Get ready for a brand new series of books which cleverly use gamification to encourage readers to apply their powers of logic and problem-solving to a series of STEM-based challenges. Questers will develop their coding skills and understanding of algorithms as they follow the interactive story, collecting stickers and rewards as they go. I can testify that my son (aged 9) really enjoyed getting stuck into the puzzles and was definitely motivated by the quest elements.
Read on below to hear what motivated the series’ creators to co-found a children’s publishers and devise this excellent series.
‘Why we were inspired to create the SuperQuester series,’ by STEM experts Lisa Moss and Dr. Thomas Bernard
We are a wife and husband team who co-founded children’s publisher QuestFriendz after the birth of our twin daughters when we realised there weren’t that many books available for young children that would encourage a love of STEM learning. We naturally raise our daughters (who are now 7 years old) with STEM built into their everyday routines but we are acutely aware of the STEM skills gap in the UK, particularly among women and ethnic minorities.
The UK remains one of the worst regions in Europe when it comes to encouraging women into STEM roles. Currently, only 24% of UK STEM roles are held by women (source: Wise). One third of parents and teachers inaccurately perceive STEM discipline as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies (source: Accenture Girls in STEM 2017 report) and even children as young as six can develop ideas that girls don’t like computer science and engineering as much as boys (source: PNAS Scientific Journal).
Our mission is to instil a love of STEM learning in all children in an inclusive, accessible and engaging way. Despite digital learning being commonplace in the home and classroom these days book are still the best medium to develop imaginative, creative learning anytime and anywhere – lying in bed, on the couch, in the garden, at the library, in class or on the move. In a world where children are exposed to screens on a daily basis, books provide a great outlet to give them a calm and focused time to learn. Our books are interactive but in a screen-free way allowing children to experience STEM learning first-hand and to promote active learning and retention of ideas and skills. Our books are designed for repeat use with elements like reusable stickers. Children can interact with them in new and creative ways each time. For example, we observed in our market research that once younger children have mastered the educational puzzles – called STEM quests – they can take on the role of teacher, explaining the story and quests to their siblings, friends or even stuffed toys, taking great pride in showing what they’ve learnt.
Immersing children in an adventure story like SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun where they get to develop STEM skills such as coding, debugging and algorithms is a great way to spark a passion for STEM from a young age and build confidence in this area.Not only do STEM skills equip children with a transferrable skillset, but they also help them to develop a love of learning and a sense of curiosity, promoting self-esteem as children learn how to problem-solve and view failure as part of the learning process.
The SuperQuesters series features aspirational yet relatable superhero characters to help change children’s perceptions about science and engineering. 90% of children love superheroes and 90% want to solve world problems so superheroes who are scientists and engineers also act as inspirational role models, showing children that STEM is for everyone.
SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun by STEM experts Dr Thomas Bernard and Lisa Moss (illustrated by Amy Willcox) publishes in paperback on 3 May from QuestFriendz. The second book in the series SuperQuesters: The Case of the Missing Memory will publish this autumn.
For fun SuperQuesters’ STEM activities visit the publisher’s website www.questfriendz.com
What are you waiting for? Get questing!
*All photographs were produced by QuestFriendz’*