Dr. Diane's Adventures in Learning

Science is for Everyone -- Adventures in Learning with Author Shelli R. Johannes

October 05, 2022 Dr Diane Jackson Schnoor Season 1 Episode 10
Dr. Diane's Adventures in Learning
Science is for Everyone -- Adventures in Learning with Author Shelli R. Johannes
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Show Notes Transcript

Ever have a 10 year old girl tell you science is for boys? In this conversation, Dr. Diane and author Shelli R. Johannes (Cece Loves Science series; Penny the Engineering Tail of the Fourth Little Pig; Theo Thesaurus) explore the importance of encouraging a love of science for everyone, as well as strategies for connecting science, books, and hands-on activities. Full show notes.

[00:46] Before Cece Loves Science , Shelli was writing young adult thrillers. She tells the story about how her 10 year old daughter, who had always loved science, suddenly came home and said the dreaded line "science is for boys."  To support the premise science is for EVERYONE, Shelli and Kimberly Derting  created the ...Loves Science series. Cece loves biology and zoology, Libby loves chemistry, and Vivi loves marine biology and oceanography.

[03:48]  Cece Loves Science, I Can Read books offer cross-over appeal for transitional readers. We discuss the impact editor Victoria Duncan and  illustrators Vashti Harrison and  Joelle Murray have had on the series. 

[06:59] Shelli discusses ways the Loves Science books include solid vocabulary, experiments to try at home, and connections to the national science standards. 

[08:03]  Shelli shares strategies for selling the concept of science to kids from kindergarten to middle school.

[09:30] We explore Shelli's adventures in learning, including her first book in fourth grade about a cookie who discovered nutrition.

[13:53] Earthworms, Frogs, and Baby Squirrels -- Shelli's Early Science Encounters

[16:29] Engineering Pigs, STEM, and Princesses Who Can Solve Their Own Problems
What prompted Shelli and Kim  to write Penny. The Engineering Tail of the Fourth Pig, and how do we go beyond ever after to infuse science into what happens next?

[20:49] Dinosaurs In Love With Long Words -  the real life inspiration for  Theo Thesaurus and Theo Thesaurus and the Perfect Pet. 

[22:48] Building Connections Between STEM and Imagination for Critical Thinking

[24:15]Shelli's STEM-spirations -- Picture Books that Inspire Her

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Read the full show notes, visit the website, and check out my on-demand virtual course. Continue the adventure at LinkedIn or Instagram.
*Disclosure: I am a Bookshop.org. affiliate.

S1 E 10: Science is For Everyone
Guest: Shelli R. Johannes Host: Dr Diane Jackson Schnoor

[00:01] Dr Diane: Wonder, curiosity, connection. Where will your adventures take you? I'm Dr Diane, and thank you for joining me on today's episode of Adventures In Learning. So, welcome to this edition of the Adventures In Learning podcast. I am super excited to welcome author Shelli R. Johannes with us today. You may know her from the fabulous Love Science series. You may also know her from young adult books or the fabulous Theo Theosaurus. So, Shelli, welcome to the show.

[00:33] Shelli: Hi, thank you so much for having me.

[00:35] Dr Diane: So Shelli, I want to start with your STEM/STEAM books because that's sort of where my passion and interest has been. What prompted you to write Cece Loves Science?

[00:46] Shelli: Yeah, I mean, it was a crazy story because I was actually writing young adult thrillers at the time. And Kim Derting, who is the co author of that series, she is one of my best friends, so we talk every day. I shouldn't say one of my best friends, she probably is my best friend, but we talk every day and we're critique partners. And one day my daughter, when she was younger, maybe about ten, she had always loved science within the science club, loved science camps while girls were off kind of playing and putting on makeup. She was always in the yard with earthworms and saving earthworms. And one day I was like, are you excited about going to science camp this week? And she said no. I don't know. I think science is for boys. And that moment, I'll never forget that moment because my husband has a PhD in topography and a degree in geology, and I do a lot of conservation work with animals at the Atlanta Zoo and with the Dolphin Project and some other local animal conservation groups. And so we couldn't figure out where that came from because we were a science loving family. I know teachers didn't say that. She had always gone to science camp. It kind of scared me that that kind of message could get so deeply ingrained in someone, but as apparently I didn't know where it came from. And so I thought to myself, why am I getting her books about being fancy and about wearing pink, but I'm not getting her any books about science? And so I kind of thought maybe I'll do a Fancy Nancy for science. And that's kind of how it started. And when I talked to Kim about it, she was like, that's so weird. My daughter said the same thing about the same age, and she was also writing thrillers at the time. And we were like, do we want to write this book together? And so that was just kind of how it evolved.

