STEM Tuesday

STEM Tuesday– The Human Body — Book List

STEM Tuesday CoSTEM Costume Contest

Heart and Soul 

As Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s explore what makes our hearts go pitter-patter with these books featuring various aspects of human anatomy. 

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Superbugs Strike Back: When Antibiotics Fail by Connie Goldsmith 

For a long time we thought we had infectious diseases licked. But now we’re not so sure. What happens when bacteria become resistant to antibiotics? Goldsmith explores the science of superbugs in a accessible style that will make readers take notice.


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Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? REAL Answers to REAL Questions From Preteens About Body Changes, Sex, and Other Growing-Up Stuff by Julie Metzger, RN, Robert Lehman, and Lia Cerizo

Nurse Julie Metzger answers the questions many preteen boys and girls have about their bodies.


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Guy Stuff The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson and Micah Player

Advice, tips, and facts from a pediatrician fill this book specifically for boys. 



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Guts by Raina Telgemeier 

Here is another heartfelt graphic novel-memoir from Raina Telgemeier. Dealing with a sensitive stomach, anxiety, and panic attacks, the author shares many mental and physical health issues middle-grade students face. 


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Human Body Theater: A Nonfiction Revue  by Maris Wicks

This nonfiction, graphic novel presents a human anatomy lesson in a fun, humor-filled way. 



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Science Comic: The Brain – The Ultimate Thinking Machine by Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins

Another in this popular graphic novel series that focuses on science topics. Readers will explore the ultimate thinking machine – our own brain! How our brains evolved, how our brain controls our senses, how we remember things, and more.


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Human Cloning by Kristi Lew 

This title for older readers explores the use of cloning and the depiction of human cloning in science fiction. 



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Future Humans: Hows-Whys-Tech-Medicine-Human Enhancement-Genetics-Wrongs-Rights-Playing God- Who Wants to Live Forever? – Science vs Morality by Tom Jackson 

What does it mean to be human? Perhaps the future will force us to rethink our answer. Readers will explore artificial intelligence and deep questions on immortality and human potential. 


Body 2.0 coverBody 2.0: The Engineering Revolution in Medicine by Sara Latta

Discover the science of biomedical engineering and cutting edge research. This book for teens will inspire future medical professionals. 



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Illumanatomy by Carnovsy, written by Kate Davies

This book gives readers a chance to use three different lenses to view human anatomy. Readers can use the red lens to reveal the human skeleton, the green to look at muscles, and the blue to examine organs with x-rays. A unique way to understand what’s under our skin!


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Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse by Catherine Reef

It’s hard to discuss the human body without examining the life of the legendary nurse, Florence Nightingale. Reef’s biography will inspire future nurses and doctors. 



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Human Movement: How the Body Walks, Runs, Jumps, and Kicks by Carla Mooney and Samuel Carbaugh

Mooney’s book delves into how our bodies work when we play sports, dance, and walk. This is a great addition to science and sports collections. 


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Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion and Mike Lowery

With puzzles and fun verse, Leslie Bulion introduces human anatomy to middle-grade readers. Try this one during poetry month!



STEM Tuesday book lists prepared by

Nancy Castaldo has written books about our planet for over 20 years including, THE STORY OF SEEDS, which earned the Green Earth Book Award, Junior Library Guild Selection, and other honors. Nancy’s research has taken her all over the world from the Galapagos to Russia.  She strives to inform, inspire, and empower her readers. Nancy also serves as the Regional Advisor of the Eastern NY SCBWI region. Her 2018 multi-starred title is BACK FROM THE BRINK: Saving Animals from Extinction. Visit her at 

Patricia Newman writes middle-grade nonfiction that empowers young readers to act on behalf of the environment and their communities. The Sibert Honor author of Sea Otter Heroes, Newman has also received an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award for Eavesdropping on Elephants, and a Green Earth Book Award for Plastic, Ahoy! Her books have received starred reviews, been honored as Junior Library Guild Selections, and included on Bank Street College’s Best Books lists. During author visits, she demonstrates how young readers can use writing to be the voice of change. Visit her at


STEM Tuesday–Dinosaurs/Paleontology– Interview with Author Karen Bush Gibson

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

Today we’re interviewing Karen Bush Gibson. She’s the author of Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Paleontologists. The book features the lives of five women paleontologists—Mary Anning, Mignon Talbot, Tilly Edinger, Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, and Mary Leakey—who overcame obstacles to make breakthrough discoveries about ancient life.

