Comic books to get children interested in science

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Frontiers for Young Minds supports the Kickstarter project Ada’s Adventure in Science to empower children to be the scientists of the future.

— Hedwig Ens

“It doesn’t matter what your background, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status is; if you can ask questions, you can do science.” With these words, astrophysicist Edward Gomez introduces us to the concept behind the comic books he made together with illustrator Laura Sorvala. The aim of their current Kickstarter project Ada’s Adventure in Science is to send 20,000 of these comic books to schools all around the world, focusing on disadvantaged regions.

“You can tell a story in a very different way through comic book narrative, compared to plain text or a text with illustrations. You can make complex concepts more understandable, and the story has a longer lasting effect,” says Edward.

Besides both being comic geeks and wanting to excite kids about science, Edward and Laura realized there was another important message to convey to the young minds in our society: kids should feel empowered to both ask and answer questions, continuously throughout their whole life. How else will we train our next generation of scientists?

Edward got this realization during his outreach program Universe in a Classroom, where he always asks the pupils to draw a scientist.

“We found that young kids draw themselves doing science, but older kids draw an old, white man with crazy hair and a lab coat doing science. We try to undo this subconscious stereotyping and empower kids to be the scientists of the future.”

The comic book series therefore features Ada, a girl who isn’t afraid to ask questions about the things she both sees and cannot see.

“Ada is a girl who is curious about the Universe around her. We first meet her on the school bus telling her friends about her science heroes. She then goes to high school and day dreams about being a scientist. Finally she realizes her dream of becoming a professional scientist and being part of a major discovery.”

Although the primary audience for these comic books is school students, they have a wide appeal to a general audience, including adults, who are a just as important audience.

“Nobody should be afraid of science. I fully recognize that many people are not destined to be scientists but we desperately need a scientifically literate society. People should be able make informed decisions about the world around them; what food and clothes to buy, what is the effect of using fossil fuels, why they should recycle. We want Ada’s Adventures in Science to inspire as many people as possible to think differently about the world around them. Because we believe in inclusivity and equity these comic books are available with a creative commons license allowing anyone to freely use and distribute them.”

Frontiers for Young Minds also believes that science should be open and accessible for all, independent of age, background, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status. We wholeheartedly support and have pledged towards the Kickstarter project Ada’s Adventure in Science of Laura and Edward, and we warmly welcome Edward who recently joined the Young Minds community as an Associate Editor of Understanding Astronomy and Space Science.

Interested in promoting your research to children? See author guidelines for Frontiers for Young Minds or contact kids@frontiersin.org for additional questions and to find out how to get started!

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