[02:42] Dr Diane: Yeah, well, and I ran into that with my own daughters, and they were probably about nine or ten and had been total science girls, LEGO clubs, all of that. And there's some strange phenomenon where suddenly they think I'm not good in science.

[02:57] Shelli: Yeah. And where does that come from? Because I know it's not we just couldn't figure out I don't remember her watching any shows at the time. She was getting out of, like, that Diego phase, which was very animal and kind of science oriented. So I couldn't even figure out where that message was coming from, how she was even seeing that, and she didn't know. So that was kind of what prompted us to, I guess, write something about it.

[03:26] Dr Diane: Well, and I know there are now at least three characters in the series, is that right?

[03:30] Shelli: Yeah. There's Cece, Libby, and Vivi.

[03:33] Dr Diane: And they each have their own brand of science. Is that correct?

[03:37] Shelli: Yes. Cece’s biology, zoology. Libby is chemistry and Vivi is marine biology, oceanography, that kind of thing.

[03:48] Dr Diane: That's really exciting. I know one of the things that drew me to the books originally is I work with librarians and teachers through UVA and had noticed there aren't a lot of diverse transitional readers and was trying to broaden their spectrum. And when I discovered the Cece Loves Science, I Can Read books, I was so excited because I thought, this book is representational, all kids can see themselves in it, and it's really giving a great message on a readable level. And I thought that was really powerful. What prompted you guys to have sort of the match of the picture book and the early readers?

[04:25] Shelli: Yeah, well, I think that having Vashti Harrison come on board from the very beginning, before her Bold Little Leaders came out, really added, like, a dimension to that book. And I love that the book is a diverse science book, but it's not issue driven. It's just people who love science, girls who love science, boys who love science. And so we thought that was a great kind of layer that we weren't expecting at the very beginning. So when Vashti wasn't able to continue with the series, we really worked with our editor to try and find another diverse artist in Joelle Murray, who could match that series and really take it to the next level. So really, I Can Read, Virginia Duncan is our editor at Greenwillow and we love her, and she's been a huge advocate of this series. And oddly enough, when our book was on sub, her daughter had said, her daughter is the exact same age as mine, had said the exact same thing. And so it just happens that when they came across her desk and they had kind of said the story of how we wrote that book, she was like, oh, my gosh, my daughter said the same thing. So Virginia is also over the Amelia Bedelia I Can Read. And the chapter books. And so she kind of felt, well, let's make sure we're hitting all levels. So as girls are aging up or as boys are aging up, as little scientists are aging up, that they can follow and just remember that science is important and I think that's important because there's some place in school, and I don't know if it's 4th, 5th, or if it's going into 6th, where science becomes a subject.

[06:06] Dr Diane: Right.

[06:07] Shelli: And I kind of feel like that's where something starts to break down, where it becomes about a subject and a study, and you lose kind of perspective that science is all around us and it's fun and it's experimental, and you kind of start putting grades on it. And so I think people are like, I'm not good at science that didn't get an A on that project. And so she's been really good, Virginia has, about really aging that up to make sure that those kids continue. I'm hoping we'll go into chapter books and continue the series to age up with that.

[06:35] Dr Diane: That's exciting. And I love the fact that you include real science vocabulary. I was thinking about push and pull and the sink and float one. I love the fact that there's always an experiment. And I know as an educator, I'm always trying to link STEM and STEAM back to children's literature because I think the two pair so beautifully. And why wouldn't you connect a book and connect that joy of reading into the hands on experiences?

[06:59] Shelli: And something that was really important to us was including experiments that were safe and easy to where you could do them at school or you could do them at home, and they weren't like, super messy, they weren't dangerous. You didn't have to get any type of borax. There wasn't anything that would keep would prevent a child from doing the experiment. And Virginia has always been really good about pushing the national science standards. And so, in fact, we're just doing another I Can Read now. And she's like, okay, what are we going to hit this time? And we're kind of thinking, okay, oil and water, freeze and melt, like, what are states of matter? But we always look through the national science standard and try to focus on something that we know is going to be somewhere K to five, so that it's really something that they can use not only from a literacy perspective in the classroom, but also from a science perspective.

