Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sparking Curiosity through STEM books

"The soap bubble will be pink," said a little girl at the District Girls Home as author of Why are bubbles round?Sukanya Sinha, prepared to blow a bubble with pink dye added to the soap solution.

At a Zilla Parishad School in Pune, a group of boys said, "We can make this jar invisible now!" They had just listened to author Varsha Joshi talk about her forthcoming book The Invisibility Cloak. 

"Shh.....Simmi is listening!" I said to a group of noisy kids at the Girls Home, holding up the book by Aparna Kapur. Actually, we were very quite happy that the children were so full of questions, and not sitting quietly. You see, we were on a mission to spark curiosity. And how better to do that than to have children coming out with questions about everything under the sun! Through March, we went to several schools across cities with our authors, illustrators and storytellers to introduce our new STEM books.

Earlier, at the Government Boys Home, I spoke about my forthcoming book, Sir M Visvesvaraya - The Builder of Dams, Bridges and a Nation. We were delighted to hear later that the story inspired the boys and helped spark a discussion on goal setting during their therapy session. 

"They had so many questions!" said Sudha Thilak, Tamil editor, who went with storyteller Sathyanarayan, to Chudar Education Centre. She also went to other centres in Chennai with the help of Pratham and Teach for India fellows and shared many of our new books, including Maths at the Mela.

Author of The Drawing Game and Where is Nandini?, Anitha Murthy, shared her stories with little ones at Shishu Mandira, Bengaluru.

In Guwahati, Yasaswini Sampathkumar author of forthcoming book How heavy is air? had answers for this question: "Why is Bimla's cake so spongy?"

Srinivasan Krishnaswamy,  assistant professor at IIT Guwahati, narrated the same story in Assamese, getting the students quite interested in the chemistry behind cake-making.

Vidyun Sabhaney who illustrated '3..2..1..Blast-off! used art to explain astronomy to the students of Children organization in Delhi.

Our Kannada Editor Hema Khurshapur travelled to Shiggaon in Haveri ditrict and met governnment school teachers who were thrilled to see the STEM books. They happily read out from some books to the students. Later, the girls learnt about got immersed in the books including,  Telephones: From Bell to Cell.

Dr. Shivani Kanodia used storytelling, songs and activities to introduce the books  Bin Aahat Sunne Pippu (Pispsqueak Hears Echoes) and Divya Ne Banaya Naksha (Divya Draws a Map) at The Community Library Project, Delhi.

At Chaitanya English Medium School, students had a cool time with Niloufer Wadia, illustrator of the book Let's Make Some Lime Juice and Saee Keskar, who translated it into Marathi.

The exciting world of tomorrow is closely linked to the sometimes tough world of having to learn abstract concepts of maths and science today. Could colourful, fun books help children to be ready to learn these concepts? We strongly believe so, and so we've been creating cheerful books on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

This year's list of 25 STEM books was made possible through a Cisco grant. The set includes picture books on sound, astronomy, driverless cars, kitchen science, and many more themes.  We are grateful to our authors, illustrators, translators for taking our books to children in different parts of the country. 

More sessions to spark curiosity will follow, and we will keep you posted.

blog comments powered by Disqus