This article by scientist Pascal Lee has a great point: reading helps kids turn dreams into reality. I just have one tiny bone to pick, and that has to do with the non/fiction divide:
“Let’s get ready for Mission: Mars and take our kids with us. Let’s start them on this journey with a non-fiction STEM book.”
I absolutely agree that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning and advancement requires books of the non-fiction variety. That’s right, actual facts are actually important. No question. I would add, though, that not only is it not bad if Generation Mars includes fiction on its reading list, doing so will help them with that first bit: having dreams. It’s also important to remember that much of the best science fiction is based on extrapolated science fact.*
“The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
— Peter Diamandis
As Lee points out, Scholastic’s “Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life” motto is right on target, but why limit that reading? Non-fiction shows you how to build the path, fiction helps you decide where you want to go and imagine what it will be like when you get there.
I can’t wait to see where Generation Mars takes us.
* While “top X” lists are always arguable, they can be a great place to start. Check out this list of The Best Hard Science Fiction Books of all Time: Ten titles that inspired Technology Review to publish TRSF, its own collection of sci-fi stories.