Breaking Stereotypes through Children's Books

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Children benefit greatly from seeing themselves represented in the stories they read. Children's books have the power to counter stereotypes, challenge gender norms, and open minds to new perspectives and ideas. But it can be challenging for educators and caregivers to find quality children’s books that are diverse and representative, especially when it comes to STEM.

This webinar recording features Dr. Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast, Ed.D. from the University of Southern California who will talk about her work diversifying STEAM picture books by collaborating with Room to Read on the STEAM-Powered Careers Book Collection, a 10-book series on a variety of groundbreaking and diverse careers in STEAM. This webinar also features Katherine Locke, author of the picture book What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns. What Are Your Words? is a simple and poignant story about finding yourself and serves as a perfect introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns.

The Breaking Stereotypes through Children's Books webinar was hosted by NGCP on April 27, 2023. In this webinar recording you'll learn ideas for new books and resources to share with the young readers in your life.

Dieuwertje Kast - woman with log brown hair wearing navy shirt with orange dinosaurs

Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast, Ed.D., Director of STEM Education Programs for the USC Joint Educational Project

Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast, Ed.D., is the Director of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Programs for the University of Southern California’s (USC) Joint Educational Project, which includes managing the Young Scientists Program. She has provided STEM instruction to over 29,000 underserved students, 900 educators, 20 school principals, and countless community members. She holds a doctorate in education, focusing on Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies in STEM at USC. She received her master’s degree in education and biology teaching credential from the USC Rossier School of Education and she received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master of Science in Marine Environmental Biology in 2011 from USC. She has coordinated the creation and publication of a STEAM Powered Career children's book series that features main characters of color and scientists of color for elementary school students. Her education philosophy is focused on hands-on, inquiry-based and authentic STEM learning experiences. Her mission is to level the playing field for underserved students in STEM and her work makes an impactful difference by leveling the playing field in STEM for low-income students of color in the Los Angeles area.

Katherine Locke - person with shoulder length blonde-brown hair weraing orange sweater over white collared shirt

Katherine Locke, Author

Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with their feline overlords and their addiction to chai lattes. They are the author of the critically-acclaimed This Rebel Heart, The Girl with the Red Balloon, a 2018 Sydney Taylor Honor Book and 2018 Carolyn W. Field Honor Book, as well as The Spy with the Red Balloon. They are the co-editor and contributor to This is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them and Us, which had three starred reviews and made Kirkus Review’s Best Middle Grade of 2021 list, as well as It's A Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes and Other Jewish Stories. They also contributed to Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens and Out Now: Queer We Go Again. They are the author of picture books Bedtime for Superheroes, What Are Your Words? A Book About Pronouns, and Being Friends with Dragons. They can be found online at and @bibliogato on Twitter and Instagram.

Katherine is represented by Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, where all questions about rights can be directed.

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