October 12, 2022
Data shows that 83.4% of children’s books are about white characters, animals and things. Without access to books that reflect their own identities and experiences, children from underrepresented communities may not have the opportunities or resources to realize their full potential and make their dreams a reality.
Today, Room to Read is excited to share our newest collection of children’s books, created to inspire children from groups underrepresented in Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) fields about the wide variety of groundbreaking and exciting STEAM careers they can start exploring right now.
Available in Spanish and English, the STEAM-Powered Careers Book Collection presents 10 titles that each explore a different STEAM career, with topics covering the fields of data science, engineering, gastroenterology, marine biology, nanotechnology, occupational therapy, oncology, polar science, surgery and virtual reality. The book collection was created in collaboration with scientists, staff and faculty from the University of Southern California (USC) and features interviews with working USC scientists, many of whom come from backgrounds underrepresented in STEAM.
Books follow a trio of diverse characters — Mia, Cora and Jae — who explore the history, present and future of each field and provide a day-in-the-life look at real-life scientists and so that readers can understand their path to a STEAM career. Alongside each title in the collection, Room to Read has created hands-on lesson plans and engaging video episodes aligned with national curriculum standards for educators and parents to use as a learning resource in the classroom or at home.
In the coming months, 180,000 books (18,000 sets) will be distributed to historically underserved communities in the United States, starting in Southern California. Room to Read is grateful to collaborate with USC’s educational programs that directly serve the community to distribute 90,000 books (9,000 sets) to 8,600 children who face economic and educational inequalities in the Los Angeles area.
We were thrilled to co-host the inaugural distribution event for the STEAM-Powered Careers Book Collection last week, together with the Joint Educational Project at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. The event marked the first of seven school assemblies in the Los Angeles Unified School District through which students will receive books. Last week’s event featured a read aloud and remarks from Room to Read global board member and Tatcha Founder Vicky Tsai, whose partnership supports the publication of these special books.
In just one morning, more than 500 students received a full set of 10 books, featuring diverse characters and engaging content that will inspire them to dream big and pursue a career in STEAM. We look forward to continuing the distribution of our STEAM-Powered Careers Book Collection and encourage you to dive into the books on Literacy Cloud.