Carolyn DeCristofano has been a children's author for 15 years, when she published her first book, Leonardo's ABC with the Museum of Science, Boston. Her efforts on the book, along with a multi-faceted curriculum kit about da Vinci's curiosity, led to a turning point in her career, reinforcing within her a commitment to not just science education, but the celebration of creativity in science, visualization, and words. Her continuing creative work with museums and other nonprofits as a science and STEM educator has complemented her efforts to bring ideas to life for readers, exhibit goers, and the general public.
While still working in education and research, and after working with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics on the national exhbit Cosmic Questions, she completed her second and third books, both with Charlesbride Publishing. Both received critical acclaim. Big Bang! The Tongue-Tickling Tale of a Speck that Became Spectacular, featuring the vibrant and energetic art of Michael Carroll, includes both an alliterative verse and complete, lively and accessible descriptions of the scientific account of the universe's origins for elementary-school-aged readers, and was named a Notable book by the International Reading Association. A Black Hole is NOT a Hole earned numerous starred reviews and placings on "best of the year" lists. Her fourth book, about the Sun and Moon, is about to go into production and she has also contributed to a fifth title, about magnetism. Both are for very young readers, and are part of the HarperCollins Childrens Let's-Read-and-Find-Out series.
Carolyn views her author visits and special programming with schools as a chance to merge her talents and interests with the needs and learning objectives of a school. She knows first-hand the excitement that authors, visiting science specialists, and creative thinkers can bring to students and their teachers, and is dedicated to helping children and adults realize just how fun good thinking can be. Her child-friendly programs involve interactive experiences such as writing science poetry, exploring metaphor through role-play, and scientifically exploring mystery objects to launch exploration of different writing genres, including scientific nonfiction writing.
An example of her creative approach to school programming was a Creative Schools project (funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council) called Pixels and Panoramas. The project explored how meaning (panoramas) is developed by the relationships among among details (pixels). Using art and science in concert, participants explored visualization and artistic composition, and used these as metaphors for science concepts. Another favorite project is Science in Pictures, the Imagination and Words, which explores visualization's role in science, and its impact on observation, exploration, understanding, and communication. She has presented on this topic at national conferences.
Most recently, Carolyn's STEM education efforts have contributed to acclaimed, National Science Foundation curricula featuring integrated STEM, for elementary and middle school classrooms. She recently joined a STEAM collaboration of professionals in Alabama, Massachusetts, and Colorado dedicated to researching the impact of integrating high-quality, specifically-developed arts lessons on student understanding in the STEM fields.