Texas Roots Grow a Love of Science in New Middle-Grade Book Series

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A new Texas-based series of books for middle-grade readers is making a literary splash in the Lone Star State and beyond. Serafina Loves Science! is racking up a fast-growing readership among kids who love science, adventure, and funny, relatable characters. Cara Bartek is the author, and her path toward publication is almost as exciting as the books themselves. Bartek hails from a famous Texas football family, and she received some valuable publishing advice from Jim Dent, author of The Junction Boys, a legendary book on Bear Bryant and Aggie football. (The fact Dent gave Bartek this advice from his prison cell just makes the story all the more interesting.) Bartek is also a Ph.D., a mother of two young daughters, and somehow even finds time to help her husband with a successful agricultural business.

The Serafina Loves Science! books are middle-grade fiction, aimed at eight to 12-year-olds. They follow the adventures of a charming 11-year-old girl named Serafina, who uses science to navigate the precarious rules of middle school life. The scientific method, Newtonian laws, quantum physics, and other science concepts serve as frameworks in Serafina’s mind for both understanding and solving challenges.

Video: Facebook/Cara Bartek

“The middle years—specifically nine through 13—they’re really tough for kids, at least they were for me,” said Bartek. “That’s when you’re squeezed between being a child and a teenager.” She hopes her books will “help kids deal with life issues first of all, then secondarily, get them interested and excited about science.”

The magic ingredient? These books are fun, with lively and often hilarious storytelling. And in the great “write what you know” tradition, Bartek sets her books in Texas. She grew up in the Houston suburbs and then moved to the small farming community of Wallis, Texas, when she was 10. Her father, Rolf Krueger, is a legendary Aggie and former professional football player who spent six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Her uncle Charles Krueger is another Aggie legend and played as a defensive tackle for 15 seasons in the NFL. Tom Landry once said of the man whose number was retired from the 49ers, “No one is able to gain running at Charlie Krueger.”

Texas Roots Grow a Love of Science in New Middle-Grade Book Series
Photo: Cara Bartek

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