Scholastic Teams Up with 5 Female Leaders to Debut New “Rising Voices” K–5 Classroom Library Collection to Empower Girls in STEAM

The Second Collection in the Rising Voices Library® Series Features Powerful Messages from Industry Mentors to Shatter Misconceptions About Girls as Future Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math 

New York, NY – June 16, 2021 – Scholastic has announced the launch of Rising Voices: Books Empowering Girls in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math). This new classroom library collection provides K–5 students and educators with culturally relevant and representative books paired with teaching materials, designed to enrich identity development, build literacy skills, and support CASEL-aligned social-emotional learning. Despite representing nearly half of the U.S. workforce, women made up only 27% of those employed in science, technology, engineering, and math in 2019*. Among the women who have made it into this workforce, few are women of color. Rising Voices: Books Empowering Girls in STEAM showcases girls and women as protagonists succeeding in a variety of STEAM fields, and celebrates inspiring stories of curiosity, creative problem-solving, leadership, collaboration, persistence, and vision. With the inclusion of select titles focused on the arts, this collection recognizes artistic pursuits for the value they bring to society and for their significance in enhancing STEM efforts. 

Learn more about the Scholastic Rising Voices Library series: 

To help amplify this important mission in classrooms nationwide, Scholastic has teamed up with five mentors who are powerhouses in their respective STEAM fields:  

• Tatyana Ali, actress, singer, producer, writer, and humanitarian, has won five NAACP Image Awards. She frequently speaks at schools across the country, is actively involved in Black Girls Rock!, and serves as a celebrity council advocate for the March of Dimes. “Our duty is to meet children where their dreams begin. Instead of asking them to ‘fall back’ into categories that make us feel comfortable, let’s share with them what it looks like to ‘rise up’ into the fullness of their being.” 

• Estephanie Mosquera-Ortiz is an elementary school teacher and founder of Beaut&Beast Co., a lifestyle and education company dedicated to teaching women and children self-sufficiency and awareness. “It is important to provide a safe space in which girls can see themselves as future scientists, IT experts, mathematicians, and engineers of the future—not only for them to believe that they are capable, but also to facilitate a learning environment in which success is normalized.” 

• Ronke Olabisi, PhD, has earned degrees in mechanical, aeronautical, and biomedical engineering. Today she is an assistant professor at the UCI Biomedical Engineering department with an appointment in Biomedical Engineering and an affiliation with the Institute of Advanced Materials, Devices, and Nanotechnology. “It is my hope that the books in Rising Voices: Books Empowering Girls in STEAM showcase a multitude of powerful real women that girls can come to know, admire, and aspire to.” 

• Oneeka Williams, MD, is a Harvard-trained urologic surgeon and an award-winning author. As a Positivity Catalyst, her vision is that all girls, especially girls of color, can be inspired to dream big through the power of story and believe that they can live a life without limits. “Stories have the power to affirm, enrich, inspire, and transform, and I have seen first-hand how they can provide a spark that ignites a dream.” 

• Duriya Aziz, PhD, Senior Vice President and Publisher for Scholastic International, has spent almost 20 years developing curriculum programs based on Singapore mathematics pedagogical principles and practices for more than 20 countries. “Readers, particularly girls and those who may be located on the margins of mainstream society, may, through these stories, find their voices, and see themselves wielding influence and agency to achieve positive outcomes in their lives and in society.” 

“We’re excited to have incredible women at the helm of Rising Voices: Books Empowering Girls in STEAM. Each mentor is a leader and embodies the values and mission at the heart of the Rising Voices Library series,” said Michael Haggen, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Scholastic Literacy Pro® & Collections, Scholastic Education Solutions. “Our goal is to elevate classroom libraries through equitable instruction and books that give context to today’s world while sparking challenging, yet important discussions. All children, regardless of background or gender, will be inspired by the achievements of our STEAM mentors and the powerful stories of tenacity and innovation within this new collection.”

The complete K–5 collection features a comprehensive teacher’s guide, access to a digital resource website, and 150 engaging, authentic texts such as The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle; Shuri: A Black Panther Novel by Nic Stone; and Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renée Watson. With implementation strategies, discussion prompts, tips for creating safe environments for difficult conversations, and more, teachers gain the tools to foster student-led learning and create a safe, inclusive classroom environment.  

Rising Voices: Books Empowering Girls in STEAM is the second collection in the Rising Voices Library series, which aims to shine a spotlight on those whose contributions and potential are often overlooked. It follows the successful first collection, Rising Voices: Books Celebrating Black and Latino Boys, created with David C. Banks, President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation. 

*United States Census Bureau, Women Are Nearly Half of U.S. Workforce but Only 27% of STEM Workers (January 26, 2021).

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