Who Is a Scientist? by Laura Gehl
Isha Renta López, Jagmeet Kanwal, Marina Gillett, Jonathan Fisk, Munazza Alam, Mark Lewis, Joyce Parker, Sandeep (Bob) Datta, Nizar Ibrahim, Michelle Skoorka, Tishina Okegbe, Richard Mankin, and Tara Astigarraga are all scientists who are passionate about their work. But they are also people who are passionate about other things, from sports to playing with their pets to eating ice cream. (I share the passion for eating ice cream, and I’m guessing a lot of young readers do too!)
Science is a type of exploration. Whether working in a lab like Jagmeet or in the Sahara Desert like Nizar, scientists get to add new information to the total amount of knowledge the world possesses, and that never ceases to amaze me.
Did you know my mom literally ate my science fair project? In high school, I was studying whether the “good” bacteria in yogurt can survive the digestion process. My mom ate one of my precious samples! (Twenty-five years later, I actually ate my own daughter’s science fair project…but unlike my mom, I had permission!)
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me what I hope kids take away from reading this book. I hope readers come away from the book with an awareness that scientists are not ONLY excited about science. Scientists have other interests too—interests that many kids share, like karate and movies and art and tacos. Also, I want readers to realize that that not all scientists work in labs with chemicals while wearing white coats. Scientists work in many different places and study many different topics. And just as I hope readers see that scientists don’t fit into any one box, I hope they realize that science is not any one thing. Science is dinosaurs, and planets, and fish, and rockets, and bugs, and so much more! No matter where a reader’s interests lie, there is a scientific field waiting to welcome them. Most of all, I want young readers to come away from the book thinking, “I could be a scientist!” or “I want to be a scientist!”
Thank you, Laura!
Laura Gehl is the author of nearly a dozen picture books, board books, and early readers including And Then Another Sheep Turned Up and I Got a Chicken for My Birthday. A former science editor and reading teacher, Laura lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband and four children.