By Jennifer Perrow, originally published on Parentology July 20, 2019
Take a trip to the toy section of just about any store and you’ll notice definite gender segregation. However, a closer look reveals many of these toys are becoming more similar. The reason? STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math specialties) and the recent focus on creating a more gender-equal workforce.
STEM-related careers are typically among the highest–paid. The underrepresentation of women in these fields is a significant factor in the gender pay gap. However, enrollment in STEM degree programs continues to be dominated by men. In 2017, only 37 percent of all STEM degrees in the US were earned by women.
The Tides Are Changing
For years, it was believed the overwhelming representation of men in STEM careers was due to males having a stronger aptitude for math and science. It’s now been proven there’s virtually no gender difference in aptitude. So what’s to blame? Turns out, gender stereotyping plays a significant role.
Research shows beliefs regarding which subjects are targeted towards certain genders strongly influences an individual’s basic interests and career choices. This is especially alarming when considering these beliefs are formed as early as the age of six.
In a recent study funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), it was determined women and minorities who perform well in STEM courses in high school, choose STEM majors in college, or enter the STEM workforce after college graduation, possess a strong “science identity” that was nurtured over their lifetime.
Terrell L. Strayhorn, PhD, Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee, who led the NSF study, tells Parentology, “Women [in the study] traced their STEM career choices to early exposure to such toys and childhood play that expanded their knowledge of the world, developed their motor skills, and fostered their cognitive, emotional, and social development.”
Strayhorn continues, “My participants consistently talked about growing up with ‘cool gadgets’ or ‘techie toys’ that seemed to nurture creativity, encourage experimentation, and inspire wonder about the world and how it works. In some cases, my young, would-be scientists/engineers would break a toy, then challenge themselves to put it back together again.”
What’s to Be Done?
Historically, male-targeted toys, such as erector sets and LEGO kits, have been more STEM-focused. Even action figures have tended to be grounded in the world of science fiction. Girls, on the other hand, were being marketed Barbies, baby dolls, and tea sets.
Today, toy manufacturers have taken heed and are making changes. LEGO has introduced a line geared specifically toward girls, including their Flower Gears sets. Mattel formed a Barbie Global Advisory Council of 12 experts in STEM, culture and identity to assist with product development.
Additionally — new companies, among them GoldieBlox and STEM Girls Books — are popping up to meet the demand of STEM toys.
Have a daughter and want to make sure her future is wide open? Knock down the gender walls when shopping in the toy aisle.
By Zak Parker, originally published on Fupping April 20, 2019
Space, the final frontier, the frontier to adventure that still holds our collective imagination as adults to this day. We just don’t know what’s out there! It’s so exciting to speculate about it! If you think that’s funny for you, for a kid it would be thousand-fold funnier.
The natural sense of wonder and adventure of kids is always wildly stimulated by their imagination working out what just might be out there and how they could be the one who finds out. Put the kids to dream about the stars again with these books about space.
#2 Sophie and the Airplane by Kristi Grigsby
Sophie’s a dreamer who loves airplanes and doesn’t take no for an answer. Her adorable spunk takes young girls on a journey to discover the exciting world of aerospace!
Sophie and the Airplane is part of the STEM Girls Books series, a picture book series designed to introduce little girls (ages 3-8) to the big possibilities of science, technology, engineering and math.
Each story shows how a child’s curiosity and natural interests can lead to exciting career possibilities. At the end of each story, readers meet a role model – a professional woman succeeding in the STEM fields – who shares words of encouragement and more insight into her career.
See the full "10 Great Books About Space for Kids" on Fupping.
By Melissa Taylor, originally published on Imagination Soup January 31, 2019. Excerpt below.
I’ve been holding onto a stack of new STEM books and can’t wait to share them with you today. These will be books you can use in the classroom to introduce concepts like simple machines, matter, and more.
Zelda the Curious by Kristi Grigsby, illustrated by Brian Maikisch
Zelda is a curious girl who likes to tinker. This can sometimes be good or disastrous but it’s all part of her process. Her daily life is meant to be an introduction to mechanical engineering.
Chelsea Discovers Chemistry by Kristi Grigsby, illustrated by Kayla Irizarry
SCIENCE – CHEMISTRY
...realistic real-world problems (cookies and makeup) which Chelsea uses trial and error to solve.
