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STEM-SATIONAL NEW CHILDREN’S PUBLISHER LAUNCHING IN THE UK, MAY 2022.
On a quest to inspire a love of STEM learning through interactive play and stories.
QuestFriendz’s mission is to produce expertly designed and inclusive books that will inspire and equip the next generation to pursue STEM education and careers. In turn, reducing the STEM skills shortage and increasing female representation and ethnic diversity in STEM.
QuestFriendz was founded by computer scientist Dr Thomas Bernard and children’s author Lisa Moss, passionate advocates of sparking children’s interest in STEM from a young age. They believe the best way to do this is through interactive storytelling – developing books which feature educational challenges, or ‘quests’ embedded within engaging adventure stories, enabling children to use their 21st century learning skills of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity & communication to problem solve.
Dr Thomas Bernard, QuestFriendz comments: “The UK has a growing STEM skills gap estimated to be costing the economy £1.5 billion per year which is why we’re on a mission to create the next generation of scientists and engineers. ‘Read, Quest, Learn!’ is our motto - our books will embolden ALL children to become super problem-solvers and curious creators through STEM adventures. The UK remains one of the worst regions in Europe when it comes to encouraging women into STEM roles. Currently, only 24% of UK STEM roles are held by women with some specific STEM disciplines even lower (Engineering at 10% and Tech at 17%). And one third of parents and teachers inaccurately perceive STEM discipline as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies. We want to inspire ALL children to help build their own wooden dollhouses, not just play with them and to create technology, not just consume it.”
Launch series SuperQuesters, for children 4 – 8 years, is the only series on the market to inspire a love of STEM learning through interactive play and storytelling. The series is designed for use within the home (either independently or shared with a parent, sibling or friend) or within an education setting (either in the classroom or an after-school club).
The first title, SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun, by STEM experts Dr Thomas Bernard and Lisa Moss, illustrated by Amy Wilcox will publish 3 May 2022. In it children are invited to solve expertly-pitched STEM ‘quests’ in Questland with aspirational superhero characters, Lillicorn, Bea Bumble and Leo Zoom. Combining brilliant storytelling with interactive hands-on learning, the book features over 100 reusable stickers and a reward chart to celebrate success. 8-12 STEM skills including coding, sequencing and algorithms are developed as children complete each interactive quest and the book is carefully designed with cross-curricula learning opportunities in mind, linking with the UK computing, maths and science national curriculum.
QuestFriendz comments: “Our SuperQuesters launch series has been carefully conceived to inspire a love of STEM learning and to help change children’s perceptions about science and engineering with aspirational superhero characters key to this. 90% of children love superheroes and 90% want to solve world problems so superheroes who are scientists and engineers also act as inspirational role models, showing children that STEM is for everyone! The books are also a great screen-free way to help young children develop basic coding skills.”
SuperQuesters is pitched for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist, PJ Masks and Izzy Gizmo and will be available to both consumer and educational booksellers.
The QuestFriendz website (www.questfriendz.com) which will launch in time for British Science Week (11 – 20 March) will feature a wealth of STEM activities and resources for use in the home or school setting.
Notes for editors:
For further information on QuestFriendz visit: www.questfriendz.com @QuestFriendz
Images: QuestFriendz logo, QuestFriendz co-founders photos, SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun book jacket and product imagery can be provided upon request via firstname.lastname@example.org.
About SuperQuesters: The Case of the Stolen Sun:
“A fun, interactive book for inquisitive minds and any budding young STEM enthusiasts” Konnie Huq, author of Cookie and the Most Annoying Boy in the World
The first instalment in a unique new interactive picture book series for 4 – 8 year olds, expertly designed to develop children’s STEM skills. Think Ada Twist, Scientist meets PJ Masks with eight interactive games (‘quests’) and over 100 reusable stickers for children to enjoy. When Lilli and her best friends Leo and Bea unite to solve a challenging science problem they turn into SUPERHEROES Lillicorn, Leo Zoom and Bea Bumble and journey to a magical world full of adventure and quests. And now they need YOUR help in their mission to track down Lord Grumble and return the stolen sun to Questland before it’s too late. It’s time to Read, Quest, Learn! #SuperQuesters Written by STEM experts Dr Thomas Bernard and Lisa Moss, illustrated by Amy Wilcox, will publish 3 May 2022.
STEM Sources and Facts:
1. A group of over 150 world-leading engineers, scientists and technology giants, led by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, has called on the UK government to plug the nation’s growing STEM skills gap, which is estimated to be costing the economy £1.5bn per year. https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2021/11/engineering-and-tech-giants-join-forces-to-stem-15bn-annual-skills-gap/
2. Currently, only 24% of UK STEM roles are held by women. Updated workforce statistics to September 2020 - WISE (wisecampaign.org.uk)
3. Women in specific STEM disciplines is even lower - Engineering 10% and Tech 17%. The more traditional sciences such as physical sciences and mathematic sciences help to bring the overall number of women in UK STEM roles up to 24%. https://www.stemwomen.com/blog/2021/01/women-in-stem-percentages-of-women-in-stem-statistics
4. One third of parents and teachers inaccurately perceive STEM discipline as more closely fitting boys’ brains, personalities and hobbies From the ‘Accenture Girls in STEM 2017 report’
5. Research shows no gender difference in brain function or mathematical ability. “We see that children’s brains function similarly regardless of their gender so hopefully we can recalibrate expectations of what children can achieve in mathematics.” From the Journal of Science and Learning (November 8, 2019) ‘Gender similarities in the brain during mathematics development’ https://www.nature.com/articles/s41539-019-0057-x
6. “Society and culture likely are steering girls and young women away from math and STEM fields. Previous studies show that families spend more time with young boys in play that involves spatial cognition. Many teachers also preferentially spend more time with boys during math class, predicting later math achievement. Finally, children often pick up on cues from their parent’s expectations for math abilities.” From ‘Study Finds Brains of Girls and Boys Are Similar, Producing Equal Math Ability’ article published by Carnegie Mellon University https://www.cmu.edu/ni/news/2019/november/cantlon-equal-math-ability.html
7. 90% of children love superheroes and 90% want to solve world problems taken from the Institution of Engineering and Technology report on STEM Superheroes.