[07:52] Dr Diane: that makes a lot of sense. And I'm sure you do a lot of classroom visits around the country.

[07:58] Shelli: Yes.

[07:58] Dr Diane: Have you noticed that older children are also responding to your picture books?

[08:03] Shelli: Yeah. In fact, there's sometimes where I'll go into kindergarten and they'll say, we're going to have you do like K to two. We'll have you read the book and then do some science pieces. But then for our fourth and fifth graders, we'll have you come in and talk more about writing. And I always ask when I go into the fourth and fifth graders, okay, who knows Cece Loves Science? If you haven't heard about it, it's a girl who loves science. And someone will always say, are you going to read it? And usually that is not part of my fourth and fifth classroom because they're older, and I always end up reading the book because kids just never get too old to read to, and they love it. And so even though it's a picture book, they'll love it, whether I read a picture book or I Can Read. And they're beyond that level in reading, but they still love it.

[08:50] Dr Diane: I think one of the things that we forget about as adults is that picture books are so packed with meaning, and when you take the words, you take the pictures, there's always more you can find. And I think that once you get through the I can read, you think I'm too old for picture books, but really, that's the age where you should be reading them, because there's so much more to grab.

[09:10] Shelli: Yeah, so I really try to keep going. I really hope the series continues to age up, because I really do love that idea of making sure that kids are constantly seeing science as fun, as engaging, as experimental, and that it's just all around us and it's not just a subject in school as they start getting older.

[09:30] Dr Diane: Absolutely. So I know that you didn't start off writing the Cece books, and you said you were in YA before that. Can you describe your adventure in learning? Like, how did you get to where you are today as an author of children's books?

[09:44] Shelli: Oh, gosh, I've always loved to read. I mean, I was a voracious reader. The Laura Ingalls Wilder series, the Bobsey Twins. Nancy, gosh. who else? Pippi Longstocking is one of my favorite characters of all time. So I've always been a big reader, and I've always written on the side. But I think when I was younger, I didn't really know that writing could be a career. So I do remember in fourth grade, in fourth grade, my grandfather had passed away and my teacher, Mrs. Crawford, had encouraged me to enter an essay contest that was for the state, and it was about nutrition, and you were supposed to write an essay about why nutrition was important. And instead of writing an essay, I wrote a picture book that was How To Be a Smart Cookie, and I did all the pictures myself, and it was about a cookie who was learning how to eat right and was learning about nutrition, and I won. And so I remember that as part of just realizing, wow, everyone else did essays and I did a book, and I actually kind of stood out. But somewhere along the line, I got a little bit lost. So I went into marketing and really started focusing on business writing until my daughter was born. And I had six months off of the bank where I was working as an SVP, and I just started writing again. I guess I had the time and the space and the energy and just the creativity. I was like, if I can create a baby, I can create a book.

[11:16] Dr Diane: Absolutely.

[11:17] Shelli: So that was kind of how I got back into it, and then I just got bit by the bug. I always say she sat on something inside of me.

[11:25] Dr Diane: And I think all of our experiences do add up and shape who we are as humans, as writers, in terms of our career, all of that.

[11:34] Shelli: But I always say that to kids at school because I'm like, you don't have to know what you want to be. You just need to know what you love. Like, find what you love. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to know what you want to be. Because I always loved reading and writing, but I didn't know I wanted to be a writer until later. And I still am a marketing copywriter. I still do that on the side, freelance. And it's writing, so it's business writing, so it kind of keeps me fresh. Like, I kind of stayed in writing somehow but didn't really realize it. And that as long as you follow what you love, you'll come to who you're supposed to be.

[12:06] Dr Diane: We're going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we'll hear more from children's book author Shelli R. Johannes. 

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[13:26] Dr Diane: Welcome back to the Adventures In Learning podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Diane, and we are exploring all the ways that science is for everybody with popular children's book author Shelli R. Johannes. So you were saying that you do conservation work with animals and with the dolphin project. It sounds to me like you have always loved science. Do you remember a time when science first entered your life or how you got bit by that bug?

