Coding With Cookies Activity Download

What’s as good as a girl scout cookie? A secret message– in cookie binary code. Girls have been computer programmers from the very start. Betty, Jean and Kay INVENTED computer programming. Read more about their work in INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: How A Team Of Women Coded The Future.

You can be a coder, too. Get started with this unplugged basic coding activity, writing code like Betty, Jean and Kay, but we do have instructions!

Download a free PDF here.

Connect with Caring kids Around the world

We may eat different foods, celebrate different holidays and speak different languages but inside kids around the world are all the same. Empatico is a global movement to spread kindness and empathy through the world by connecting kids and classrooms and sharing our similarities and differences.

Nearly 25,000 educators in 141 countries have already registered. And it’s FREE!

Would your class like to learn more and perhaps make new friends in a different part of the world through Empatico? You can find out more on Empatico’s website. All you have to do is sign your class up on their website, watch a short video, choose a partner class and set up your exchange. It’s easy!

Empatico has designed loads of fun and educational activities to share what makes you and the place you live different and the same as the rest of the world. Check out their modules on introductions, foods, mapping and more.

A Great Kindness Curriculum

Caring is all around us.

One of the “good guys” I’ve found who do an amazing job promoting caring and kindness is the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a non-profit with a mission to connect people with kindness and actively teach kindness by developing and distributing lesson plans, tools and resources. Plus it’s all mapped to curriculum standards, teacher approved, vetted by experts etc etc etc. This is the real deal. And while it may sound a bit dry believe me, the work they do overflows with joy and caring.

Recently the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation revamped their Kindness in the Classroom® curriculum. What was good is now incredible.

If you’re an educator or any grownup who wants to nurture caring kids check out their modules for K-5 and grades 6-8, along with the other materials on their website. (You must register on their site to download, but it’s free and easy. I searched and there is no secret political or religious affiliation, or anything like that, and they will respect your privacy. Also I don’t have any personal connection with them. I just think they do good work.)


Encourage Honesty

Caring people are honest.

Make believe is an essential stage of child development but lies and dishonesty are more complicated.

Honesty can be tough. It can take courage. But you can empower children to be honest.

Harvard’s MAKING CARING COMMON PROJECT has excellent resources for understanding children’s lies and how to encourage honesty.

Find more good ideas for raising honest kids and being a more truthful adult at the MAKING CARING COMMON PROJECT.

#We really do care.


We can’t wait to share our new, smart, powerful TRUE story about a team of women who coded the future– INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED. It will be in bookstores and libraries everywhere in October. For now here’s the cover! Isn’t it gorgeous!

Another new book!

We can finally spill the beans! Disney will publish our second STEM picture book biography, PERKIN’S PURPLE. It’s the almost magical but totally true story of the boy who invented the chemistry that colored the world PURPLE! It will be in bookstores and libraries in 2020.

We fell in love with William Perkin, a teenaged boy who loved chemistry at a time when it was considered almost a form of witchcraft. Add in Queen Victoria, Empress Eugenie, velvet and silk… and the color purple! If that’s not enough– as an adult William found a primitive chemistry lab in his grandfather’s cottage cellar. William’s grandfather had been a real life alchemist!

William Perkin was responsible for the “invention of the method of invention,” changing the way all modern scientists think about problems then proceed to solve them. Today, one of the most prestigious prizes is chemistry is the Perkin Prize.

Perkin’s Purple will be illustrated by Francesca Sanna and published by Disney in 2020.

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A Fabulous “New” Video of Elinor Smith!

See Elinor SOAR- and talk, too!

The University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collection has posted new archival footage of Elinor’s attempt to set the world altitude record- with her powerful Bellanca “Geraldine.” What a treat to hear Elinor’s own words as she describes her terrifying recovery when the engine suddenly stopped at 25,000 feet.

Elinor Smith tells of narrow escape
Filmed on March 30, 1931. Scenes include Elinor Smith speaking about a failed attempt to achieve a new altitude record. Smith speaks about the technical steps she took to land the plane, also explaining her embarrassment and the desire to attempt again.


Great News! A New Book!!

News Flash! My Vermont College of Fine Arts classmate Debbie Dunn and I sold our new book WANTED: WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS. WANTED will be published by Disney-Hyperion in 2019.


Common wisdom suggests computers are an exclusively male domain– ironic when one considers that women invented computer programming.

WANTED: WOMEN MATHEMATICIANS tells the story of a team of nearly forgotten innovators,  Jean Jennings, Kay McNulty and Betty Snyder, young women who hacked the first electronic computers (before hacking was a thing) to win the war and change the world. Betty, Kay and Jean knew computers must be small, nimble and communicate with each other, just like they did. WANTED doesn’t just give these pioneers their due. It demonstrates how the team’s “feminine” attributes– cooperation, communication and teamwork– formed the essence of how modern computers function.

This book is a labor of love and a dream come true. We can’t wait to share Jean, Betty and Kay’s story with you!