New picture book series on drones celebrates local expertise and culture

drone picture book

WeRobotics, a not-for-profit that is democratizing drone technology through its brilliant Flying Labs network, is launching a new children’s picture book series to introduce kids to real-world examples of “drones for good.”

Creatively designed for young minds between the ages of 2 and 8, Ariel & Friends is a series of children’s books that will show readers how local experts are solving pressing issues through science, teamwork, and some really fancy flying machines.

The headline here is localization. Though there are a few entertaining picture books on drones, they tend to be Western-centric and available only in English. As such, non-Western kids find it hard to relate to the characters, stories, and settings found in these books. And that is something Flying Labs wants to change.

Patrick Meier, executive director at WeRobotics, explains:

Flying Labs are increasingly engaged in STEM & youth education. They wanted a way to engage younger children. So, the idea of inclusive picture books came up. It is really important for children to be able to see themselves in the illustrations.

This is why the first three books in the Ariel & Friends series are co-created by a very cross-disciplinary, multilingual, and multicultural team that includes experts, editors, and illustrators from Panama, Mexico, Senegal, Malawi, Nepal, India, Fiji, Kenya, Switzerland, and the UK.

And they are going to make sure that kids in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have role models who actually look like them, who speak like them, who dress like them, and who have faced the same challenges.

The Magic of Mangroves

The very first book in the series follows the story of a young girl named Claudia, who lives in Panama and is passionate about protecting her island’s mangroves. With the help of a flying robot, Ariel, and experts from Panama Flying Labs, Claudia learns how mangroves can be restored and monitored with the help of drones. The book will be available in both English and Spanish.

Ariel & Friends drone picture book Kickstarter

Last week, Flying Labs and WeRobotics launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring The Magic of Mangroves to life. The project got funded fully within 24 hours!

Now, in addition to getting the book into the hands of the backers, the initial plan was to donate copies to local schools and libraries in Panama. However, seeing that the funding goal has already been met, additional donations will be used to send copies of the book to Spanish-speaking countries of Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Peru, and Spain as well. To which we say, the more the merrier!

Click here to back the project.

Read more: How teachers are using drones to make math fun for kids

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