You could say that Stephanie Anne Box has always been a writer. This spring, Stephanie debuted her first Rourke Educational Media title, Ayanna Howard, as part of the Women in Science and Technology Spring 2021 series. Learn more about Stephanie’s life as a writer and teacher and read the inside story of the creation of her newest book.
Photo credit: Joan Peno McCool Photography
Q. How did you get into writing? Is that something you have always wanted to do or have always been interested in?
A. I’ve always loved writing. As a child in elementary school, I felt free when I wrote. I started young; writing on pads of paper and spiral notebooks. Everywhere you look, there’s a story in each person—in each living thing. Find it, and write about it!
Q. Tell us a little bit about Ayanna Howard, your new title for the Women in Science and Technology series.
A. I’d love to tell you about her! Ayanna Howard is a world-changing innovator! She’s an African American scientist who was intrigued by robots from a very young age. As a child, she watched The Bionic Woman and knew she wanted to help people by building robots. She rose to the top of the male-dominated field and built her roboticist dream, one part at a time.
Q. What is the most interesting thing you learned while writing this biography and what do you hope readers will learn while reading this biography?
A. The most interesting thing I learned was that Ayanna and her science team worked on a rover that landed and roamed on Mars! It’s my hope that all children who read this book will know that with the right attitude and determination, they can grow up and do great things .
Q. In the biography, you discuss Ayanna’s childhood inspirations. What inspired you when you were a child (or what inspires you today)?
A. I’ve always had a love for history and a longing to teach. As a child, I would play with stuffed animals and teach them their [school] lessons. I’m also inspired when I hear of far-off places or people with an untold, interesting story. Inspiration is all around!
Q. Ayanna Howard said, “I’d like to be remembered as someone who changed the world with her research and innovation.” How would you like to be remembered someday?
A. I would like to be remembered as someone who made others feel included and special, and someone who loved to share stories. Stories connect us all.
Q. Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing?
A. I love to sing, take walks with my dog, and feed the neighborhood ducks in the pond. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. My full-time job of teaching kindergarteners keeps me busy as well. They are full of wonder and keep me young!
Q. What advice do you have for young readers with big dreams?
A. Dreams are the stories in your mind. Keep dreaming them each day until they are a reality. In the words of Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”