What’s Write About Art and Science

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“We use math, science and code to create these amazing worlds. We use storytelling and art to bring them to life. It’s this interweaving of art and science that elevates the world to a place of wonder, a place with soul, a place we can believe in, a place where the things you imagine can become real—and a world where a girl suddenly realizes not only is she a scientist, but also an artist.” – Danielle Feinberg

        I attended an SCBWI conference in Alabama in October, met another children’s writer within an hour drive from myself, and we met up for coffee. We wanted to know more about each other and we began sharing the projects we were working on, our successes, our struggles and eventually came to the question of when our writing started.

        I reflected on how I taught high school chemistry, science summer camps, and a couple of introductory laboratory classes at a local university. I spoke of how when I taught that I had quarterly chemistry projects that implemented writing, creativity, and art. I loved these projects because the creativity allowed students to have fun and show off their unique ways.

        My new writer friend pointed out how the writing/creativity was noticeable even when I was teaching science. To think back it was my chemistry tutoring job in college that led to another tutoring job in writing. Both are in my blood.

        I remember one of my high school teachers had a science reading list. We could choose two books from the list to read throughout the year. I remember one that I read was The Hot Zone by Richard Preston (technically nonfiction thriller). Ebola fascinated and scared me to death. I wanted a science inspiring list when I taught as well and was trying to build a current list at one point, but never got around to implementing it.

        The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands would have been perfect for that list. Alchemy. Magic and science.

“This is how my Dad engages with the world: he sees magic in everyday life and uses science to explain it.” – Maria Redin says in her article, ‘The World of Art and Science (’ I too often see the magic in nature. Maria Redin brings up how she and all of us are often lead to believe it’s one or the other, function or beauty. I remember thinking the same at one point of another. Redin says, “I want every child to experience a world of ands: programming and design, painting and electrical engineering, knowledge and wonder.” I completely agree.

That’s why I love the above quote from Danielle Fienberg. It’s me. In my opinion her Ted Talk is amazing and about Pixar so it’s awesome and worth 12 minutes of your time.

        As I write my own stories I like to try to inspire exploration, innovation, and curiosity through fantasy. I appreciated authors such as middle grade author Kevin Sands who does this with Blackthorn key and Mark Alpert and his young adult novel The Six. I am on the lookout for others so please share your favorites.  I have always been a proponent of STEM, especially for girls and I think it’s time I start saying STEAM (science technology engineering arts and mathematics).


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