This generation of kids will see humans on Mars. Or maybe not. I hope they do. I want to help make it so.
STEM is important, but without imagination and inspiration, it won’t get us anywhere. To that end, I am writing about characters that I hope kids can identify with and see themselves in. I am putting those characters in the novel, but entirely plausible, situation of growing up on Mars, such that the readers can imagine themselves there as well.
I like to think of kids reading these stories and getting excited about a future they will help create.
Generation Mars is a series of children’s books that follows the first group of kids born on Mars as they grow into their own.
Early books will focus on the experience of the kids: what their life is like and how they view themselves in their world. The first book is a sort of prologue, introducing the main characters and themes I will return to in future books. The next few books will each focus on an aspect of survival on Mars, weaving stories around issues of air, water, food, shelter, etc.
Later books will explore the motivations of the colonists and the kids as Martian culture develops and the kids grow into their roles.
My intent is to not write down to the kids reading these stories. The target demographic of these first books is what’s called early middle grade readers: 2nd-5th graders. Kids are just beginning to develop the habit of recreational reading in these years. In searching for material for my daughters, I found that options were few in the gap between cutesy children’s picture books and longer chapter books. With these first books of the series, I’m trying to better populate that gap.
The text is a little more advanced than typical for this range, in terms of sentence structure and vocabulary (not excessively so, but a little). To offset that, I keep the chapters very short and include frequent illustration. The idea is to give them smaller bites of more mature reading. My hope is that this inspires confidence in the child while also engaging the parents. These books could be read out loud by parents as well.