Read the full list of New STEM Books for Grades K-3 on Imagination Soup.
By Lydia Rueger, originally published September 25, 2018
October, to me, is the month that fosters creativity like no other. I love seeing how parents work with their kids to turn ordinary cardboard boxes into Minecraft creepers or umbrellas and pieces of fabric into Pac-Man ghosts. There are pumpkin carvings and paintings, corn-husk-and-falling-leaf decorations galore, and art-gallery-worthy Halloween makeup everywhere you look. In honor of all the hardworking creative souls that rise each October, here are some books to inspire young creators.
#8 STEM Girls Books series by Kristi Grigsby (Sophie and the Airplane, Zelda the Curious, Chelsea Discovers Chemistry)
Read the full article and see all 32 recommended books.
Originally published on Vivify's STEM Resource Reviews for the Classroom and at Home June 19, 2018
Are you looking to add to your kid's summer reading list? Need new educational books for your classroom? Whether you will be reading to little ones, recommending books for teens, or diving into books as an adult, there are a multitude of STEM books on the market to suit any interest. We listed some of our favorite STEM books and book series below for you to read this summer or any time of the year.
Elementary STEM Book Series
View the full article on Vivify.
By Mariah Loeber, originally published on FemSTEM February 22, 2018.
Every day there is more and more encouragement on the internet and other forms of media for girls to get into STEM fields and to thrive in them. From shows on PBS, to Twitter threads and Facebook groups, and lots and lots of news stories about girls thriving in STEM in order to encourage other girls to get into STEM.
This …might be a cause of some anxiety for some parents depending on some things.
What if she’s just not interested in STEM?
The fact is, we should all be interested in STEM to some degree. Not only will some interest help us get through our schooling (if I had more of an interest in Math, it would have helped me a ton), but there’s something we need to face. STEM is in our every day lives, whether we like it or not. Without STEM there would be no computers, or smart phones, or televisions. Without STEM there wouldn’t be the plants outside, or the pets within our houses! We wouldn’t even have our homes, if you think about it! Construction takes a lot of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!
If we don’t have an interest in STEM at all, we don’t have an interest in a lot of life. Without you even realizing it, some of your interests (if not most of your interests) are going to be linked in STEM. This is also true for your daughters (and sons, of course).
Another fact: Truthfully? Though we might not have a career in it, we all are scientists.
Something to consider might be: is she not interested in STEM, or has she just not been exposed to it enough?
There’s lots of ways to expose your girls to STEM that make it fun and enjoyable for them. More and more books about STEM are coming out for younger ages, and more and more programs exist to get girls into STEM.
Here are a few for your viewing pleasure*:
#GirlsWhoCode - A national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.
STEM Girls Books - A company in development with three picture books coming out around Summer of 2017.
Women in Science the Card Game - An original, fun and educational card game that includes 44 different women for your children to learn about! Plus an expansion pack!
STEMBox - A monthly subscription box that sends science experiments to your door.
Beyond Curie Posters - A slew of posters of women scientists. Perfect for a classroom, or a bedroom!
Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code - A children’s book that hasn’t been released yet, but should come out soon!
Launch Ladies - Another children’s book (for very little ones) that will be released soon about Women in Space.
But Here’s the Bottom Line:
There should be NO PRESSURE for your child to have a career in STEM. Everyone is different, everyone has different interests, and not everyone wants to be a scientist for a living. That’s okay — of course it is. There’s been a bigger push for women to come into science lately, but that’s because there’s a lot of opportunity there and everyone should know that this is an option for them if they want to go that route.
But if they don’t — that’s of course okay.
We’re going to continue to encourage girls to be interested in STEM, but there’s no pressure.
We are honored that STEM Girls Books and our founder, Kristi Grigsby, are included in this summary of "modern day heroes" making new inventions for women.
Originally published on December 26, 2017 on YourTango.com.
By Sloane Solomon, Editor
Modern day heroes.
Female entrepreneurs are hardly a new thing. For years, women have taken their ideas out into the business world hoping to change the world one innovation at a time.
You're probably familiar with a few of them, like Yahoo's Marissa Mayer or Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg. But there are many other lesser-known women who continually bring fresh ideas to the table, especially ones that will benefit other women.
