29 Sep 2023
 | 29 Sep 2023

Children's Books for Research-based Outreach and Science Communication Pedagogy

Chelsea N. Peters

Abstract. Academics are encouraged to integrate scientific research with the public, but methods of doing so are often transient and insubstantial. Students and future scientists also require training and exposure to the importance of public outreach and science communication within STEM fields. Here, I describe two projects that provide a template for using children's books as an efficient and impactful means of science communication. The first part describes an international research project that culminates in the writing, illustration, and distribution of a children's book. Farzana’s Journey is a children’s book based on multidisciplinary research on the pairing of the physical and human systems in coastal Bangladesh. Written, illustrated, and freely distributed in the Bengali-language, the book is a place-based tool to teach rural Bangladesh communities about the natural world and our scientific findings. Through the development and distribution of the book, we encouraged collaboration and public outreach with scientists, artists, and students concerned with enhancing educational and social opportunities in rural communities. We also ensure a physical tie to the community after the project's culmination. The book sparks children’s curiosity in the local environment, while also demonstrating a means for sustainable educational outreach with impoverished, remote communities. The second part of the paper provides an overview of how this type of science communication can be taught to early career scientists. Students in an intensive learning undergraduate course produce children's books about a scientific concept or process. I describe the curricular context and layout of the course, the assessment of deliverables, and the impacts of the science storytelling process as a model for teaching communication literacy. Together, these efforts demonstrate the potential impact of children's books on science communication efforts among students, early career scientists, and local communities.

Chelsea N. Peters

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1339', Victoria Coules, 16 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1339', Jeff Liston, 06 Nov 2023

Chelsea N. Peters


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Short summary
In this paper, I describe two projects that use children's books as science communication tools. The first project is the writing, illustration, translation, and distribution of a children's book that describes the environment of coastal Bangladesh. The second project is an undergraduate course that requires students to produce a children's book on a scientific topic. Both projects demonstrate the potential impact of children's books on students, scientists, and local communities.