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An illustrated STEM-filled storybook about a girl's quest to design, build and test a rocket that can take her to Mars.
An illustrated STEM-filled storybook about a girl's quest to design, build and test a rocket that can take her to Mars.
48 backers pledged AU$ 2,646 to help bring this project to life.

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AU$ 2,646

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$3000 Stretch Goal #1: A Video Readthrough

$3000 Stretch Goal #1: A Video Readthrough
$3000 Stretch Goal #1: A Video Readthrough

Sometimes a video read-through is better / easier / more appropriate for a certain situation. Different kids take to different learning mediums too.

So, on top of the printed book / ebook, if we can get the campaign to $3000, I will create a high quality video read-through.

Rachel is a rocketeer, she wants to get to Mars...

Every girl and boy has looked up at the night sky and dreamed of journeying into the great unknown, of going where no human has ever gone before.

Rachel Rocketeer is the story of one amazing girl: Rachel, who along with her test pilot Robbie the Robot is on a quest to journey to Mars.

To get there she'll design, build and test a series of rockets, overcoming challenges including unstable fuel, melting engines, reusable rocket design, booster landing and surviving atmospheric entry. 

This storybook gently introduces key scientific and engineering concepts including:

  • Fuel stability
  • Engines and heat
  • Fuel requirements and rocket mass ratios
  • Escaping gravity
  • Reusable rocket design
  • Landing boosters back on earth
  • Navigating through space
  • Aerobraking and atmospheric entry
  • Parachute retardation
  • Mars base building
  • Living on Mars and exploring the planet

Why write Rachel Rocketeer?

Rachel reading Rachel Rocketeer
Rachel reading Rachel Rocketeer

In talking to my young children Rachel and Ethan about space travel, I found there wasn't a lot beyond the videos of launches to show them. So I created Rachel Rocketeer to introduce them to the excitement and wonder of space travel.

I originally trained as a Mechanical and Space Engineer and have always been fascinated with space travel, and several family members are working at or have worked at major aerospace corporations around the world.

This field has never been more exciting than now, with organizations including SpaceX, NASA, Rocket Lab, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin all launching exciting new missions into space.

A storybook about space travel is an exciting and fun way to get young kids even more engaged in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) and help prepare them for their technology-filled future.

A Female Lead

Technology-related fields still generally suffer from a gender imbalance, and space travel is no different (acknowledging the many amazing female role models like Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Christa McAuliffe, Abigail Allwood and Margaret Hamilton, including one of my favourite space program photos showing her with navigation software created by her and the team she led for the Apollo program.

In Rachel Rocketeer, the main character (a young girl Rachel) is the one pushing for Mars, she is the one designing the rockets, she is the one overcoming the many technical challenges, and she is the one who eventually journeys to Mars... with a little help from her friend Robbie the Robot.

What's in the Book?

Rachel Rocketeer comes as a 40 page hardcover (254 x 203 mm), full colour storybook with a rhyming story line (we also have paperback, e-book and class booklet versions). It's packed full of key STEM concepts encountered in rocket design and space travel.

I've included some sample pages from the draft here:

Meeting Rachel Rocketeer and Robbie the Robot
Meeting Rachel Rocketeer and Robbie the Robot
Rocket model Ella 3: the engines don't melt but it runs out of fuel.
Rocket model Ella 3: the engines don't melt but it runs out of fuel.
Choosing between different single use and reusable rocket configurations.
Choosing between different single use and reusable rocket configurations.
Creating new heat-resistant materials for atmospheric entry on Mars.
Creating new heat-resistant materials for atmospheric entry on Mars.
The duo exploring and investigating Mars.
The duo exploring and investigating Mars.

What People Are Saying

Here's some feedback regarding my previous storybooks for kids (note the book pictured is my previous title the STEM Storybook):

Kids and parents love the STEM Storybook range.
Kids and parents love the STEM Storybook range.

"Congratulations on a great book. I’m not joking - for the last two weeks every morning my daughter (7) has been asking to read your book. Not to doubt your skills but I was surprised considering she’s mostly into my little pony etc, although maths is one of her best subjects at school. When I asked her what she liked about it and she said ‘I like the stories’. She’s also commented that she really likes the inclusion of girls into the stories – she picked up on the girl pirate and the girl programmer. So well done, great job!" Tim D

"As a father of three young children, the ability to integrate basic STEM skills in to everyday story telling is incredibly powerful for learning development. The STEM Storybook does this uniquely and in a fun way, as well as providing a glimpse in to modern day technologies that these children will embrace as they continue to learn." Chris Titley

"We’ve been waiting for this book, and were so happy when it turned up. My son Luke has not put it down since it arrived, and does not stop retelling the stories once he’s read them. Thank you for putting these stories together, I am sure they will help him in his understanding of STEM concepts and begin him on his journey of curiosity and creativity. Thank You", Matt Milligan

"Our children were immediately engaged, first with the vibrant pictures and were kept entertained as we read through the stories. As our children grow they will understand more & more with the bonus of seamlessly integrating learning into their entertainment." Kuzmanovski Family

"My 4 years old son really likes the STEM storybook and I read it to him almost every night. Thanks for your hard work in making it a reality!"  Marco Paladini

"Our daughter has been obsessed with them over Christmas. Aston was thrilled to receive... your book even came with us to the supermarket." Sharlene

"My daughter really enjoys the STEM Stories, and loves trying to figure out the concepts involved." John Halcrow

Recent media coverage of our STEM Storybook line
Recent media coverage of our STEM Storybook line

 About the Author

Geeking out at the Seattle Museum of Flight
Geeking out at the Seattle Museum of Flight

I'm a robotics professor who originally trained as a Mechanical and Space Engineer, a father and a multi-award-winning educational entrepreneur. 

