Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 24, 2021

Book Giveaway: Mimic Makers: Biomimicry Inventors Inspired by Nature by Kristen Nordstrom

Kristen Nordstrom​, M.Ed. has a new non-fiction picture book titled, Mimic Makers, illustrated by Paul Boston and published by Charlesbridge Children’s Books. It is coming out on July 13th, but is available for pre-order, now. They have agreed to send a book with one lucky winner living in the US. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Kristen, and Paul!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

MIMIC MAKERS profiles ten inventors from around the world whose investigations about nature lead to amazing inventions that help people and the planet. These innovators come from different areas of STEM expertise – biologist, chemical engineer, material science engineer, and microbio-logist to name a few, but all work in the scientific field of biomimicry.

What exactly is biomimicry? Bio means life, and mimicry means copying. When you put the two words together, you get biomimicry, the process of copying life to solve problems. Backmatter in this book includes a glossary, children’s book recommendations for further reading, and hands-on mimic maker activities.  

Who’s the best teacher for scientists, engineers, AND designers? Mother nature, of course!

When an inventor is inspired by nature for a new creation, they are practicing something called biomimicry. Meet ten real-life scientists, engineers, and designers who imitate plants and animals to create amazing new technology. An engineer shapes the nose of his train like a kingfisher’s beak. A scientist models her solar cell on the mighty leaf. Discover how we copy nature’s good ideas to solve real-world problems!

BOOK JOURNEY:

The beginning of the journey to write this book started one predawn morning when my youngest son, who was a junior in high school, sat hunched over the kitchen table looking like he had just been punched in the stomach. His father and my dear husband of twenty-three years had leukemia, and was lying in the hospital fighting for his life. From the look on my son’s pale face, the stress of trying to go to school during the day and visiting his dad every night, was starting to get to him. I asked him what was wrong (while silently gearing up to give him the same advice I gave a lot lately: Do your best and forget the rest). Instead, I got an unexpected response. 

He looked me in the eye and answered,  “AP Environmental Science.” 

Remember, we weren’t going to worry about grades, right?,” I replied.

I’m getting a good grade, but it’s the most depressing class I’ve ever taken. Some things we destroy in the environment…we never get back. They’re gone forever – animals, ancient forests, gone”  He got up in silence, packed his backpack, and was out the door before I could utter a word.  

I stood there speechless. What do you say? I felt proud of my son for allowing himself to feel his feelings.His response was courageous and appropriate. Our planet is a magnificent gem in the cosmos, and to lose one single part, is devastating. I also realized I’m not devastated enough. Thoughts ran through my head: Have we reached that point already? The point of no return. I had been telling myself the human race is getting dangerously close to irreversible environmental destruction, but we are going to figure it out. It was bad, and yes, humans have done irreparable damage, but humans are smart and resourceful. We will find solutions. We will rebuild and restore. We will come together because we realize we all live together on a tiny planet in a vast universe. And if we don’t come together then…well…at the very least…we will consider our survival. But my defenses (rationalizations, excuses?) were weak after months in a hospital room holding my husband’s hand. The story I had been telling myself felt like a story – something you tell yourself so you can get through the day. I stood in the kitchen and vowed to research this question: Is there any real science that offers hopeful possibilities for my son’s generation? If there is, I’m going to do what I can as a mother, teacher, writer, and human to dedicate myself to these possibilities. 

Weeks later, as my husband came home and began to heal, I would listen to my first talk by Janine Benyus, read her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, and hear her message  – the sustainable world exists in nature, and humans need to look to the natural world for solutions to our environmental problems.I was hooked. You had me at sustainable.

The state curriculum in life science I taught is all about exploring the structures, and investigating the functions of the plant and animal world.  Biomimicry, in its simplest expression, is the application of this understanding to useful inventions that help people and the planet. I was off and running. I wrote biomimicry curriculum and taught biomimicry courses. I even reached out to Nakatsu, Eiji, a bio-inspired bullet train designer in Japan, after one of my first grade students had a question we couldn’t find the answer to online. Little did I know, I was researching a biomimicry picture book for children until one day in my principal’s office. During a leadership meeting my principal read aloud the new Next Generation Science Standards based on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. I couldn’t believe my ears. Did she just say that embedded into the first and second grade curriculum is a biomimicry standard? I was shocked, thrilled (finally!), and ready to get busy on my first draft of a picture book. 

This summer it will be eight years since that fateful kitchen conversation with my teenage son. My husband is in full remission, my son just finished his first year of law school, and I’ve changed schools and am a founding member and full-time teacher at a STEAM public school that brings the power of hands-on science to a beautiful and diverse group of students including: bilingual learners, foster youth, children on the autism spectrum, and students from socioeconomically challenged families. With the help and support of so many people – my SCBWI (Cen-Cal) family, two amazing UCLA children’s book professors, a chance meeting with an insightful and generous science writer extraordinaire, a chance meeting (in a parking lot) that led to getting an agent, and my gifted book editor, my debut picture book, MIMIC MAKERS: BIOMIMICRY INVENTORS INSPIRED BY NATURE, brilliantly illustrated by Paul Boston, comes out July 13th. Oh…and with Janine Benyus’ positive review: “Amazing!…Love that the book features the scientists and inventors, and that there are a diverse set of them. I find that the best way to introduce people of any age to biomimicry is to tell the stories of the stars: the organisms and their biomimics!” 

