Book Review

Reading ‘STEMs’ Learning – Andrea Beaty Book Review

This week, I’m reviewing three (3) books.  The books are: “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, “Iggy Peck, Architect” and “Ada Twist, Scientist”.

I’ll tell you if I think you should BUY IT, BORROW IT, or SKIP IT.

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About the Author / Illustrator:

The author is Andrea Beaty.  She actually has a very similar background to mine – she majored in technical fields in college (in her case, biology and computer science) and also loved to write.  She eventually began writing children’s books and now many of her books are best sellers.  The illustrator, David Roberts, makes fantastic illustrations that are very visually appealing to children.  They are wonderful picture books!  The first book in the series that we read was “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and we loved it!

About the Books:

Each of the children in these books are second grade classmates in Miss Lila Greer’s classroom and each has some type of passion (inventing, testing or building) that relates to three different STEM careers – an engineer, a scientist and an architect.  Each book outlines the creative and inquisitive spirits of each of the children, the catastrophes they face and then a resolution at the end.

20181016_144511Rosie Revere, Engineer:  BUY IT

This book is extremely creative and the rhymes are fluid.  The words rolled right off my tongue when reading them and the lessons in the book are life lessons.  One of my favorite quotes from the book, “The only true failure can come if you quit.”  There is also a prelude for some history you can teach your child, as the ‘real’ Rosie the Riveter (from WWII) makes an appearance as Rosie’s Great-Great-Aunt Rose.  From an engineers perspective, I felt it gave a very good introduction into an engineers best qualities.  And I felt this book was especially empowering to young girls.

20181016_144559Iggy Peck, Architect:  SKIP IT OR BORROW IT

The storyline in this book and the overall moral were just okay, especially since Rosie Revere was our first book to read in the series and left such a wonderful feel.  My daughter didn’t ask as many questions and I didn’t find that the words were as fluid as Rosie Revere.  Generally though, I do think it touched on some of the passions of a great architect but fell short of my expectations.  I think if we had skipped this book, we wouldn’t be missing out and I would not have purchased this book had I read it in advance.  I didn’t think it was awful, so I’d say if architecture is your child’s thing, then borrow it.

20181016_144628Ada Twist, Scientist: BORROW IT

We enjoyed the fluidity of this story and its moral.  The moral of the story is that a great scientist makes hypotheses, tests them and then draws conclusions by continuously asking ‘why’.  I think this book is worth the read, but review it ahead  of purchasing and possibly before reading it to your child (some readers felt that there might be some unintentional, negative cultural bias in the book that I did not notice until after I read some reviews).  My favorite quote in this book was, “She asks lots of questions.  How could she resist?  It’s all in the heart of a great scientist.” 

Additional Resources Available:

Did you know that astronauts read books to children from space? “Rosie Revere, Engineer” is one of the books that is read by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS).  It is supported by the Global Space Education Foundation called Storytime from Space.  The astronauts also perform educational demonstrations to compliment the science concepts found in the books they read to children in the videos.  Check it out in the link above!

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Experiment from Andrea Beaty’s website that could accompany “Ada Twist, Scientist”.

Also, Andrea Beaty’s website contains a plethora of educational resources that accompany the books – from posters to bookmarks to teacher curriculums and child activities.  One link that I found on the website lead to a really neat idea – setting up a “tinkering station” for your child.

Have you read any of these books to your children?  Which of the three are your favorite / least favorite? 

Do you want me to do more reviews like this? 

Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

All opinions and reviews of these books in this blog post are my own.  I was not asked to make a review and I was not compensated for my review.  

DISCLAIMER:  I am an Amazon Associate.  As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases made using the links above at no additional cost to you.

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Fairy Garden, Nature

Coining a new phrase: Fairy God-Momgineering!

OHIO.  Rolling hills with gorgeous tree line views, rivers, lakes, creeks, beaches, ponds, gorges, waterfalls, farmland, marsh, etc.  The landscape here is beautiful and there are plenty of park systems with scientists, naturalists, biologists, zoologists, botanists, geologists, architects, ecologists and engineers that ensure that the beauty of OHIO is preserved for us to enjoy.

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Fairy house at Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio

In our family, we do our best to spend as much time outdoors as we can.

Recently we went to our local arboretum and stopped by the Children’s Nature Play Area.  This area has climbing ropes, a reading area, balance beams, a small zip line and an area to watch birds, squirrels and chipmunks feed from the feeders.

But what was most exciting for the girls was a recently added Fairy Garden. They played with it for more than an hour before we had to bribe them to go.  So, that’s where the idea for our next family project began…

This winter, we will be building a fairy garden for our yard.

There are many fun elements to this project that incorporate aspects of STEAM (I’ll be starting to add the Arts portion to many of our projects too)!  Most of our materials will be found in nature or scrap that we have – other than some items we may need for attaching (like glue, nails, etc.).

Using items from nature will allow us to:

  • Identify trees / plants and their attributes for building,
  • Identify types of fruit / nuts various trees / plants produce,
  • Identify other items in nature that can be used for building / decorating,
  • Use our creativity and
  • Study actual structures out in the real world.  For example, go look at the structural aspects of a bridge – what holds it up?

In the words of William Wordsworth, we will try to “let nature be (our) teacher”.

This entire project will be a great introduction to many disciplines in the STEAM fields.  Key ones that come to mind for this project are Structural or Civil Engineer, Materials Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Safety Engineer, Naturalist / Biologist, Botanist, Geologist, Architect and possibly even Ecology.

I fully expect that as parents of two young children, we may be doing much of the work, but it will be incredibly worth every ounce of energy considering the tremendous amount of education and confidence that this will provide them.  And the final result will be so much FUN!

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Our first bucket of nature materials

Over the next several weeks / months, we will be collecting nature materials to use (started this weekend), taking photos of various structures that we want to build, planning our builds and finally, building several pieces and problem solving any (hopefully minimal) failures.

I will share each of the pieces in this blog – how they were made, what we would do differently and hopefully we will inspire some of you to do something similar!  Feel free to submit ideas that you have or items you think belong in a Fairy Garden – let me be your Fairy God-Momgineer (HAHA!) and bring these ideas to life! 

I am also SO excited to see the kids ideas come to life too.  Maria Montessori once said, “A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature.”

All ideas in this post, as always, are my own.  Please reach out to me below in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com if you have any additional comments, ideas or suggestions for our fairy garden.  I’d love to hear them!

And if you love this blog, PLEASE share it with family, friends, colleagues, etc. that you think would love it too.

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