Right Turn: Stem cell books for kids

Author: Stacey Johnson, 12/11/15

I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t think reading to/with their kids is crucial. I’m going to assume that if you’re a scientist, instilling a love of science to your children, through books, is a priority.

With winter holidays just around the corner, kids will have lots of time for reading. Whether you’re looking for a gift to put under the tree or you want some distraction from “screen time,” here’s a list of stem cell and science-themed books to consider.

Carlo and the Orange Glasses – about how stem cells can heal wounds (recommended by CIRM).

Little Cells is described as a children’s science picture book that illustrates and explains various cell types: skin, brain, blood, lung, muscle and more. It’s by Katie McKissick and is part of her Beatrice the Biologist series. Ms. McKissick is also the author of Amoeba Hugs and Other Nonsense.

Courtesy of eurostemcell.org

Courtesy of eurostemcell.org

EuroStemCell has a collection of stem cell comics, graphic novels and short stories that appeal to different age groups. You can find the list here.

More broadly, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association (CSWA) has an annual contest to choose great science books. Their 2014 children’s book winner was The Fly by Elise Gravel, Penguin Random House. It is described as follows on CSWA’s site:

“The first in a series of humorous books about “disgusting creatures”, The Fly is a look at the common housefly. It covers such topics as the hair on the fly’s body (requires a lot of shaving), its ability to walk on the ceiling (it’s pretty cool, but it’s hard to play soccer up there), and its really disgusting food tastes (garbage juice soup followed by dirty diaper with rotten tomato sauce, for example).”

CSWA’s 2013 winner was Helaine Becker for The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea, Kids Can Press. This book is about oceanic science and includes ocean-themed experiments. Similar to The Fly, The Big Green Book knows how to appeal to kids with silly facts such as “freshwater fish pee a lot!” But with 80 pages of experiments and information, there’s a lot of substance too.

Even before I had children of my own, I knew about Kids Can Press (“the largest Canadian-owned children’s publisher in the world”) through a neighbour who worked there. Check them out for more science titles to amuse and educate your budding Einstein or Marie Curie.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

For almost 20 years, Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
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