Science Fiction for Middle Grade STEM Lovers

STEM for girls, STEM for middle school, science fiction for middle school, STEM for high school


Opportunities for middle-grade girls who are interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have been few and far between. Fortunately, more and more women are coming up with ideas for girls to become involved in these areas. Writer and educator Robin Stevens Paynes is one such woman. With her new science fiction series, Edge of Yesterday, Paynes inspires girls to live their dreams.

Girls Are Interested in STEM

According to a study by the Girl Scouts,  74 percent of girls report an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The problem starts when they decide to pursue a career—only 13 percent express an interest in STEM as their top career choice. The result is some 200,000 STEM jobs going unfilled annually in the United States despite the fact that women in STEM fields earn 35 percent more than their peers.

Payes says:

“This is why so many organizations have launched STEM initiatives for girls, including the Girl Scouts, NASA and the New York Academy of Sciences. While encouraging interest in STEM is important, what they are missing is the need to teach a growth mindset that will enable lifelong learning, instill purpose and teach the kind of grit that powers through life’s setbacks.”

Opportunities for Girls to Get involved in STEM Activities

Paynes has launched her media company Edge of Yesterday which includes this book series, a teaching curriculum and interactive website gamification modules, all designed to teach girls how to succeed in STEM and in life. (more…)

Giveaway: REAL LIFE DINNERS by Rachel Hollis

Real Life Dinners

How I Discovered Rachel Hollis

I am a new-ish fan girl of the funny, inspiring and endearing Rachel Hollis. I came across her book Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be while browsing books on Audible. The title immediately caught my attention and the cover photo of Rachel and her family made me smile. Sometimes I just have a feeling about a book that turns out to be accurate, and this time I was right: it was a book I’d like. But here’s the thing: I don’t like, I love it. And I’m now a total Rachel Hollis fan, and I love her new book, Real Life Dinners: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of the Chic Site, too.

Before listening to her first book, I didn’t know that Rachel had a popular blog and a gigantic following of dedicated women from all walks of life who are striving to be not only become the best versions of themselves (as Matthew Kelly would say), and are who are also soaking up Rachel’s no-nonsense advice about how to be the women God created them to be.

Striving to Be Better

I have had many periods in my life when I have organized my pantry, made grocery lists that perfectly coordinated with the meal plan I had for the week, actually stuck to the plan, and felt awesome about my capabilities as a wife and a mother. But, these strategies never lasted. Meal planning was always difficult for me until I discovered some simple tips for healthy meal planning. I mean, who wants to sit inside on the suggested Sunday afternoon and think about what to cook every singe day of the week ahead when they’d rather be outdoors doing anything else today? And for us homeschoolers, we not only have to cook a week’s worth of dinners, but also, breakfasts and lunches, too. Sigh. What’s a culinary-challenged girl to do?

Real Life Dinners

When the publisher of Rachel’s newest book, REAL LIFE DINNERS: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of The Chic Site, asked if I’d like to review this book, I couldn’t reply to the email fast enough. It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook, and I especially don’t love to cook under the pressure of the question that rears its ugly head every afternoon at about 4 pm: what am I going to feed my family for dinner?

Yes, I needed some “real life” dinners.


Children’s Book Giveaway: Benji & The Giant Kite

When I was contacted about this children’s picture book, I wanted to take a look at it because I love children’s literature, especially if it teaches a lesson. I think you, dear readers, will like this one, too. And now one of my lucky readers can enter to win this giveaway and add this to your own library! Just enter to win below.

From the back cover:

Benji wants to buy a giant orange kite. But it’s very expensive, so he works hard to earn the money by helping his mom in the garden. Finally, the exciting day arrives when Benji can fly his beautiful kite . . .

A picture book about making your dreams come true. For kite lovers ages 4 and up.

Every child can relate to wanting a thing so badly that they’ll do anything to obtain it. This book’s main character is no different. Benji absolutely loves kites. Kites of all kinds, sizes, colors and shapes. But when he sees this orange kite, he knows he must have it.

I really like that Benji helps his mom with the gardening chores in order to earn what he wants. You already know that I think it’s very important for young children to pitch in with chores. I also like that Benji perseveres even though he thinks the day will never come.

Another Great Message

It may surprise you to know that after all of Benji’s hard work, and after the joy of obtaining (and flying) his beautiful orange kite, he chooses to let it go. This goes against much of what our culture teaches our kids: you want something, you work hard to get it, and once you, do it’s yours to keep. Why would Benji want to give up his beautiful kite after waiting so long to obtain it? This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child their thoughts about Benji’s decision. Who says young children can’t engage in literary analysis?