These women have ignored the status quo and obstacles presented to them and persevered regardless. They're also seeking to make our world a better, safer place for all females.
Here are some female entrepreneurs who are out to make a difference in the world with their badass inventions and rocking the business world while they're at it.
1. Kristi Grigsby
Kristi Grigsby is the author and founder of STEM Girls Books. Her company's purpose is to bring more resources to girls who are interested in math and science. Kristi is a successful marketing executive who also has a passion for children's books as well as being a mother to two young girls. She was inspired to create this company after discovering how little resources there were for young girls who were interested in STEM.
The company officially launched in January 2017 and three books have already been published. The coolest part of this invention is that it lets girls have accessibility to these learning tools at a very young age. The picture books are designed for girls starting at ages 3-8 and allow them to discover more about their curiosity towards these subjects while encouraging them to take these opportunities and careers later in their lives. Kristi is definitely making sure that the little ones dream big!
Read the full story and meet the rest of the female entrepreneurs featured at yourtango.com.
By JR Thorpe. This story originally pubished on Bustle.com November 21, 2017.
Now is the time of year when thoughts turn to gifts — but what do you get for the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) expert who has everything? Lucky for you and your STEM-lady friends, we've collected the best holiday 2017 gifts for women in STEM for this most generous of time periods, all of which fund individual artists, feminist initiatives, or STEM organizations that support women and girls as they pursue their passions. Plus, to be frank, they're really cool.
Getting girls and women interested in STEM fields when they're young, and supporting them as they begin careers and make world-changing discoveries, is seriously important. And gender parity in these fields is occurring slowly. According to research done in 2013, only 28.4 percent of all the research and development employees in science worldwide are female, and only 11 percent of all engineers in the U.S. are female. There's no reason beyond sexism and entrenched gender roles for women not to be achieving their dreams by digging up dinosaurs, sending people to the moon, creating robots or wielding test tubes — which is why it's so important to support the ones who do, and give to the organizations that work to make sure it happens. Whether it's a specific discipline or a delight in STEM in general, we've got your gift-giving covered.
6. "Sophie & The Airplane," Kristi Grigsby
STEM Girls Books produces books written and illustrated by women to encourage little girls to get interested in science and math — and one of their books, Sophie & The Airplane, is so deliciously illustrated that even adult aeronautical engineers will love to have it on their shelves.
Read the full list on Bustle.
Thank you to ABC 7 and reporter Ross DiMattei for telling our story and raising awareness of the need to encourage girls in STEM!
Story originally aired on ABC 7 June 20, 2017. Visit ABC 7 to watch the video.
Kristi Grigsby used to write stories for her daughters when they were growing up in Naples. After taking a break from her books, she was recently inspired to pick up the pen again after reading reports about little girls falling behind in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and math.
"There is nothing available to introduce STEM fields in a way that's exciting and fun to girls at this age," Grigsby said.
Recent reports show women are lagging behind men in the fields of math and science. Kristi Grigsby says the problem starts at an early age.
"STEM resources for girls are not readily available until they get to school," she said. "High schools are doing a better job of introducing these fields. Middle schools are starting to introduce these, but when you look at the research and it shows the girls at the age of six are already doubting their intelligence at times, middle school is too late."
Now, Grigsby is preparing to publish her three children's stories, all about young girls interested in a career in STEM.
"So we have 'Sophie and the Airplane' which focuses on the aerospace industry. We have 'Zelda the Curious,' which is focused on engineering. And we have 'Chelsea Discovers Chemistry,' which of course is chemistry and the sciences."
The books will also feature interviews with real women who have been successful in STEM fields over the course of their careers.
"Parents often times don't know the possibilities, so that's why we interview real women in STEM and put those interviews out there," she said. "They know that these fields are exciting and the future and they want, more than anyone, to see young girls take an interest in this and learn from their experiences. Women in the sciences are discovering cures for terrible diseases. Women in aerospace are dreaming of flying to the moon."
Sarah Kuba is the young illustrator bringing Grigsby's character, Sophie, to life.
"The character's name is Sophie, and I was interested in the book because when I was young, I remember when I went on the airplane for the first time, it was an exciting experience, and it was just magical," Kuba said. "I wanted to kind of make her look like a pilot so I gave her those aviator goggles, and she just has a very big and bright and bold personality, so I gave her very bright warm colors to make her look inviting. I think the young girls will catch on with her after seeing how bright and happy and confident she is she's not afraid to ask questions and she's very excited."
