Strong Nonfiction: One Way to Nurture the Passions of Young Readers

Yesterday, I read a publishing blog about writing STEM steries to nurture girls to pursue their interests in STEM.  While I agree it is essential to nurture girls, I’d like to think of us nurturing all young learners.

Growing up in the 1970s, I was always encouraged to pursue my interests. My grandad was a mining engineer.  I had my own sample sack that I carried when we went on walks.  If I fancied a rock, I picked it up.  Back at home, I got a science lesson.

My father taught electronics at Ranken Technical Institute.  I helped him build a television when I was 7.  I know I was 7 because I was home from school with the chicken pox.  I helped him sort transistors and various parts and read the directions out loud to him.  That may not seem like much but let’s be real.  I was 7.

He encouraged me to do every science thing I ever wanted to do.  I built rockets.  I took chemistry and physics in school.

But I also embroidered and drew.  I read voraciously and absorbed history everywhere we went.  I remember being surprised, as an adult, the first time someone told me that girls my age had not been encouraged to study science.  The statistics back that up, but it was not my personal experience.

I was lucky.  My parents encouraged me to learn about what fascinated me.  A full range of topics were available but nothing was denied to me.  Nothing was forced on me.  Except ballet.  I do remember being coerced into take years of ballet.

Let’s definitely keep writing great STEM books.  But let’s also write great books about history.  And about the arts.  Let’s fill in the gaps and make an attempt to nurture all of our children.