In Ashley Spires’s picture book The Most Magnificent Thing (Kids Can, 2014), a girl sets out to invent something truly wonderful using tools, schematics, and trial and error. With the help of her canine best friend, she learns to persevere and let go of perfectionism, and she succeeds at last. The title has sold 298,000 print copies, per BookScan, and Kids Can Press says that worldwide print unit sales are approaching the half-million mark.
“We were enthusiastic about it when we signed it, but we didn’t realize how perfect the timing was,” says Lisa Lyons Johnston, president and publisher at Kids Can. “It hit exactly when makerspaces and the maker movement became mainstream, and it meets the needs of teachers and librarians.”
Now in its 19th printing, Spires’s STEM primer has gone multimedia, with an animated short film adaptation produced by Nelvana, Kids Can’s sister company under the Corus Entertainment umbrella, and narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. The film premiered at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International in February, and more screenings will be announced soon.