Celebrating Earth Day with “Tina the First Tooth Fairy” by Bruce F. Scharschmidt, MD

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Please welcome physician, scientist, and children’s book author Dr. Bruce F. Scharschmidt to Frog on a Blog. Bruce’s new picture book Tina the First Tooth Fairy officially launches today. This colorful, rhyming story subtly introduces the concept of environmental sustainability, which you’re never too young to begin learning about. Bruce’s daughter’s curiosity was piqued by a science experiment when she was young, which led her to a scientific career. Now, Bruce enjoys sharing his books (and science, too) with his grandchildren. I asked Bruce to stop by and speak a bit about his book as well as his thoughts on sustainability and how we can celebrate Earth Day with kids.

Let’s hear from Bruce.

I am a strong believer that our collective future depends on instilling in our children a sense of curiosity and an interest in discovery and innovation. Science centers on asking questions and seeking answers. It should be taught not like a collection of facts to be memorized, but in a way that responds to our natural sense of wonder.

While President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, I helped initiate a summer scholarship program for high school science teachers which afforded them hands-on scientific training so they could incorporate actual experiments into their classroom curriculum in a way that made science fun and exciting. High school, however, is often too late. California’s K-12 Science standards suggest that science education should begin in Kindergarten, but meaningful exposure often doesn’t come until later.

Our impressions of the world are formed early. We all enjoy hearing stories, particularly young children. Even preverbal children have reasonably sophisticated reasoning skills. Having grandchildren of our own was the impetus I needed to expand my writing audience from physicians to children and turn my bedtime stories into children’s books. While first and foremost meant to be fun, my books are intended to stimulate curiosity and prompt questions and dialogue.

My newest book, Tina the First Tooth Fairy, is centered on the theme of sustainability and is scheduled to launch on Earth Day, April 22, 2023. Building on the universal childhood experience of losing baby teeth and children’s natural curiosity (Why does the tooth fairy want our teeth? Where do the teeth go?), it introduces kids to repurposing and recycling, two of the Five R’s (Refuse-Reduce-Reuse-Repurpose-Recycle) that collectively constitute sustainability.

I hope this story will inspire you to celebrate Earth Day with your children and grandchildren. When they ask questions, try creating experiments to prove your hypothesis right (or wrong!). Show them the sky and the stars and let them feel the wind in their hair. Share stories about your outdoor experiences growing up and talk about ways to preserve the Earth’s beauty. And please read to them. Your children are our future.

For More Information About Earth Day, Please Visit: https://www.earthday.org/.

Bruce F. Scharschmidt, MD crafts children’s books written in verse that make kids smile–and think. His stories build on his background as a physician-scientist with academic, business and non-profit experience. For Bruce, science is not just a collection of facts and statistics, but more fundamentally a sense of curiosity and desire to learn more about the world around us. In his academic career, he was Professor of Medicine and Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he helped start the UCSF liver transplant program. He has authored over 200 scientific papers and book chapters and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and President of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He also served on the National Board of Directors of the American Liver Foundation and has participated in the development of multiple vaccines and therapeutics which are approved in the US and elsewhere. For more information about his life and work, visit: https://brucescharschmidt.com/.