KRISTEN’S BIO:

Kristen is a writer and full-time public school second grade teacher at a title one STEAM Academy in CA, which serves a beautiful and diverse group of students including: foster youth, bilingual learners, and children on the autism spectrum. She is passionate about connecting children to nature, and the wonders of STEAM through the Next Gen. Science Standards, hands-on science, and AMAZING books!

Kristen has 22 years of teaching experience and a Masters Degree in Education from Pepperdine. She has trained extensively with the Lawrence Hall of Science as a science educator, and has been awarded several grants for STEM curriculum development. She has also received two writing awards from SCBWI(Cen-Cal) for her STEM manuscripts. Kristen is a member of the Biomimicry Institute’s International Education Network, and is donating a portion of her author’s profits to the Institute’s Youth Design Challenge – a program that supports middle school and high school students to develop biomimicry-based projects that help people and our planet. She is a member for the National Science Teachers Association and the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators.

PAUL BIO:

Paul studied illustration and sequential design at Brighton University. Paul lists his inspirations as 1950’s children’s books, antique maps and diagrams, 17th Century engravings, gothic art and Japanese prints – to name just a few!

Paul creates all his artwork with his trusted ballpoint pen, which he then scans and brings to life on his computer. Paul’s fun and playful style has a wide appeal and has been commissioned across the whole spectrum of publishing including activity books, educational titles and picture books.

Kristen, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is definitely a book parents and teachers will want to buy, since it is a fun way of teaching children how we learn from nature. I am sure it will inspire children and draw them towards the field of science. The colorful illustrations Paul created and the back matter are the icing on the cake. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. […] https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2021/06/24/book-giveaway-mimic-makers-biomimicry-inventors-inspire… […]

    Like

  2. Such exciting information! I love the idea of studying and learning from nature. Congratulations, Kristin and Paul!

    I tweeted this and I follow by email. You always share such great books! Thanks, Kathy!

    Like

  3. Congratulations, Kristen and Paul. I’m thrilled for you, Kristen, that after all your hard work, dedication, and time, your book will finally get into the hands of readers (and teachers!). Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Terry!! I’m lucky to have had you as one of my professors at UCLA!!

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:
    I’m thrilled for my former UCLA student, Kristen Nordstrom, whose first picture book, MIMIC MMAKERS, is coming out July 13!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thrilled to have had such a great professor!!

      Like

  5. What an amazing story and how it came about is even more amazing. As someone who blogs about w as ys we can be kinder and more helpful to our Mothet Earth. I would live this book! I shared on FB,tweeted, and reblogged.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Darlene.

      Like

  6. This really is quite an amazing topic. Kids are going to love it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I’ve tweeted a link: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1408081123238842371 and shared an image with a link as well: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772159636452/. Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol, I’m so glad you like the topic and I hope you like the book.

      Like

  7. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    I was fascinated by the evolution of this new picture book and thought you would be too. Anything that champions the health and wellbeing of planet earth is a winner in my book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your support Darlene!

      Like

  8. This sounds like a wonderful book! Congratulations Kristen and Paul! I retweeted your post on Twitter, Kathy. Great interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kim!

      Like

  9. Wow, wow, wow! What a great story. I love that you wrote this biomimicry book and cannot wait to read it. Congratulations!! I’m tweeting this right now — this book deserves lots of readers.
    (Also a subscriber to the blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Christy! I’m a big fan of all your books.

      Like

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your story of how this book came to be. What a fascinating topic. Can’t wait to read it. So glad your husband is doing well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Carol.

      Like

  11. This topic has fascinated me for a long time – so glad to see a book for kids about this! I look forward to reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Laura. I love your bopks!

      Like

  12. Congrats, Kristen and Paul! I love a STEM PB, and this is a great topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you love STEM PB’s! I hope you enjoy the book.

      Like

  13. What a powerful story behind this book! We are having similar conversations with our son right now and have several much older biomimicry books on the shelf. Adding this to my TBR list. Thanks for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jilanne for your kind words. I’m so happy to hear you’re talking about biomimicry too! I hope you like the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What a terrific book! Can’t wait to get my hands on it. Congratulations, Kristen & Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pat!

      Like

  15. Wow, this sounds like a fascinating and important book, would love to check it out! I am similarly passionate about conservation and innovation and love how this topic weaves that together.

    Like

  16. Thank you Nora for your kind words. I’m so happy you’re passionate about conservation and innovation. I hope you like the book.

    Like

  17. Sounds terrific! Shared on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What a fascinating topic for a STEM picture book! It is extremely important to introduce children to the role science can play to make our world a better place. Congratulations, Kristen and Paul!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pamela!

      Like

  19. this looks wonderful! Loved seeing details on the artwork!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!

      Like

  20. This one looks fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David.

      Like

  21. This looks absolutely fascinating. I follow your blog by email. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rosi!

      Like

  22. Sounds fascinating for readers of any age!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ilona!

      Like

  23. We’re in love with your book. Congratulations Kristen and Paul on opening the biomimicry door. in such a remarkable way. Can’t wait to get our hands on a copy. Your Mom and Dad

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww thank you!! My biggest fans 🙂

      Like

  24. This sounds like a fascinating topic for a picture book–I can’t wait to savor it! Kudos on your long journey and all the marvelous updates. Kathy, I follow your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The story behind this book is beautiful! I can’t wait to read the book itself!

    Like

  26. Having watched this book come into being, I feel like a proud auntie. I can’t wait to hold this amazing book in my hands. Congratulations, Kristen. You’ve written a book that is going to open a whole world of possibilities to future scientists.

    Like


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