When teaching children the alphabet, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter whether A stands for Apple or Aqueduct? Or if H is for Happy or Hydroponics?
To Natoshia Anderson, it does. The woman better known as Dr. Toshia has made the shift from mechanical engineer to award-winning STEM educator, combining her two passions into a marvelous work for young children called ABC Engineering Book (Rockridge Press). For each letter, rather than use boilerplate words to which kids associate, Dr. Toshia employs engineering terms. The author’s clear and easily digestible definitions, coupled with wonderful supporting illustrations by Katie Turner, make readers realize that hey, this isn’t rocket science!
For example: “A viaduct is a long bridge that carries a roadway or railroad over a valley. Viaducts are usually held up by columns or arches.”
Or “A fuse is a safety device that stops the flow of electricity. If too much power moves through a wire at once, it can damage electronics or cause a fire.”
Children don’t have to be aspiring electrical engineers to enjoy this book as well as have a valuable learning experience. And for parents, it’s a way to get out in front of teaching the ABCs in a new and inspiring way for very young children.
The book is designed to set up a tiered learning approach that grows with your child. Focus first on letters, then on words, and then on understanding concepts. And the rich and vibrant illustrations add to the learning and will keep your child engaged.
Dr. Toshia’s expertise in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) coupled with her desire to see an increase in the number of minority students in STEAM, led her to write the book.
“So many young, talented girls are discouraged from pursuing their STEM dreams and aspirations before they have even had a chance to excel,” she notes. Dr. Toshia hopes to change that at all levels of the educational process and provide a voice to young girls and women who need encouragement and a role model.
ABC Engineering Book is an exciting adventure, one that will arouse kids’ curiosity and stretch the limits of what they are capable of learning at a very young age — even if they are to discover that “Kelvin” is not a word to describe one of their classmates, and “Yoke” is not necessarily part of an egg.
Adults will marvel in the experience as well. And if you’re like me, maybe you, too, will be proud to admit that you knew most of the definitions before even turning the first page!