About the Author

Alan C. Fox is the bestselling author of three books for adults, PEOPLE TOOLS, PEOPLE TOOLS FOR BUSINESS, and PEOPLE TOOLS FOR LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS. His two children’s books are BENJI AND THE 24 POUND BANANA SQUASH (Clavis 2017) and BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE (Clavis 2018). An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and relationships expert, Alan is also the publisher of the poetry magazine, Rattle. He founded a charity that works to maximize the potentional of youth as well as an organization that encourages young people to become active in helping others. Alan lives in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit Alan’s website:

About the Illustrator

Eefje Juijl, a graduate of the School of the Arts Utrech, creates colorful illustrations for children’s books, magazines, postcards and more. She lives in The Netherlands with her partner Philip, her son Guus, daughter Fien, and their dog Jip.

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How to Get Kids to Love Science With Mason Jar Science

mason jar science giveaway
As a homeschooling mom, I can say kids either love or hate Science. Sometimes us moms often struggle with ideas on how to keep our kids interested in science. One way that I have found that works for us, is through hands-on experiments. So, when I heard about the Mason Jar Science book, I knew I had to give it a try. Once the book made it into my house, the kids were instantly interested just by the image on the outside of the book. Now daily, the kids are trying new experiments, and I could not be more pleased.

About Mason Jar Science

The book Mason Jar Science, written by Jonathan Aldolf and consists of 40 different Science experiments for kids. These experiments cover many different areas of science so that kids can get an idea of all of the different types of science. When I say different areas, I am serious when I say the book Mason Jar Science covers a lot, Chemistry, Botany, Earth Science, Physics, and Biology are just a few of the different specialty areas that this book covers.

What Kids and Moms Love

Hours of family fun

I can say, that my daughter loved all the experiments that she has done so far. Even my boys are starting to get more interested in Mason Jar Science. One of my daughter’s most favorite experiments so far has been the “Make a Bug Vacuum” experiments. Basically, this experiment allows for kids to capture small bugs like ants in a safe environment, so they can use a magnifying glass to see the insects up close. Now, my sons have even come up with the idea that starting an ant farm would be fun. As much as that is not on my list of “wants,” it does make me happy that my kids are starting to expand their interests.

Great Visuals

The book, Mason Jar Science also has great visuals. Couple this along with the very simple to understand instructions, and both parents and kids can participate in these activities with ease. Mason Jar Science includes many images of the setup processes, and how they should look at the end. To me, this is a win-win. Although I always recommend adult supervision, some of these could be done with minimal adult supervision.

Easy Experiments that entertain kids

Along with the great visuals, these experiments are simple and straightforward. One thing that parents dread is lengthy, complicated instructions for a kids experiment. We want easy, well-written experiments and Jonathan Aldolf has hit the nail on the head with how he has written this book.

Using the Scientific Method

One of the first things kids learn in Science is the Scientific Method. Well, Mason Jar Science explains the process of the Scientific Method, and why it is so important. I enjoy hearing my kid’s questions, hypothesis, and their experimental outcomes. The joy that is on my daughter’s face, when her prediction is correct, not only boosts her confidence but also makes her want to explore more in the Science world.

Easy to obtain items

One of the best aspects from a mom’s perspective is that most of the items for experiments are things that we already have laying around the house. I am not forced to make a trip to the store with a laundry list of items. By using things that we have around the house, not only am I able to repurpose items, but I am saving time. As a homeschooling mom, my time is precious, and I would much rather spend it with the kids, versus having to go shopping for hours.

My Final Thoughts on Mason Jar Science

Overall, I would highly recommend this book for all families. I can see where my homeschooling families can incorporate these experiments into their curriculum. I can also see where public school students can learn more at home too. With public schools cutting funding for Science experiments, kids can still learn.

Have you heard of Mason Jar Science? If so, what is your favorite kid’s experiment?

Would you like to win a copy of Mason Jar Science? Comment below and let us know how you’d use it!

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Book Review: Girls With Dreams

Girls with Dreams: A Book Review
If you are the parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, teacher or mentor of a girl of any age, I encourage you to get to know Natasha Ravinand, the author of Girls With Dreams: Inspiring Girls to Code and Create in the New Generation

From the back cover:

A high school girl with a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Natasha Ravinand has dedicated most of her teen life to closing the gender gap in tech. In GIRLS WITH DREAMS, she analyzes:

  • societal biases that enlargen the gender gap in the sciences
  • obstacles in the way of stystemic change
  • solutions for a better and more inclusive tomorrow

Interviewing successful female engineers, CEOs, and industry leaders. Natasha hopes to send one message, loud and clear, to her peers of today: anyone can learn how to code and create for the betterment of tomorrow.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review, and I agreed to do this because the topic alone interested me. Once I learned more about Natasha, I was even more eager to read this book. After the first few pages, I was hooked, and you will be, too.


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