[13:53] Shelli: I grew up in Florida, and we were always outside. I mean, we had a pool. We were always catching frogs out of the saving fogs out of the pool, saving raccoons out of the pool, saving snakes out of the pool. I remember when I was probably in like first or second grade, I found my cat had adopted these baby squirrels, and I was convinced that I was going to raise these squirrels. And so I was trying to take care of these squirrels, and they were nursing on my cat, who could not nurse at all, and I put them in a box, and my mom ended up finding out about them and took them to the vet. I just remember all those things. I've always been one to pick up an animal on the side of the street. I met my husband at the Atlanta Zoo, where we volunteered for several years. And so it's just always been a part of my life. I think it's a lot of animals and just experimenting and just kind of being aware of the world around me. But I think a lot of that was just because we didn't have TV, and my parents were like, go outside and then come back in when it gets dark.

[14:59] Dr Diane: That sounds like my childhood time.

[15:01] Shelli: Yeah.

[15:02] Dr Diane: Yeah. They would release us, send us out into the wild, and say, be home for dinner.

[15:08] Shelli: Yeah. And I think kids are missing that today because they're inside and they're on their computers. And I love technology, but sometimes when I go into schools, I'll say, okay, who in here loves science? And I would say, there's always the ones that shoot up, and then there's always the ones that are like, I guess I better raise my hand because she's going to say something. I'm like, don't raise your hand if you don't love science. And so they'll kind of put them back down, and I'll kind of go through, all right, who loves to cook? And some people raise your hand. I'm like, that's chemistry. And then I'll say, who loves to play outside? Raise your hand. Okay, that's botany. Biology. Who loves space? That's astronomy. And then I'll kind of get down to it, and I'll say, okay, there's always a few kids who are just like, there's nothing she's going to say that I like sitting back. And I'll say, okay, who loves computer games? And they'll raise her hand. I'll be like, that's computer science. So everyone in here has said that they love science. And I think people just forget what science is. And I was always a part of that when I was younger, animals and science and outside and baking. And so I think I just grew up knowing that that was science.

[16:19] Dr Diane: I think that makes a lot of sense now. You have a wonderful new book out, Penny. The Engineering Tail of the Fourth Pig. What prompted you to write that one? Can you tell us a little bit about that story?

[16:29] Shelli: Yeah, so that's also co authored by Kim, and we really wanted to push the envelope on STEM and kind of push against some of the stereotypes that are out there. So we were kind of thinking about fairy tales and how could we take a fairy tale, like, what happens after the fairy tale when someone has the happy ending or it ends, and then what happens? And could we roll science into that? So we kind of came up with this idea of, I wonder if we could do fairy tale like STEM series. Like, how could we take STEM and put it and so we kind of were looking through some of those fairy tales and some of those stories and came across the three pigs. And we were like, okay, there are three pigs. The three little pigs, usually boys, right? That's how they're represented. What if they had a younger sister? What if they had an older sister? Where is that? All the pigs there are, like, who's in their family? And so we kind of came up with Penny, who just loved being an engineer, loved building things, and that once their houses blew down, they called her to come in and save the day and try to help them rebuild. So that was how we moved over into, okay, let's do Penny like the fourth pig and make her an engineer.

[17:50] Dr Diane: I love that concept. One of the things I do with teachers is I do a workshop called Beyond Ever After. And we're focused on how do you take diverse folk or fairy tales and connect them to STEM and STEAM.

[18:04] Shelli: Yes.

[18:04] Dr Diane: And so I've always loved the three pigs because you can go beyond the house building to really how do you problem solve? How do you create a structure that's going to withstand the wolf? David Wiesner has his Three Pigs where they fly right out of the book. How do you build a stronger paper airplane? Then you can talk about lift and all of that. But I'm so excited to add Penny to the canon of books that I get to introduce the teachers.

[18:29] Shelli: Yeah, we love Andrea Beaty's books. And so we wanted to stay in that STEM space, but we wanted to make it more applicable, like something that kids could actually do, because her books are lovely and delicious and the rhyming is amazing, and all of her characters are so robust. And so we were like, how can we hit this STEM space when Andrea Beaty is completely owning that space with Ada Twist and Rosie Revere, but make it a little bit more applicable? And so this kind of has those ideas in it as well. To experiment with simple machines and levers and pulleys.

