Can Children’s Books Encourage More Girls into STEM?

Panel discussion from the Finding Ada Conference 2020.


Our panellists will be asking what role books play in helping girls build an identity that includes STEM, whether books can really counter gender stereotypes, how we represent multiple axes of diversity, and talk a bit about how they came to write books for children.


  • Miriam Tocino, author Zerus & Ona
  • Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow
  • Lisa Rajan, author Tara Binns series
  • Dr Sheila Kanani, author of How to Be an Astronaut and Other Space Jobs

About our speakers

Miriam Tocino

Miriam TocinoMiriam Tocino is a software developer, programming teacher, and mum dedicated to making computers more approachable, friendly, and easy to understand. She is the author of Zerus & Ona, a book series that teaches young children about the digital world without the need for a screen.

Twitter: @miriamtocino
LinkedIn: /miriamtocino


Kate Wilson

Kate WilsonKate Wilson is the managing director of Nosy Crow. Kate started working in publishing in 1986 and has worked in the industry ever since, mainly in children’s books. She started her career as a rights seller, and held senior management roles in publishing including MD of Macmillan Children’s Books and Group MD of Scholastic UK Ltd. She cares about good books, design, literacy and technology.

In September 2011, she won the title of Inspirational Business Mum of the year at the MumpreneurUK awards, was named Most Inspiring Digital Publishing Person at the FutureBook Innovation Awards in November 2014, and in December 2016 received Women in Publishing’s Pandora Award for significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry. Nosy Crow is twice winner of the Book Industry Awards Children’s Publisher of the Year Award, and this year won the Independent Publisher of the Year award.

Twitter: @exasperilla

Lisa Rajan

Lisa RajanLisa Rajan writes the Tara Binns children’s books, which are about a girl who tries out different STEM-related jobs – engineer, scientist, vet, doctor, conservationist, astronaut, inventor, pilot and coder to name but a few. Tara Binns has to be creative, logical, resilient, brave and diplomatic to get the job done and save the day each time. The books aim to raise aspiration, broaden horizons and put big ideas in little minds. Lisa currently has 20 titles published by HarperCollins in their Big Cat reading scheme, with more in the pipeline. Lisa has done a fair few jobs herself since graduating with a BSc in Biochemistry and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London – scientist, editor, medical writer, advertising copywriter, politician, financial researcher, book-keeper and author. She lives in London with her husband and three children and wants to be a forensic scientist and a scriptwriter when she grows up.

Twitter: @lisarajan
Twitter: @tarabinns
Website: Tara Binns & Dani Binns on

Dr Sheila Kanani

Dr Sheila Kanani is a planetary physicist, science presenter, secondary school physics teacher, space comedian and published author, with a background in astrophysics and astronomy research from UK universities. She regularly acts as a science ambassador, by visiting schools and speaking at events. Sheila is currently the Education, Outreach and Diversity officer for the Royal Astronomical Society.

Twitter: @SaturnSheila
LinkedIn: /DrSheilaKanani

Posted in Advocacy & Policy.