By Anne Hassler Heidel
McPherson College Asst. Professor Dr. Dustin Wilgers has taken his love of spiders into the realm of children’s books with the publication of his first book in the Science Saves the Day Series.
Savanna Spider loves science! After a rocky start to her first day of school, Savanna is going to have to think like a scientist to get through the day. Follow Savanna as she learns all about her friends at Arthur O. Pod Elementary School.
Wilgers partnered with his college friend Nate Knott, an art instructor, to illustrate the book.
Wilgers said he chose a spider as his protagonist because they typically are given a more sinister role in fiction and he hopes children will learn to appreciate them as he has. After getting over a mild case of arachnophobia, he became fascinated by these creatures and has been studying their behaviors for more than a decade now.
Having a spider as the hero of the story was one of three criteria he set for the series. He also wanted the main character to be a scientist to show that science can be fun. Lastly he made the main character a girl because scientist have historically been portrayed as men.
“I want girls to think there is nothing that can hold them back from something they are interested in and want to do with their life. Science is for everyone,” Wilgers said.
The book is geared to children between the ages of 5-10, an age Wilgers said is optimum for learning and curiosity. Wilgers is the father of two children close to that age range.
Future installments in the series will follow Savanna to a school science fair and on a summer vacation adventure. Wilgers will hold a book signing at The Bookshelf on Friday, July 13 where he will have several spider specimens available to view.
Funding of the project was supported by Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the Chickadee Checkoff Program to support nongame wildlife initiatives.
You can purchase the book at The Bookshelf or at the following website for $6.99 + tax & shipping: squareup.com/store/dustin-wilgers/item/savanna-spider-super-scientist-goes-to-school