Texas Tech Engineer Authors Children’s Book “Engineering Elephants”

New book introduces elementary-age students to engineering.

Engineers make elephants with long, swinging trunks. Wait a minute… do engineers really make elephants? No, but they do make roller coasters! Thus starts the journey through “Engineering Elephants,” a children’s book coauthored by Michelle Pantoya, a professor of mechanical engineering at Texas Tech University, and Emily Hunt, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at West Texas A&M University. “Children know doctors and teachers and police and firemen and soldiers, but not engineers,” Pantoya said. “This is a way of introducing young children to engineering. Our goal is to inspire some of these young people to think about an engineer as something they want to be when they grow up.” Between them, Pantoya and Hunt have seven children ages seven and under. The women discovered that there is a lack of children’s books on engineering geared toward young children ages 4-8 and began work on the book about two years ago. “Engineering education is a growing issue in our nation, and all research points towards engaging children in engineering concepts when they are at these young, impressionable ages,” Pantoya said. “When we ask kids what an engineer does, the answer is either ‘I don’t know’ or ‘he drives a train.’ So, Emily and I decided something needed to be done.” The book is available online at authorhouse.com and at amazon.com. CONTACT:   Leslie Cranford, senior editor, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2136 or leslie.cranford@ttu.edu.