Posted By Lauren Markham on February 14, 2013
For Christmas, I gave myself the new book Geek Mom by authors Natania Barron, Kathy Ceceri, Corrina Lawson, and Jenny Williams. This book was created by the writing team from the same-named Wired blog, GeekMom. I first noticed this book at the New York Comic Con this fall. In the insanity that is Con, to be honest, I only gave a quick glance at the table which had a bucket of Geek Mom pins. My kids said, “Oh Mom, you should get this!” My instinct was to roll my eyes at the idea. Granted, I’ve read and retweeted much from the GeekMom blog and honestly hadn’t put the two together in the buzz that is the Javits Center. My initial thought was perhaps this was an attempt at a book to “define” what a geek mom or parent is. I wasn’t having any of that.
When I started brainstorming for books to review for Nerdspan, this title came to mind. I decided to have a glance at it and see what it was all about. That’s when I realized this book could not only be pretty awesome, but also perfect for me. It’s a book I’ve been reading from ever since. Being a big fan of Mythbusters, I was thrilled to see that Kari Byron wrote the foreword. Scanning the table of contents, there was so much in this book, I wanted to read it all. At once. I will also mention, the cover art and illustrations by Dave Perillo are stellar. I love purple, a color which is well represented throughout, but also the funky comics-style artwork make this book fun to simply look at. Each project and activity includes handy icons that note the cost, time, age range, and difficulty involved.
Being an artist and someone who loves crafts and cooking, I tend to look for books geared toward kids and families to incorporate my passions with my children. Most tend to be boring, too difficult, or, did I mention boring? I typically head right to the internet for project ideas, recipes, and rainy-day sanity-savers. That was then. I now have Geek Mom as my solid go-to guide for such things and this delights me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still head online plenty, it’s just nice having a physical book we can all hover over and bookmark–you know, with real, actual paper bookmarks?
Overall, one of the biggest things I like about this book is the broad range it covers–there are stories (think: fun geeky advice column) as well as short biographies from Bob Ross to Ada Lovelace sprinkled in, activities ranging from superheroes to science to sewing, and so much more. There is something for everyone and a family is guaranteed to not be bored by this one. The other factor I appreciate is this book does not set out to define what a “geek mom” is. It is about, and brought up often in its pages, inclusion. Funny enough, the idea of inclusion of all in the nerd/geek world is why I so wanted to be a part of Nerdspan as well.
A quick run-down of the activities I did with my kids, things we are planning on doing, and more to give you a little taste of this book:
- We had a lot of fun checking out the suggested websites, performing the “Sound Wave Experiment,” enjoying loose teas, and sewing felt monsters from Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 respectively.
- We’re planning our Hobbit Feast (Chapter 5) soon and will be creating jewelry with upcycled electronic components (Chapter 6). I can’t wait to make some lavender soap for myself (Chapter 4). We’ll be moving in a few months and I’ve promised my kids they will be able to make their own “Secret Lairs” with moving boxes as depicted in Chapter One. I also plan to create a “Home Learning Center” (Chapter 2) in our new place.
- I particularly enjoyed the articles ranging from “Nongeek Engagement” which tackled how to make friends with other moms, non-geek ones, at the playground and elsewhere. It may sound silly, but when you dress differently from the other moms and are interested in “weird” things, something like a PTO meeting can feel like you’re in a grown-up version of Mean Girls. The advice and tips were helpful. I found “Girls and Science” especially interesting; I am raising two daughters and feel it is my duty to encourage them in this field, as well as mathematics. Any geek who likes exploring in the kitchen will appreciate ”A Love Letter to Alton Brown” by Natania Barron.
Bottom line: Geek Mom makes an excellent gift for any geek mom or mom-to-be. And since inclusion is so key, I’ll even recommend it to every geek dad or family out there!