MLK Scholar Presentation: "The Importance of Dreaming: Why Diversity Matters in STEM and Children’s Literature" with Christine Taylor-Butler

Tuesday, December 05, 2023 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Christine Taylor-Butler, ‘81, MLK Visiting Scholar and author of children’s literature, shares her journey from living in an urban environment where systemic barriers limited access to opportunities to writing as an act of civil disobedience. Despite advances in education, students from urban and rural areas are still entering kindergarten with lower STEM literacy levels and are unable to make up the gap by grade twelve. She’ll discuss the importance of integrating STEM into all aspects of literature, the barriers that still remain in children’s publishing, and how books often fuel the “dreaming’ that helps children see potential beyond the boundaries of their neighborhoods.

Christine Taylor-Butler is a writer and community activist focused on equity in literacy for urban and rural children, especially those from marginalized backgrounds. An engineer by training, she has authored more than ninety-five books for children, including her STEM-based speculative series The Lost Tribes series (Charlesbridge/Move Books).  She is known for writing compelling nonfiction for young readers across all age ranges including three titles in Chelsea Clinton’s Save The …(Animals) series (Penguin Random House). In addition, she’s written a number of articles including, "When Failure Is Not An Option" an essay on the need for diversity in STEM literature (The Horn Book). A fierce advocate for literacy,  Christine has spoken at the American Library Association, The National Council of Teachers of English, The International Literacy Association was well as World Science Fiction Convention and the Nebulas. She served as a judge for the Society of Midland Authors children’s nonfiction award, the Walter Dean Myers children's literature award and PEN America’s Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. Christine is past president of the Missouri Writers Guild, Emeritus Board member of Kindling Words children’s literature retreat and Toastmaster for World Fantasy 2021. She serves on the board of Science Fiction Writers of Association (SFWA), and the Missouri Right To Read Coalition steering committee.

Christine’s recognitions include the Amelia Bloomer Award for feminist literature (American Library Association), Best Children’s Books of the Year (Bank Street College of Education), Best Books of the Year (Nebraska Library Association), Best Children’s Books of the Year, Barnes and Noble Review, Best Children’s Nonfiction (Society of Midland Authors), Walter Williams Major Work Award (Missouri Writers Guild) and Best Multicultural Books (Reading is Fundamental)

Christine earned degrees in both Civil Engineering (I) and Art and Design (IV) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She served on MIT’s Educational Council for more than 30 years, earning the George B. Morgan ‘20 award for sustained excellence.

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