This week’s Kickstartable spoke to me on many levels. The #STEMPrincesses2 Book Project flies in the face of ridiculous political ads featuring giggling women shopping for a political candidate at a dress shop (say what?). It flies in the face of the ridiculous tshirts that say, “I only date superheroes.” It features girls in a variety of careers and exploring a variety of interests in STEM fields. Yes, that’s right. Girl scientists and mathematicians and engineers — just imagine.
I asked creator Erin Albert about this second Kickstarter project (the first book was a separate project that was successfully funded a year ago). Her passion for STEM shines through, and I’m excited to introduce my kids to this series.
1) Where did you find the inspiration for the STEM Princesses?
EA: Well, every girl loves a good princess story. However, I really wanted to introduce girls to a lot of areas of STEM education, but I also wanted through this potential book series to redefine what it means to be a princess. In my first book of this series, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM, I included a “STEM Princess Manifesto,” which talks about what a STEM princess is and what she believes in (besides herself). You can see the soul of this manifesto here . I think princesses can be strong, smart, fierce AND save themselves!
2) Where did your own passion for STEM education start? What formative experiences do you attribute to your advocacy?
EA: Well, I chose a STEM profession myself (pharmacy). As a first generation college graduate in my family, I thought it was really important to help get other girls engaged in STEM careers…and after reading the stats about girls underperforming vs. boys in STEM (at least in Indiana) I wanted to help in a way that I could, which was through writing (which I love). That, and I loved reading as a girl. I guess I was lucky in that I fell into a STEM profession, but I fully understand and appreciate that not all girls have supportive families and the opportunities I had, so I wanted to help in this way.
3) What are kids saying about the first book?
EA: Girls loved the characters, and I often ask them who their favorite princess in the first book is (as there are 20). But, interestingly, the best and most unexpected comments I received were from parents of boys who wanted to read the book. Some of the parents commented (or thanked me for writing the book) because boys can see girls in this book as smart, confident, and independent. This actually helps boys’ thinking about the other gender. I never expected this, but I love it!
4) What’s the most challenging part of your project?
EA: Getting the financial capital for the series to continue, honestly. Women-owned businesses are grossly underfunded. I actually ran the first Kickstarter campaign for the first book not to write and illustrate the book itself, but to give away copies of the book to the Indiana public library system. While I was successful with the first campaign, in order for this series to continue, I need others to back this project. I can’t solely fund the project on my own with my business. That’s why I need support — to keep this series alive and growing!
5) What’s been the most pleasant surprise?
EA: I think the impact the book has had on boys. I honestly never thought about boys when I wrote the first book, but I love that they are changing their points of view on what it means to be a princess along with the girls who read the book!
6) Anything else?
EA: Aside from my own project: please support STEM education. Get your girls AND boys in after school programs, day camps, games, other books, and engaged in areas of STEM that they might not be receiving in school. In the first book, I included a resource guide for teachers, parents and kids to engage more in STEM programs which is free to all.
I personally really don’t care what area of STEM kids enjoy; I just want to make sure they’ve met the corners of STEM, find a couple that they care about, and engage. The future of this country, technology, economic development, innovation, and advancement depend upon the next generation of innovators in STEM to move forward! (That, and I’d really love it if a girl could invent a teleporter…I’ve been waiting for one now for a long, long time!)
#STEMPrincesess2 Book Project is available to be funded through Friday, October 24, 2014.
Disclaimer: Please do not take this review or my personal endorsement of this project as investment advice. I am a lady blogger on the Internet, not an investment adviser, nor am I an angel investor myself.