“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent … not being encouraged the way they need to.”
–President Barack Obama, February 2013
The first in a series of children’s books targeting Black girls, Munson Steed’s Little Professor Skye: Favorite Things provides an opening whereby parents and educators can actively engage budding readers in a discussion about the many wonders and gifts of science, technology, mathematics and engineering by engaging in the world around them. Readers will immediately identify with the idea of annotating their “favorite” things. Initially, Skye’s list is familiar and filled with teachable moments. She loves to begin a new day. She loves brushing her teeth and washing her face. As the day progresses, Skye’s list grows to include favorites in diverse areas of interest: Skye loves to play dress up, but she also loves soccer, martial arts, riding her bicycle in the park and tea time with her stuffed animals. Soon, Skye’s interests become more complex, but still seem natural to the character. Skye conspires with “mother nature” and gardens in a greenhouse, composes her own music, and creates pottery for the home. Skye visits the library and the museum. At both locations, she notes the importance of research and fact gathering, communal intelligence and resources. She excavates a relic and works in a science lab to create a serum that will change the world.
Munson Steed and his goddaughter, Skye. Photo courtesy of DeWayne Rogers, Steed Media Group Steed is a prominent entrepreneur, motivational speaker and artist. As CEO of Steed Media Group Inc., he has steered his publication, rolling out, into national prominence as the largest African-American weekly paper in the nation.
I am excited about the potential of his series. It is our duty as a community to encourage artists to create works like this aimed at Black girls. It is a small key to one of the locks on a door that has been closed to too many for too long.