SYNOPSIS: Meeting Leonardo da Vinci in person isn’t your average middle-schooler’s dream science fair project, but Charley Morton isn’t your typical eighth-grader. Charley is mad about science and math and, with her best bud Billy Vicenzo, she’s set on doing the impossible—finding da Vinci’s plans for a time machine and traveling back 500 years to meet her idol.
Robin Stevens Payes is firing up a love for science with the second book in her thrilling EDGE OF YESTERDAY science fiction series, DA VINCI’S WAY (Small Batch Books; October 2018). The books are designed to open the minds of middle-grade readers to the adventure of learning about STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) through storytelling.
STEM is the fastest-growing sector in employment—up 28 percent since 2000, compared to 6 percent in other fields, according to the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM index. In fact, America is sorely lacking in college graduates with STEM degrees. From 2014-2015 in the U.S. there were only some 30K STEM graduates for approximately 230K STEM jobs. Clearly, engaging the attention of children, especially girls and young people of color who are too often excluded from exposure to STEM, is of paramount importance.
To help America reverse that trend, Payes is creating a curriculum that will present STEM through play, discovery, character, creativity and storytelling. Her lesson plans, workshops, interactive games and novels use the vast array of popular mediums, including print, web, digital, social media and video, to take advantage of the human brain’s affinity for story.
The Edge of Yesterday series will go a step further and create an online community for teens that will:
· Promote reading for content and inspiration by opening the gateway to STEM and STEAM learning.
· Inspire curiosity, creativity and a love of learning using Leonardo da Vinci’s example of intrinsic learning.
· Encourage teens to be curious, to engage with their passions, to discover new ideas, and to tell their stories in a variety of media.
· Connect learning to life that inspires a drive to mastery.
The ultimate aim is to nurture a growth mindset, a learning foundation that will increase young people’s capacity for learning, instill purpose and help them remain motivated in the face of life’s most difficult challenges.
ROBIN STEVENS PAYES is the author of Edge of Yesterday, a serial science fiction story and interactive web platform designed to blow young minds, tap creative juices, and explore the truths our stories are telling us in IRL. She works with teens through the Maryland Writers Association teen clubs, Girls in Technology, and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.
MY THOUGHTS: I was stunned and pleased to learn that our author spent 10 years researching Da Vinci. True dedication! Hearing this makes a reader want to read. In today’s clogged YA environment, it isn’t often that one discovers a book (let alone a series!) that wants to teach, is entertaining, and worthy of reading. This book is ALL 3.
After decades of people being told it wasn’t ok to be ‘geeky’, Charley is showing girls that not only is it ok, but it is fun! In order to see kids getting interested in reading, we have to have a topic that interests them. Harry Potter comes to mind. Robin Stevens Payes has nailed the same successful formula as Ms. Rowling did with her series. I have wholeheartedly recommended this series to the two closest libraries in our area.
Although I am far (very far) from being a YA, I loved every minute of this book & it’s predecessor. Boys & girls alike will love the adventure from start to finish. I give it 5 stars!!
*I RECEIVED THE AFORMENTIONED TITLE IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
DA VINCI’S WAY
By Robin Stevens Payes
Small Batch Books; October 2018
$XX; 128 pages