I've spent my life innovating in education including creating STEM textbooks, action-packed maths workshops, a Hollywood STEM movie review series, a young adult maths novel Code Bravo, the STEM Storybook and The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids

This is my fifth Kickstarter campaign, after four successful campaigns: Maths Thriller, A Robot for Every Child, STEM Storybook and The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids.

Budget

The Kickstarter campaign is raising funds to assist with the following costs.

Artwork Print Licenses: To distribute print copies, we need to purchase print distribution licenses. Purchasing these licenses ensure that content creators are fairly compensated for their hard work.

Print Production and Distribution: The other major cost is print production and distribution. We will use the optimal combination of overseas-based offset printing and print-on-demand services based on final demand. 

We have improved our shipping process and providers and in most cases significantly reduced the cost of getting the books to you, wherever you are in the world.

More affordable shipping around the world.
More affordable shipping around the world.

A Note About Costs:

Printing professional quality, full colour hardcover kids books is expensive. Small print runs are done using a "print on demand" digital printing service.

Prices rapidly get better as quantities go above 1000, because you can move to "offset printing" processes.

If we surpass the target by a large margin, then offset printing becomes feasible and the cost of printing drops significantly. If that occurs, I'll add extra stretch goals that give all backers extra bonuses to show appreciation for everyone's support.

Project Status

I've finished drafting the book and done several print run tests, and it's now undergoing further testing with kids. You can see a preview of the hardcover books and the full contents here:

Test Hardcover Print Copies of Rachel Rocketeer
Test Hardcover Print Copies of Rachel Rocketeer
Preview of all pages in the book.
Preview of all pages in the book.

Please Lend Your Support!

By backing this Kickstarter campaign, you help out in many ways:  

  • You directly help a young child by giving them a fun way to engage in STEM
  • You help support a growing initiative (the startup Math Thrills Pty Ltd) to improve the STEM experiences of young children and help their future
  • You help support graphic artists whose work goes into these books
  • You help support other writers and educators who have been supported by Kickstarter funding

Thank you so much for your support... and if you haven't already, head on up to the Backer Rewards section and choose how you'd like to get involved!

And please tell your friends, colleagues and family - almost everyone knows someone with young children or students. The more people involved, the wider the impact of this project. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What age range will get the most benefit from Rachel Rocketeer?

Kids in the age range 3 - 10 will all benefit from the book, but in different ways:  

  • Reading the book to 3 to 6-year-olds will introduce them to many of the concepts. For example, when reading it to my daughter (aged 3.5), I sometimes paraphrase some of the more complex concepts.
  • Most 7 to 10-year-olds will be able to grasp the majority of the concepts in the story (and read most of the book themselves), opening up opportunities for in-depth discussion around the many topics raised. 

Our school would love some copies but we can't do Kickstarter. How can we get some?

No problem - we can invoice you directly and provide a full tax invoice from Math Thrills Pty Ltd (ABN: 85 610 665 686, ACN: 610 665 686). GST is listed on invoice for Australian customers. Just contact me on michael@maththrills.com.

I missed your last STEM Storybook / AI Guide for Kids / Maths Thriller Kickstarter campaign and am interested in getting a copy.

Just head on over to our online store at Store.MathThrills.com where you can find all of these titles and more, available in a range of formats.

What if we don't like it?

I’m confident you’ll love the storybook. But for peace of mind, it comes with a full 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re disappointed for any reason, you’ll get all your money back. No questions asked.

What's up with the international postage charges?

We have recently sourced some alternative shipping / courier options for our many international backers who come from countries all around the world - this has reduced the cost of postage somewhat, although it is still relatively expensive. 

If you are cash strapped, there are much cheaper e-book reward tiers available.

Risks and challenges

*PRINT AND DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS*

I have 17 years experience working with both Australian (small print run) and international printers (large print run) and freight companies. The printing company this project will be produced with is one we've successfully worked with multiple times over the past few years.

I've also successfully run and funded four previous Kickstarter projects (Maths Thriller, A Robot for Every Child, STEM Storybook and The Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Kids) and delivered the final polished product to backers on time with great feedback.

In 2017 I led a campaign supported by the AMP Foundation which resulted in book packs being sent out to more than 180 schools around Australia.

*PRINTING AND SHIPPING MISHAPS*

On rare occasion, individual booklets can have printing errors, or deliveries go missing in the mail. In both cases I work closely with backers and couriers to ensure that a replacement is delivered as quickly as possible. The only risk here is a delay in an individual's receipt of the reward.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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Funding period

- (23 days)