[19:10] Dr Diane: It's a neat entry into the space. I really liked it.

[19:14] Shelli: And I like that beyond ever after, it's really beyond happily ever after, like these princesses and kind of these characters. What happens later? Maybe it's not that they go off with the prince. Maybe Snow White — we had an idea, like, in our series, we have a Snow White and Math kind of concept that we're trying to talk to our editor about. Maybe there's something beyond, like, the witch and the apple. Maybe she starts her own apple business with the seven dwarves. And it's about math. So it's kind of like, what is next? What don't we see on the page?

[19:47] Dr Diane: I like that. You can make apple muffins and you could be counting all the different muffins and do the chemistry.

[19:51] Shelli: Right and dividing like you have seven people you're making an apple pie for. So how do you divide your recipe?

[19:58] Dr Diane: Absolutely.

[19:59] Shelli: I think there's a lot of fun stuff there that we could kind of get into.

[20:03] Dr Diane: And I love the notion of going beyond what's on the page because I think that that's part of the storytelling with the kids too is getting them engaged in what happens next and they come up with some great endings.

[20:16] Shelli: And also just realizing, especially like, on the Princess ones, that it doesn't end with happily ever after with the boy. What could the girl do next that's different and independent? And so it's just kind of building off of those stories that are already there to just show them that there is science there. It's not a fairy tale. It's not a happily ever after. It's a life. And there is science there that someone uses.

[20:40] Dr Diane: I'm excited for those. That sounds amazing. So what prompted Theo Thesaurus? And will there be another book in the series?

[20:49] Shelli: Well, there's two out now, so I had a second one that just came out. Most of my ideas, I think, comes from my kids. So Theo came about because I was cooking one day, which is rare for me. And my son was in the back and he was probably, like 5th or 6th grade, just getting to the point where he was writing papers and trying to impress teachers. And he kind of yelled from the back room as I was cooking what's a big word for happy. And I was like, ecstatic. And he was like, what? Because I'm in the front. Because heaven forbid if we went into the same room, right? We're all yelling through the house. I walked in the same room and had a conversation. My husband was always like, Why don't you just go back there?

[21:35] Dr Diane: It never happens that way, ever.

[21:38] Shelli: So we're yelling back and forth, I'm cooking. He's like, what? I'm like ecstatic. He's like, what? I'm like, look at a thesaurus. And he's like, oh, what? I'm like a thesaurus. And he's like, what? I'm like a thesaurus. Like the saurus, as in the dinosaur. Like, you know what a thesaurus is. And then I thought, Wait a minute, that would be so cute. What if there was a dinosaur that loved big words? I was like, that's been done. And so I left the food probably to burn at that point and went over and immediately Googled, as a writer would do oh, my God, is there a book out there that's a dinosaur who loves big words? And there wasn't. And so I sat down that night and kind of wrote my first draft just about a dinosaur who loved big words but was going to a new school, and no one understood a word he said. And he just felt very misunderstood. No one could understand them. There was constant miscommunication until the end. And he kind of realizes that sometimes you don't need words. So that was kind of where that came from.

[22:32] Dr Diane: I love that. How would you build connections then, with kids between the worlds of imagination and STEM in terms of helping them to continue to develop collaboration, critical thinking, creative problem solving, that kind of thing?

[22:48] Shelli: I mean, I think through experiments. That's why we really put those in the book, is experimenting gives you first of all, it gives you that critical thinking, right? It gives you that thought process that is kind of out of the box, like what would happen if… But I think what it also does is it shows kids that it's okay to make mistakes. That's what science is. Science is all about making mistakes, experimenting, doing things wrong, doing things different. And I think that's kind of what we really like to focus on, is it's not about doing things right all the time and perfect. It's about testing it and experimenting and getting it wrong and getting it wrong and getting it wrong until you get it right. And that's what science is. It's all about getting it wrong until you finally get it right. That critical thinking, I think, is great at that age because they start to get to a point where it's about the grade and what's right. And even my son with the thesaurus, like, how is he going to get the best grade? He thinks big words are going to do that. And some of the words he would use at the time, I was like, no, I'm not sure that word what means what you think it means exactly, in that context. But it's really about the critical thinking around that and trying to get across what he wants to get across with the right words in the right way. And the same thing with science, like figuring out what the answer is by not getting the answers.

