It was a stellar experience for attendees at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2019. The event kicked off with an opening general session address from former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, and we launched Rachael Mann’s new book, The Spaces You’ll Go, which takes children and parents on a lighthearted romp through out-of-this-world careers for little big dreamers.
To prepare for VISION and her book launch, Rachael Mann sat down with PAGES, a Techniques blog, for an interview about The Spaces You’ll Go and the importance of dreaming big.
Who are the characters in The Spaces You’ll Go?
Cas — short for the constellation Cassiopeia — is the main character, along with her sidekick Kanga Blue. Kanga Blue is a stuffed toy by day and a life-sized robot Kangaroo during her dream phase. Together, they dream of the exciting things they may someday do related to space exploration.
What do you hope that children will get out of this book?
My hope is that children and adults alike will be inspired to dream bigger, aim higher, and believe that they can do whatever they dare to dream.
Why is your book important?
The Spaces You’ll Go is meant to empower young people to believe that they can do and be anything. Dreams always come before reality and when you encourage little dreamers to look beyond the planet we call home, you expand their horizons. They begin to see opportunities and occupations that do not exist yet. Our world needs dreamers, explorers and innovators, people who ask, “How can we?”
That is why it is important to give kids the freedom to discover what they love, what they are curious about, what they do well and what the world needs. At the intersection of these points lies their destiny.
For what kind of future are we preparing the next generation? How can we?
We are not only preparing kids for careers that do not exist; we are preparing them for lives that could quite literally be out of this world! That being said, the intent of this book is to let kids be kids… to spark wonder…. to inspire young people to imagine and visualize where and what their future will be.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Little Engine That Could. This book sits on my nightstand still today! As a child, I had a condition called in-toeing and femoral anteversion, and I wore leg braces. As a result, I was typically the last child picked for teams in gym class. I found the story to be relatable and empowering.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating The Spaces You’ll Go?
I have wanted to write a children’s book for a long time and was surprised by the unique challenges of writing The Spaces You’ll Go. The total word count for a children’s book is less than that of one page in my first book, The Martians in Your Classroom. Initially, this seemed as if it would make for a much easier book to write, but, I discovered, the smaller the word count, the more each word counts!
In addition, the task of explaining complicated ideas in simple — and fewer — words is not easy, I also discovered that the audience for a children’s book isn’t necessarily children. The audience is the parents, grandparents, librarians, teachers and others first, and then the children.
I have had many people tell me that they have always wanted to write a children’s book. My advice after writing The Spaces You’ll Go is this: Do it! Put your words on paper and see where they lead. Enjoy the journey, and allow yourself to remember what it means to be a child and to dream and wonder. The process itself is as rewarding as the outcome.
Draw on the power and pull of space to get your kids interested in STEM at a young age. I hope this book serves as a launchpad to inspire wonder about the universe we live in, one we are only just beginning to understand.
Purchase a copy of The Spaces You’ll Go for the little big dreamers you know, available now in ShopACTE online.
Rachael Mann is an author, educator and keynote speaker who is passionate about preparing today’s youth for the future. She speaks regularly on the topics related to STEM, career and technical education, space, education, and disruptive innovation.