Picture books about young girls chasing their dreams is something many moms can get behind.
"When you have a child who is so interested in something that so needed in this world and knowing that they're gonna be taking care of us when we're old and I want my child to be part of it being a benefit and not a hindrance," said Nancy Jeffers.
"My hope is that these books can ignite excitement in little girls and that they will see the possibilities and see that curiosity and their creativity can lead to really exciting things and that they are not afraid to dream," Grigsby said.
Kristi Grigsby is publishing these books on her own. She doesn't have a set publishing date yet, but she hopes they will be available on Amazon by the end of the summer. They're aimed at kids ages 3 through 8.
Thanks to the Naples Daily News and reporter Laura Layden for this great article on STEM Girls Books, our mission and our team.
Story originally published in Naples Daily News, June 16, 2017
Years ago Kristi Grigsby's daughter asked her a question she struggled to answer.
"What is an engineer?" her then-little girl, Jennifer, wanted to know.
"I didn't know," Grigsby said. "I couldn't explain it to her."
Grigsby knows a lot more now — and she is making sure other parents and little girls do too through her new STEM Girls Books series. That's STEM as in science, technology, engineering and math.
Her first three picture books are expected to be out by summer's end thanks to a successful campaign on Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects.
Her 30-day campaign raised nearly $7,800, more than twice what she asked for in pledges to get her first books launched. Her campaign even caught the eye of Inc. magazine, leading it to include Grigsby on a list of "15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch Out For in 2017."
The idea for the book series came to Grigsby in January. After doing a little research, she found it takes most writers years to get their first book published. She'll have the trio of books published within seven months.
"It was a God thing," she said. "I mean it all came together. It was just too great of an idea. It couldn't have come from me."
The first books are centered around engineering, aerospace and chemistry. They'll be available in paperback and digital formats.
"I've got probably six more books waiting that could go through illustration as I get funding to put back in the business," Grigsby said.
Future subjects will include technology, biology, civil engineering and math.
The book series is designed for girls from the age of 3 to 8. Grigsby said she wishes she had them for her daughters when they were younger. Fortunately, her girls are still both interested in pursuing STEM careers after getting encouragement from their parents early on, who did some exploring of their own to better explain job opportunities in those fields to keep up their children's intrigue.
The books send this message, Grigsby said:
"It is cool to be curious. It is fun to be good at math. I can tinker with what has traditionally been known as a boy's toy and have fun with it."
Grigsby's daughter, Jennifer, is studying to be an engineer at Georgia Tech.
"There are so many girls that don't know what exciting careers are available," Grigsby said. "They still think of engineering as building bridges and that doesn't always sound so exciting to them."
The books are designed to tap into little girls' natural curiosity and talents.
"In this way we can introduce careers that they may not have otherwise considered," she said. "For example, a passion for cooking and playing 'dress up' with makeup is an ideal opportunity to introduce chemistry."
At the end of every book, a real woman working in a STEM job tells her story and gives insight into her career. More in depth interviews with women working in these fields are shared on the website for the series, which can be a valuable resource for parents and teachers alike.
As part of the Kickstarter campaign, 330 books have been claimed. Donors who pledged $45 or more will receive printed copies of all three books.
The books are self-published and will be sold on amazon.com.
Grigsby is working with three illustrators, two of them students. She's also getting assistance from her younger daughter Dayna, who has helped with marketing and promotion, but will soon head off to Georgia Tech, where she plans to study technology and entrepreneurship.
Brian Maikisch, the illustrator for "Zelda the Curious," the book on engineering, said as a father of two boys he's learned from his involvement in the book project that some STEM occupations aren't pushed as much with girls as with boys — and for no good reason.
He hopes to illustrate future books in the series.
"It has been really fun, to more or less be a kid again," he said.
Meghan Schimmel, an elementary school teacher at Seacrest Country Day School in East Naples, said what's great about the books is that they get kids thinking about STEM fields at such a young age, something her private school promotes.
"We allow our youngest learners to question how things work and how things are made, through STEM and education activities," she said. "We set up the path for our youngest learners who are naturally curious to develop a scientific inquiry process at an early age."