'Izzy Newton And The S.M.A.R.T. Squad' Is A Middle Grade Series For STEM Lovers — FIRST LOOK

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For my 6-year-old daughter's birthday, she had one request: a book about how to get to the moon. "Not a book about planets or astronauts, Mommy. A book about how to get to the moon. Like what you have to do and stuff." She basically wanted a Mission Control log, and thankfully, it was easy to find. STEM-themed books have seriously changed the reading game for children, especially girls, and National Geographic's new middle grade series Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad is another one to add to your kid's collection.

Written by girl-power expert Valerie Tripp — the author behind some of your favorite American Girl stories — the Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series features five brainy friends inspired by iconic scientists — Izzy Newton, Allie Einstein, Charlie Darwin, Marie Curie, and Gina Carver — as they go through the wild time that is middle school, with stories on friendship, growing up, and of course, solving mishaps with science and the scientific method.

The first title in the series — Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero — is about Izzy, Allie, and Charlie having to figure out why their friend Marie is suddenly more interested in a new girl at school, Gina Carver. At the same time, they must also use their collective brain power to figure out why their middle school's air conditioner is on the fritz. (This tracks. My middle school was freezing.)

As a life-long fan of everything Valerie Tripp touches — she made me feel seen through her historical fiction accounts of other 10-year-old girls — I can't wait to introduce my two daughters to this series as they grow. It's one thing to have children's books about scientists or podcasts or stories about strong women in STEM, but it's another world entirely when your children get to feel represented by the characters they're reading about. The characters in the Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad series are diverse, smart, and sure of themselves the way all middle school girls are — through their dreams and newly acquired skills they're still getting used to.

And with the STEM theme coursing throughout the stories, middle school girls get a chance to see their favorite parts of science and technology and math come to life in a way that is fresh and meaningful to them. Of course they can just be into science, but knowing they can make a difference with their knowledge of science? That's a total confidence boost.

The first installment of the series is available Sept. 8 for $12.99, and you can pre-order it right now.