Date Published: Launching 12 October 2017
Famous STEM Inventors is an exciting collection of stories of young inventors and how they invented new things such as glowing paper, the surfboard, ear muffs, the television, the popsicle and more. It includes the engineering design process behind every invention to encourage children to understand the methods of inventing anything new. The book also contains prompts which inspire kids to design and create their own new gadget or useful thing.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
Writing can be a challenging business, fraught with fear and doubt on every side, especially at the beginning. Am I any good? Will I get published? Will I get good reviews? Will I sell any books? These are some of the questions constantly bugging your mind.
At first I wrote a book that agents and publishers all rejected.
I thought the hard part was getting a book accepted—having someone like my work. But this wasn’t the hard part at all. Anyone who is persistent will get that part done.
Then it dawned on me that “writing” itself was the hardest part. When I was asked by my publisher to write four books, it took me a while to put pen to paper! There it was, staring me in the face—writer's block. This phrase has become a cultural symbol—meaning everything from feeling uninspired, to being creatively distraught and incapable of producing something worthwhile. It's dramatic, to say the least.
However, I soon realized that whatever you put your mind to, always gets going. If you practice again and again, it gets easier down the line. These were the hard parts. But I survived. Being persistent is the key.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I am a fervent fan of Katy Perry and Adele. They are, for sure, the queen of pop and have spawned many catchy numbers. My favorite being “Rise” by Katy Perry. Her voice just keeps smoldering with the fire of determination that she kindles in that song.
Another favorite is: ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ by Adele—a strong, passionate song. When she sings as the song fades out, you will feel flames licking at your heels and a wave of heat rush over your skin. Adele’s voice does that to people. I marvel at strong, powerful and emotional singers.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Beta reading is a subject near and dear to my heart. Beta readers are an important part of my own writing process and it has two main stages. The first stage is my family and friends. My mother does the initial screening and suggestions while my niece and other friends get back to me with constructive criticism. The thing with family is that they don't pull any punches; they point out what you've done well and what needs modification. I’ve also learned that a professional editor is worth their weight. That’s the second stage. After the initial review I get a professional to edit and get back to me with their input.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I am doing a lot of research and reading on STEM. It’s the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. My latest book is “Make: Start Making!” by Danielle Martin and Alisha Panjwani. It is a book on STEM programs made to engage young people all over the world in Maker-inspired activities. It is led by Boston’s Museum of Science in Collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.
How did you start your writing career?
I think it was my conscience that drove me in this direction. It wasn’t always like this. After years of working in human resources, one day something happened when I arrived at my office and there was a voice inside that kept asking me, “Is this for me? Do I enjoy this corporate job? Do I want to do this my entire life?” I did not know what would follow, but I knew I had to explore my own path. I took a leap of faith and that was it.
I started by creating a series of travel adventure books for kids and found a publisher who believed in my dreams. Despite my overwhelming nervousness about leaving a stable career to take this step into the unknown, my first book sold over four thousand copies in Malaysia and Singapore.
Kids were hungry for learning and WIZKIDS CLUB was born.
A science club for children aged four to ten. This club encourages children to imagine, build and play. With the help of online videos tutorials, books, and workshops, children are caught up in the experiments, barely noticing they are learning. It is a perfect combination of learning through play.
As I became caught up in my writing work, I realized that my daughter’s playtime was spent glued to her tablet. “This is no good, use your NASA STEM leader degree to create meaningful books,” was my own call to action. I started working on STEM and created books with DIYs and activities for kids.
WIZKIDS CLUB teaches science and engineering principles, giving children an educational head start. It’s such a relief to see my daughter spend her time in creative play. This fulfilling experience is something all parents should invest in. Creating a stimulating learning environment at home for kids from an early age, can build 21st century leaders. My responsibility is to continue to inspire and keep tinkering on.
Currently I am working on a STEM storybook due to be released soon. I realized that there are kids who would rather grab a storybook and read it than get messy with hands-on activities and experiments. However, I wish to inspire them as well, with this book, to get up and get inventing…ha-ha!
This storybook features the protagonist as a maker and tinkerer. Amidst thick adversity, she resorts to her ingenuity and maker skills. The book highlights the power of creativity, which is an indomitable magic that every child is born with. Kids need to be encouraged to use it to their potential and they can come up with astounding revelations. My work strives to gear kids towards that and bring out their true potential.
About the Author
Sumita Mukherjee is a NASA STEM certified leader and children’s book author. She has been fortunate enough to travel around the globe, explore many countries and meet different people. Mysteries and adventures have been captured from there in the form of Keiko and Kenzo’s travel adventure series. These books are to inspire young readers to know and appreciate various countries, develop a love for discovery and learn about the world around them. Her series of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) books encourages kids to invent and explore, to empower themselves and see themselves as world leaders and problem solvers. Her books celebrate diversity, spark curiosity and capture children's imaginations! Sumita currently lives in Toronto with her family.
Her website, WizKids.Club was created with a vision to raise the next generation of creative leaders. WizKids.Club offers highly engaging kids activities, educational books, experiments, hands-on projects, DIYs, travel stories and engineering books perfect for children 4-12 years to spark creativity and scientific learning.
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