Author Profile: Christina Herkert Schul
Let’s face it.
You rarely think of a rubber band, a cardboard tube or a toothpick as catalysts for innovation -- let alone an introduction to the study of engineering.
“Get real,” you might say.
But local author Christina Herkert Schul will make a believer out of you. With a master’s degree in education, this former middle school teacher-now-homeschooling mom knows the educational value of those everyday items.
She’s even written a book about them : “Awesome Engineering Activities For Kids: 50+ Exciting STEAM Projects to Design and Build.” (*)
Published this year by Rockridge Press, the book invites children to use their curiosity, imagination and problem-solving skills to plan, design and build fun and useful objects using everyday items. Colorful how-to photos and easy-to-follow instructions are sure to bring out the future engineer in any reader.
“Awesome Engineering For Kids...” is inspired by the educational movement that promotes “STEAM,” the acronym for the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.
Those subjects are the foundation of “the fastest-growing collection of careers out there,” says Herkert Schul, who taught eighth grade at Edgewood Middle School before becoming a “SAHM” (stay-at-home-mom). Originally from Cincinnati, she moved to the Jacksonburg area sixteen years ago when she married.
“We are surrounded by technology on a daily basis. In order to compete in today’s workforce, it’s important for all children to have access to classes in science, technology, engineering and math.”
Not confined to books only, this local author also shares STEM activities and crafts on her blog titled “There’s Just One Mommy” accessible at:
Having enjoyed reading and writing as a child (“I wrote numerous poems and short stories,” she recalls), Herkert Schul wanted to “share that love of the written arts with children; it’s one reason I became a teacher.”
“Writing a children’s book has long been a goal of mine,” she continues. “I was actually approached by the publishing company to write a kids’ engineering book and I decided it was a good fit. In the past I have shared kids’ activities in several co-authored e-books.”
“Having the opportunity to work with a publisher to write a book was a dream come true,” she says.
“The publisher had seen some of my work online and came to me with the idea for the book,” she recalls. “They checked out several other people as well, and after submitting several ideas I would use in the book, they asked me to write it.”
Because a “number of years” had passed since she’d studied physics, the author undertook “some quick online research...” to ensure she was “using the correct terminology” when writing about the engineering projects.
“I also spoke with a couple of engineers I know to get their opinion of my wording,” she adds.
Marketing “Awesome Engineering for Kids...” started “six weeks before its release date with lots and lots of social media posts,” Herkert Schul says. She worked with the publisher’s marketing director to get the word out.
Since its publication, “Awesome Engineering...” has prompted requests for a version for older students.
“I’d love that opportunity,” says the local author. “I admit, trying out the projects to make sure they really work is pretty fun, and I’d love to play some more!”
In the meantime Herkert Schul has “a few picture book ideas that I’d like to work on, but I have discovered that non-fiction – kids' activities, especially – is something I really enjoy.”
Finding time to write can be a challenge for many local authors and Herkert Schul is no exception. “I’d love to say I have a routine, but I really don’t,” she admits. “I homeschool, and I find myself running kids lots of places.”
As a result, this busy mom writes when she gets the chance. “Sometimes I get up early enough to do a bit of work before they wake up. Sometimes I find myself writing while they are at an extra-curricular activity. I use a laptop – I'd never be able to read my own writing if I wrote long-hand,” she says.
Herkert Schul’s advice to fellow local authors is realistic but optimist:
“There will be frustration. There will be tears and sleepless nights. But there is nothing like getting that hard copy of your book in your hands and seeing your name on the front.”
(*) “Awesome Engineering Activities For Kids” by Christina Herkert Schul (with photography by Paige Green) is available for checkout at MidPointe Library with a free library card.
Obtain a library card at any MidPointe location: Middletown, West Chester, Trenton, Monroe, Liberty Township (2nd floor, Liberty Center) and onboard the Library On Wheels, formerly known as the Bookmobile.
MidPointe Library loves local authors!
~Following a brief hiatus, we’re back to featuring a local author each month on our Facebook page and blog!
To read previous blogs via Facebook, go to:
-Click on the blue Facebook icon in the upper right corner of the MidPointe home screen.
-Scroll down to find a photo/image of a local author and/or book and click the link to the actual blog.
Or go directly to the blog:
Click on the orange b-for-blog icon at the top right of the MidPointe home screen. Scroll down until you see a blog/photo related to a local author.
~MidPointe Library is also a convenient gathering place for local authors who want to share experiences, advice and words of encouragement. Authors can reserve meeting rooms at:
www.midpointelibary.org > Services > Meeting Rooms
There is no charge to reserve a room.
Local author groups have already been meeting on a regular basis at some MidPointe locations. Call a location to learn if such a meeting is planned. Phone numbers for each location are located at:
www.midpointelibrary.org > Contact Us
To see a system-wide schedule of library activities, go to:
www.midpointelibrary.org > Events
Exciting news for local authors and their fans!