can follow her on Twitter @TanyaLeeStone
***
Christine Taylor-ButlerYour host is Christine Taylor-Butler, MIT nerd and author of Bathroom Science, Sacred Mountain: Everest, Genetics, and many other nonfiction books for kids. She is also the author of the middle grade sci-fi series The Lost Tribes. Follow @ChristineTB on Twitter and/or @ChristineTaylorButler on Instagram

Kids At Home? We have got some resources for you!

Homeschooling in covid19

Hi Everyone,

We hope you are all doing well and staying safe. In light of the current COVID-19 social distancing requirements, I bet more than a few of you are at home with your families.  It can be difficult to find ways to keep everyone occupied, especially for kids of all ages. 🙂

Thankfully, TONS of organizations– including the kidlit community– have stepped up and are offering online FUN resources. We have compiled some of them here. Note, this is not a full list of everything that’s out there. If you have more suggestions, please add them to the comments so everyone can see them.

 

Here is a list that we have compiled so far:  (click on the highlighted words in each listing for the link)

 

Connecting with Children’s Authors

SCBWI Connect – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators  has compiled a huge list of links to connect with authors for resources, activities, and book read alouds

Mom’s Choice Awards Authors

Spooky Middle Grade website teacher guides 

Kate Messner’s Read, Wonder, and Learn— a FABULOUS resource!!

Loree Griffin Burns 

Melissa Stewart 

Stimola Live — has lots of great readings and live streams by children’s authors

 

Connect with some of our own Mixed-Up Files Authors

Shari Larsen

Dorian Cirrone

Jennifer Swanson 

Melissa Roske 

Samantha Clark

 Julie Rubini 

 

Connect with Children’s Illustrators — many of whom are offering free coloring pages and more!

Jarrett Lerner

Joe Cepada 

Rafael Lopez

Steve Musgrave

 

 

Children’s Publishers

Many publishers are setting up a resource page where their authors can post videos

Charlesbridge Publishing (check out their resource tab)  https://www.charlesbridge.com/pages/remote-author-content

Peachtree Publishing  https://peachtree-online.com/resources/

Macmillan Kids https://us.macmillan.com/mackids/

Scholastic https://www.scholastic.com/home/

National Geographic Kids https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/publishing/

 

Science Activities

STEM Tuesday from our very own website. It has two years worth of activities, project ideas, and literacy and STEM connections for kids of all ages https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/stem-tuesday/

Skype a Scientist Live! Follow on Twitter @SkypeScientist for live talks given by real scientists.

National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Learning Center https://learningcenter.nsta.org/science60/science60-learning-together.aspx

Follow @ScienceStory on Twitter for great #STEM activities

STEAMTeam2020 website packed with videos and STEM activities  http://www.steamteambooks.com/

 

 

Museums

Shedd Aquarium https://www.youtube.com/user/sheddaquariumchicago/videos

Smithsonian Museum Online learning https://www.si.edu/educators

The Field Museum https://www.fieldmuseum.org/educators/learning-resources

The USS Intrepid Museum 

 

Writers

Highlights Foundations  #HFGathers 

 

There is so much to do!  And these are not everything. So many authors, publishers, teachers,  and professionals are coming together to help each other out in this time. It’s wonderful to see. Take advantage of it if you can.

To find more resources online,  take a look at the following hashtags that are being used to promote resources

On Twitter look for #kidlitquarantine  #covid-19  #kidsathome #parentingathome #operationstorytime #homeschool #quarantineactivities

But also, take the time you need. Here is a great post that gives you tips for how to cope during this time

10-suggestions-1-for-suddenly-homeschooling-your-kids

Whatever you do, please be safe.  And hang in there!

 

From the Mixed-Up Files crew