[24:13] Dr Diane: That makes a lot of sense to me.

[24:15] Shelli: Yeah.

[24:15] Dr Diane: So are there STEM based picture books or authors that ignite your imagination, other people's work that you love?

[24:22] Shelli: Yeah. Well, I mentioned Andrea Beaty. She's a big one, obviously. She kind of paved the way for those STEM books. Mary Had a Little Lab — I think is an adorable book for STEM. Josh Funk has a book out, How to Code a Sandcastle, which I think is adorable.

[24:42] Dr Diane: It is.

[24:42] Shelli: So I love now that it's kind of expanding a little bit, you start to see more STEM books coming out, kind of investigating different areas. 7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar, adorable, that’s math. So I think there are so many fun ways that you can put STEM or STEAM into these books that make it fun but still, like, they're learning without knowing they're learning. Right?

[25:11] Dr Diane: Exactly. And I think that's part of the fun of learning is when we can make it playful, then they're learning without it being painful.

[25:18] Shelli: Yeah. And there's also Shanda McClosky’s book, Doll-E 1.0, she talks about drones, and that's also technology. So I don't know. I love these books that are coming out that are kind of focusing on the different areas and different ways that we can get these STEAM concepts across.

[25:37] Dr Diane: We're going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we'll hear more from children's book author Shelli R. Johannes. 

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[26:51] Dr Diane: Welcome back to the Adventures In Learning podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Diane, and we are exploring all the ways that science is for everybody with popular children's book author Shelli R. Johannes.

[27:09] Shelli: I keep looking out the window because there's a hummingbird that's like, swirling around. So I'm just like, oh, he's back. Is it the same one?

[27:19] Dr Diane: I love it. So what are you currently working on?

[27:23] Shelli: Currently I've just transitioned agents, so I haven't really been writing much this summer, but currently I just finished I'm very excited to be a part of Chelsea Clinton's She Persisted series. So I just finished a chapter book on Florence Nightingale, which I'm really excited about that comes out in March. Florence Nightingale is an amazing woman, and so that's kind of what I just turned in. And then a lot of our Love Science books are going into paperback next year, which I'm excited about. Libby's going into paperback in the spring, and then Vivi is going into paperback towards the summer, which I think is really good because sometimes these hard picture books are so expensive for schools that I just love having, like, that paperback option for kids, especially when I go to schools they can get that I can read. That's like $5. And then some of the teachers can get the nice hardback so it stays nice in their room. So that's exciting too. But other than that, we've got a couple more Cece Loves Sciences coming out and then Kim and I, I don't even think it's been announced yet, but we just sold a kind of STEM chapter book series that has to do with a girl who lives on a sustainable farm.

[28:40] Dr Diane: Oh, wow.

[28:42] Shelli: That's probably all I can say about it. So it hasn't quite been announced yet. So that's going to take us for the next few years. So taking that STEM and kind of those concepts up into chapter books is kind of where I would love to go next.

[28:53] Dr Diane: That's really exciting. So what currently brings you Joy?

[28:58] Shelli: Oh, gosh, seeing my daughter who comes home from college. I'm sure you're going through that too. What brings me joy? Just quiet. I think that everything has been so busy and voices, negative and positive, have been so loud that I really am just kind of enjoying the quiet after being at home for a couple of years in the pandemic with everyone around and a lot of external noise. Just writing and quiet. That's really what's bringing me joy right now and just seeing my kids kind of who they're becoming. My son's 15. My daughter just went off to UNG, so she's 18 and she's studying to be a vet now, so luckily we got her back, yeah, science came back. So she's studying to be a vet. She's in biology. So just family, I guess, and health and that’s kind a boring answer.

[29:58] Dr Diane: It's not a boring answer at all. What makes you hopeful for the future?

[30:04] Shelli: This generation of kids. Just watching my kids and the things that they know about, even when I go into schools, it amazes me. I was not having that critical thinking at that age. I just don't remember having that. I remember just kind of thinking about what I was wearing and was I going to get a Popsicle. At the end of the day, I don't remember having the conversations that we've had in our house, especially at younger ages.

[30:34] Dr Diane: Right.

