OACS principal pens children’s S.T.E.M. book

Pamela Dwyer’s book, “Stemasaurus Has a Dream,” features a young dinosaur who wants to bring an exciting lab program to her school.

Students have been excited to hear Pamela Dwyer read her new book to the younger classes at Oakland Avenue Charter School.
Students have been excited to hear Pamela Dwyer read her new book to the younger classes at Oakland Avenue Charter School.
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The young students at Oakland Avenue Charter School were listening to their principal, Pamela Dwyer, read a book to the class, but this was just any book in the school library — it was Dwyer’s first published book, “Stemasaurus Has a Dream.”

She spent the last two years writing the book and working with an illustrator, and she self-published it in November. One of the challenges was finding an illustrator who could create the images she had in her mind of what the characters and other details were going to look like. After looking at several options, she ultimately chose Denis Alonso and his wife, Claudia Malon, of Brazil, who understood her vision.

Dwyer currently is seeking a publishing agent for this and all future books she hopes to write.

Her inspiration for the book and its story came from her students.

“I have a love for the things that kids love,” she said. “I’m inspired by cute things (that are) humble, inspiring, so I like to be able to share a message with kids that they are able to do things too. … Your voice matters, even if you’re a kid.”

The premise of “Stemasaurus” is this: Stevie is a young dinosaur girl who is on a mission to get a S.T.E.M. lab at Stomp Elementary School, and she is brave enough to talk to the principal about making it happen. Along the way, she discovers it sometimes takes a team to accomplish goals.

Dwyer said she enjoyed the writing process and exploring words and knew she would have an automatic captive audience with her students at OACS.

“When I read to the kids and I show the page of Stem dreaming — and even kids recognizing that she’s dreaming about science — that’s exciting,” Dwyer said. “The whole thing with S.T.E.M. and science — when I was in school, science was just reading in a book.”

The “Stemasaurus” book is coming to the school library as well.

She has read it to all of the VPK through second-grade classes at the school, and she participated in a story time on the porch of the Healthy West Orange Arts & Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland. Several of the children in attendance were OACS students who were thrilled to tell Dwyer they have the book and they love it. One girl was excited about her principal’s fame and excitedly asked everyone if they know the author like she does.

“I set out to do something I said I wanted to,” she said. “I used to share with my daughter all these ideas; she said, you should just do it.”

This week is Literacy Week, and Dwyer will be talking to students about the book process, and she wants to ask what they would like to see in her next book, which also will have a science theme.

Currently in the storyboarding process for Book No. 2, Dwyer revealed it’s another lesson in S.T.E.M. about floating and sinking.

“I would deflinitely like to do a series,” Dwyer said. “I would like to continue to explore what kids can do in S.T.E.M.: maybe levies and pullies, maybe a little more advanced, possibly gravity and weights. I’m looking at things kids might find fun.”


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