We all know that kids are curious. Science-oriented kids are often curious in, shall we say, unexpected ways. They may challenge the laws of physics. Or chemistry. And they often do a lot of, “Oh, I just wanted to see what would happen if…” kinds of things. Famous scientists were no different when they were kids. They would have their own ideas and explore in sometimes unusual ways. A brand new book profiles 16 of these scientists, focusing on what they were like as kids.
Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars goes into the childhoods of famous scientists, sharing their interests, stumbling blocks, successes, and obstacles they had to overcome. From Quirk Books’ Kid Legends series of books designed for the middle grades, Kid Scientists takes us back to the lives of these important scientists, before the world knew their names.
The book is filled with factual stories from the childhoods of people like George Washington Carver, Katherine Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Jane Goodall, Rosalind Franklin, Sally Ride, Rachel Carson, Marie Curie, Nikola Tesla, Stephen Hawking, Ada Lovelace, and more. The chosen scientists were chosen with diversity in mind, including gender, period in history, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. One look at the table of contents shows that there are more women included than men, and that was intentional, according to author David Stabler, especially since his Kid Presidents book obviously focused on males. (Other books in the Kid Legends series are Kid Athletes, Kid Artists, and Kid Authors. I kind of want them all now.)
Stabler also learned, through his research for the books in the Kid Legends series, that there are many different paths to success. Sometimes kids are good at things immediately. But, quite often, there is only a spark of interest, a natural curiosity, and that needs to be nurtured to help it grow into a strong passion and then possibly into a career or life-long calling. So, I’ll take this opportunity to share a bit of advice to anyone who spends time with kids: pay attention to what makes their eyes light up, and do what you can to provide opportunities for them to explore those interests. And, if they decide to stick with it, find them a mentor—someone who can help them take it to the next level. Mentors can be critical in terms of extending learning and opening doors to future careers.
Kid Scientists is filled with cute illustrations by Anoosha Syed and focuses on anecdotes from the scientists’ childhoods, as well as general overviews of their lives and careers. The stories serve as mini-biographies that are interesting, funny, and, most importantly, relevant to kids today. Certain kinds of experiences are just universal, such as making messes, asking questions, and being resourceful.
Sometimes we think that it was inevitable for certain people to become notable in their fields. That’s not always the case, though. Plenty of kids have childhoods like these scientists did, but not all go on to have notable scientific careers. There are many factors at play, but hopefully reading this book will inspire you or your child to keep following your passions and see where they take you.
Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars is available now. Get one for your favorite science-oriented kid (or adult!) today and prepare to be inspired.
Note: I received a copy for review purposes.