[30:34] Shelli: They're just so much more like, on one hand, this kind of social media technology thing, you just want to take it away sometimes. Just please, I just want to go back. But then on the other hand, they know so much and they're so much aware of the world around them. They're smarter than me. This generation coming up is smarter than us. And so I'm really excited and hopeful that this generation, as my daughter's voting as my son's coming up, that they're really going to be the ones that kind of get us back on track and change the world for a better place.

[31:06] Dr Diane: I keep hoping the same thing as I look at them. You're right. They do know more than we knew and for better or for worse. But I think they also understand that kindness is an action verb and that it matters. And they're certainly more aware of the people around them than I think that I was at their age. And I truly appreciate that.

[31:28] Shelli: Yeah. And actually, they're smarter than I am. It's not, like, smarter than I was at.

[31:33] Dr Diane: I agree.

[31:34] Shelli: There's some of the things that come out. I'm like, okay. And they're like, do you not know about this? No, of course I know as I’m Googling on the side.

[31:41] Dr Diane: There have been things that my 19 year old now 20 year old says that I kind of have to Google and go, oh, okay, now I'm with you.

[31:48] Shelli: Yeah. They know more than I know, so I'm excited about that.

[31:55] Dr Diane: All right, so the last question. In your varied adventures in learning, if you were to give advice to a child now who thought they wanted to grow up to be a writer, what would you tell them to do?

[32:07] Shelli: I would tell them that whatever they want to do, to just do what they love, because I really want kids to follow their passions. It doesn't matter to me if it's the poor writer that we are on the side. It doesn't matter to me if it's a rocket scientist or a neurologist. I think my son came home at one point, and there was a project where they had to pick what they wanted to be, and then they had a budget, and he chose a writer, and he got, like, the lowest budget ever, and he's like, all my friends chose, like, neuroscientists, and they have these big salaries, and he's like, I have no money for anything. So we kind of had this talk, and I thought, you know, just so you know, I made a lot of money at the bank. I made a lot of money in marketing, in corporate America. I wasn't happy. I'm happier now, and I don't make much money as a writer. It's something that I do on the side, but it fills my heart. And if you can find something that fills your heart and put your whole heart and soul into it, the money will come, the positions will come, but you will be happy whether it comes or not. And that's kind of what I really try to push for them. And he was, like, scraping by on this budget. He's like, I bought a car for $100, and I could barely get an apartment. How much did they give you? And he's like, I don't know, like, 35,000 a year. And these neurologists got, like, 150 grand a year. I should have picked kind of, like, in life that old yes. Where you're like, please don't let me get the writer. Please don't let me get the teacher.

[33:43] Dr Diane: Right. I played Life recently, and I was shaking my head at the whole thing because it's like, whatever career. And then you get paid for having more kids, and I wanted to go, Wait a minute. Do you not realize how expensive you guys are?

[33:56] Shelli: Right? You don't get more money driving kids. You lose money.

[34:00] Dr Diane: Yeah. It's a very unrealistic game.

[34:02] Shelli: Yes. And you're always trying to get like you're like, please let me get the doctor card with the mansion. Exactly. Yeah.

[34:08] Dr Diane: But you're right. I think follow your dream and seek your passion, and it does come.

[34:13] Shelli: Yeah. No matter what it is. And it could be sometimes all parents will come and talk to you and be like, you know, my son loves trains. Like, what's he going to do with trains? I'm like, just be glad he loves something, because a lot of kids never find what they love. And I think if you can find what you love and what you're passionate about, then no matter what, you'll always have some kind of drive to do that or be involved in that. I'm more worried about the kids who don't love something. Those are the ones that makes me more sad. Then I'm not worried about the kids who love something, even though it seems wacky do. It's something that they can put their heart into.

[34:52] Dr Diane: Exactly. Well, Shelli, it has been such a joy to have you on the Adventures In Learning podcast. Thank you for joining, and I can't wait to see what you guys come up with next.

[35:01] Shelli: Yeah, thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me.

[35:04] Dr Diane: Thank you. You've been listening to the Adventures In Learning podcast with your host, Dr. Diane. If you like what you're hearing, please subscribe, download and let us know what you think, and please tell us a friend. If you want the full show notes and the pictures, please go to drdynadeventures.com. We look forward to you joining us on our next adventure.