A Bunny & An NIU Connection: New Book In STEM Children's Series Debuts This Month

May 24, 2016

A new STEM children’s book about a toy bunny and his human friend explore several different facets of science will debut at the end of this month.

Books 1 and 2 in Gillian King-Cargile's "Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series." "The Toy and the Tide Pool" will be released at the end of May.
Credit Gillian King-Cargile / NIU Press

The first book of the Stuffed Bunny Science Adventure Series is The Toy and the Twister, which talks about tornadoes. The second and newest book is titled The Toy and the Tide Pool.

“All of the books have an adventure story with our main character, a stuffed bunny named Bear, and his boy Jack,” author Gillian King-Cargile said. And usually, Bear gets separated from Jack and has to make his way back to him and learn about science in some fun way.”

King-Cargile says she mostly followed her interests in creating the eight-book children’s series, but she says the books align with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and she consults field experts when she writes the books. The books are published by NIU press.

King-Cargile purposefully started with tornadoes because of her own personal experience.

“I’m from Plainfield, and we had a very large tornado when I was a child,” King-Cargile said. “So I had always been worried about storms and, you know, I’m the first person to the basement when there’s a tornado warning and things like that.”

King-Cargile says she wanted to find a way to have kids learn about storms and tornado safety in a less threatening way than other books that already exist.

“There were lots of books that were really terrifying,” she said. “So the storms were horrific and, you know, it was like, ‘The only one left alive was the baby and they found her in a field and they thought she was a doll,’ and it’s just super scary.”

King-Cargile’s next book in the series will deal with solar energy, which addresses the environmental science portion of the Next Generation Science Standards.

NIU Press is a candidate for further evaluation under the school’s program prioritization. That could mean closing down, according to university reports released earlier this month.

King-Cargile says it’s too early to tell what that may mean for her series or for NIU Press as a whole. She says all eight books are scheduled to be released within two years.