Mary Kay Carson: What’s the book about—and why did you chose to write it?

Karen Bush Gibson: Imagine how cool it must be to discover something no one has seen for over 145 million years? Even more exciting is if your discovery is a puzzle piece in the history of living things. Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Paleontologists highlights some of the women who have accomplished this. I’ve always been fascinated by women who achieve great things, particularly in male-dominated fields. One of those fields is paleontology, in which many women have been discriminated against. Although females make up nearly half of the student members in professional paleontology organizations, less than 25% become professional members.

MKC: Could you share an especially interesting tidbit from your research? 

Karen: I’m ashamed to say that except for Mary Leakey, I knew little of the other women featured before I started research. Now, as is often the case, I see references to these women everywhere. Particularly Mary Anning, who began making great discoveries when she was just 12 years old. Due to her circumstances, she had to educate herself, but became the best fossil finder of the early nineteenth century when the science of paleontology was just starting. She made the first discoveries of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. Anning instinctively knew where to find fossils and to what prehistoric family and groups they belonged to. Great male paleontologist of the day came to see Anning, and it’s said that many of them struggled to keep up with her on the cliffs of Lyme Regis.

MKC: Did your investigations into the lives of these five accomplished women reveal any commonalities? 

Karen: All five women were driven by curiosity and the need to know more. Two succeeded despite being caught up in the events of World War II. Another lived in poverty. All experienced societal restrictions in education or their profession at some point. Yet none of them allowed these hardships to dissuade them from their chosen path. They never gave up.

MKC: Why do you choose to specifically write STEM books?

Karen Bush Gibson loves exploring history and the world through writing. She is particularly fascinated by interesting women, so she’s bouncing off the wall about the 100th anniversary of the women’s vote this year. When not writing about awesome women or travel, Gibson works as an instructional-curriculum designer. •  •  • @Gibson4writing

Karen: I do not have a STEM background, but since writing a book on female aviators in 2013, I have heard repeatedly about females being discouraged or at least not encouraged in science and math in the classroom. When I was a child, I was good at math. I found sciences like genetics and archaeology fascinating. But I don’t recall anyone encouraging me. My father was an engineer, but it never occurred to me to explore engineering. However, as a writer of STEM books, I get to explore my own curiosity and immerse myself in subjects like aeronautics, marine biology, meteorology, cell science, programming, and paleontology. And one of my children is studying to be an astrophysicist, so I get to pick his brain a lot.

MKC: Who did you write this book for?

Karen: I believe nonfiction books—including STEM books about female paleontologists—should be every bit as interesting as fiction. I always tried to start a chapter with a paleontologist doing or discovering something exciting. And I wanted the reader to feel as if he or she were there. Yes, Gutsy Girls Go for Science includes STEM, but it’s also about girls with dreams. And that’s who I’m writing for, young people with dreams and interests in STEM. I hope books like this help young people believe they can be anything they want to be, especially a paleontologist.

Win a FREE copy of Gutsy Girls Go For Science: Paleontologists

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!

Your host is Mary Kay Carson, author of The Tornado Scientist, Alexander Graham Bell for Kids, Mission to Pluto, Weird Animals, and other nonfiction books for kids. @marykaycarson

When Life Gets in the Way: Writing through Tough Times

Four months after my debut novel, Kat Greene Comes Clean, was published, my father went missing. It was late December, bitterly cold, and he left without a coat. And his cane. At 95, my dad was extremely frail, and he suffered from dementia. I called 911 in a panic.

Within minutes, NYPD detectives flooded my parents’ Manhattan apartment, asking questions and taking notes. They issued a Silver Alert, and promised to find my dad. “The old guys never get far,” the lead detective assured me. “Don’t worry.”

My mom wasn’t worried because, like my dad, she has dementia and had no idea what was going on. But I was a nervous wreck. New York is a big place, and my dad was probably confused, hungry, and cold. I feared the worst.

Afternoon turned into evening, and then into night. Finally, my father was located at the Empire Hotel, two blocks from Lincoln Center. He had taken a cab, the fare paid in coins from a velvet Alexander McQueen makeup bag. If I found this detail confounding, imagine my surprise when the hotel manager informed me that my dad had checked himself into a room, raided the minibar, and owed $685 plus tax. I would have paid anything, of course. My dad was safe.

