GUEST POSTS: NSTA Linking Literacy, NSTA National Convention, Boston, MA. 9 am – 3 pm, April 4, 2020.
The National Science Teacher’s Association has invited authors of Outstanding Science Trade Books and Best Stem Books to discuss literacy and children’s books at a special Literacy Event. 14 of these authors have contributed guest posts to run from January 7 – April 2, 2020.

See the full author list and the date on which they’ll post at Linking Literacy 2020

Guest post by Mary Kay Carson

Inventors make fantastic subjects for young reader biographies. One of favorite quotes from inventor extraordinaire Alexander Graham Bell explains why.

The inventor is a man who looks around upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world.

Alexander Graham Bell book cover

The desire to “find a better way” or improve on some technology is something all students identify with. Who hasn’t been frustrated with some lackluster product or confounding gadget, after all. That includes kids.

Inventing is about using critical thinking to solve a problem. It’s why I love writing books for kids about inventors. Taking young readers through an inventor’s process from idea to practical invention is a fun journey. It often provides a perfect narrative structure full of flashes of insight, horrific failures, eureka moments, devastating setbacks, and thrilling successes. Whew! What a ride!

Inventors are rarely boring characters—another reason they’re a pleasure to write about. Alexander Graham Bell was a forward thinker who immigrated to the United States and had many interests and talents. While famous for inventing the telephone, Bell invented and experimented his entire life and considered his true life work to be teaching those with hearing impairments to speak.

Here are a couple of other things you might not know about the Scottish-American inventor and educator. Alexander Graham Bell…

  • invented an improved phonograph that Thomas Edison had to buy the patent for in order to build a usable product.
  • worked with early airplane inventors Glenn Curtiss and Samuel Langley and competed with the Wright Brothers.
  • attempted to save President Garfield from his fatal gunshot wound with a bullet-finding invention similar to a metal detector.
  • was a pioneering speech teacher to the deaf and a life-long friend and mentor of Helen Keller.
  • emigrated from Scotland with his parents after both his brothers died from tuberculosis.

Reading about the lives and work of past inventors is a great way to inspire the next generation of tinkerers, fixers, and makers of a better world.

In her 25 years as a writer of books for young people, Mary Kay Carson has authored more than fifty titles. Her books have received many starred reviews as well as earned awards, including the 2019 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Hands-On Science Book for Alexander Graham Bells for Kids, the 2016 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature for Inside Biosphere 2; and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 2009 Children’s Literature Award for Exploring the Solar System. Find out more about her and her books at

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