But then, four months and three health-care aides later, my dad went missing… again. This time, he was found wandering the streets of SoHo, with a broken finger and lacerations on his face. He was rushed to the hospital, where I met him in the ER. He wasn’t as lucky this time. He developed a severe kidney infection and, after half a year in hospice care, passed away at home. He was 96 years old.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: This story is depressing! You write funny stuff. BE FUNNY!

I wish I could. But at the time, there was no room in my life for humor—or for writing. I tried, but I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to succeed. I was always on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it did. Again, and again, and again.

I’m still dealing with my fair share of stress (my mom now has advanced dementia), but I’ve found a way to balance life-related responsibilities with my writing. Here’s how you can, too:

Adjust your expectations. If you’re going through tough times—and, like me, juggling a zillion things at once—there’s no way you can be as productive, or as focused, as you were before. Think about it: Your brain has to work overtime just to keep up! Plus, stress has a sneaky way of sapping your emotional and physical energy. So, if you can, cut yourself some slack. Set realistic, manageable writing goals. If you’re used to writing 2,000 words a day, write a thousand. Or five hundred, or 250. Or whatever number your schedule, and emotional energy, allows. If you don’t hit a specific target, that’s okay too. Just write every day, even if it’s for 15 minutes. You’ll feel good for having done it.

Try journaling. Expressing your thoughts and feelings in written form is an excellent stress-management tool. It’s also been shown to be highly therapeutic. So, if you don’t keep a journal already, now would be a good time to start. You don’t have to write pages and pages; just a few lines a day. Or one line, if that’s all you’ve got in you. Just get your thoughts (and more often, your frustrations) down on paper, and see where it leads. There are many ways to journal, but if you find that journaling is not for you, give yourself permission to stop. You can always try again later. Or don’t. Make (or break) the rules as you see fit. This is something you’re doing for you.


Limit social media. It’s tempting to mindlessly scroll through social media—or binge-watch Netflix, or spend hours searching YouTube for cute-kitty videos—when you’re stressed and in need of distraction. (When my dad was sick, I played Wordscapes until my vision was blurry.) But the hours you engage in unproductive phone activities are hours you can’t get back. Plus, screen time wreaks havoc on your concentration. Removing apps from your phone is the obvious solution, but it’s unlikely you will do this (I still have Wordscapes on mine). Instead, think of screen time as a reward for writing time. Five hundred words = fifteen minutes of Wordscapes; one thousand words = an episode of 90 Day Fiancé (or pick your poison). The point is, you’re allowed to zone out when the time is right—but don’t make a habit of it. Your time is too valuable to waste. (For advice on how to walk away from social media completely, check out this post from Salon.)

You do YOU. Writers often compare themselves to others. That’s what we do. But as Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” He was right. Knowing that your friend’s debut MG novel sold eight billion copies and has been optioned for a movie starring Kylie Jenner (or Kendall Jenner, if you prefer) while yours is languishing in a bargain bin at Costco is a fact of life—but don’t dwell on it. You have enough on your plate to worry about! By all means celebrate your friends’ achievements, but don’t let their success(es) overshadow your own. Sometimes getting out bed in the morning is enough.

Practice self-care. This should be a given, but if you’re busy looking out for others’ needs, you tend to ignore your own—or put them last. This is understandable (I’m guilty of this, too), but try to put yourself first once in a while. Squeeze in a run, or have coffee with a friend. Get a massage, if that’s your thing, or sneak out to a museum or art gallery. Catch up on your sleep; eat Frito’s Corn Chips. Dance. Whatever it takes to bring you to your happy place, do it!

And finally…

Expect setbacks. It’s important to remember that most things in life are out of your control, like when a parent develops dementia–and dies. When a child is sick or disabled and needs constant care. Unemployment; bankruptcy; a house fire; divorce… You can only do so much to keep afloat emotionally. Sometimes, it will feel like an impossible struggle. You’ll miss deadlines. Bills will go unpaid; birthday cards unsent. For every step forward, you can expect two—or fifty—steps back.

Grieving isn’t linear, and I miss my dad every day. Still, he would have wanted me to keep writing, and that’s what I’m trying to do. I hope you will, too.