05-10-17 Octane Press: New Ag Literacy Tool for Young Children

New Children’s Book, Busy on the Farm Serves as  Ag Literacy Tool

Sixth in the Casey & Friends Series featuring Woman Farmer and STEM Aspects of Production Agriculture

AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 10, 2017) – Busy on the Farm: with Casey & Friends, the sixth in a series of books for children ages four through eight, is a fun and entertaining yet educational story about caring for livestock. It helps children understand the connection between agriculture and food production, highlighting the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) used every day in farming. With its entertaining and whimsical cartoon characters and educational content, Busy on the Farmcan help both farm and non-farm children learn about modern agriculture.

“Science and technology are at the heart of today’s agriculture,” says Holly Dufek, author of the Casey & Friends series. “Including STEM aspects of agriculture was a natural fit, and the book exposes young children to agriculture and science with the hope of exciting them about both.”

Dufek has spent nearly 15 years writing and editing educational curriculum, including helping to develop content to enrich the National Common Core Standards for elementary through high school classrooms. She has authored six Casey & Friends educational books and believes the series can serve as a beginning-level ag literacy tool for young children.

“Even though the number of farms continues to decline, the agricultural industry has many programs promoting the wide range of career opportunities available in STEM and agriculture,” notes Dufek. “Since there currently aren’t National Common Core Standards in science for children before middle school, the series can help fill that gap for this age group.”

Science and Women in Ag Featured

Casey the Farmer, a woman, is the narrator in all the books. “During library readings, it’s amazing how many boys remark that girls can’t be farmers,” says Dufek. “We didn’t initially cast the farmer as female, but as the first book evolved it became a way to show boys, and especially girls, that anyone can be a farmer or work in agriculture.”

The Casey & Friends book series combines real action photographs with bright illustrations and a cast of cartoon characters that were created by Pixar Cars artist Paul Nunn. This book was illustrated by veteran children’s book artist Mike Kasun. Characters in the book include Bailey the Baler, Fern the Farmall and Tillus the Worm, who deliver fun facts about farming and STEM throughout the book.

Educational sidebars, a glossary of ag terms and fun farm facts provide additional learning opportunities. In Busy on the Farm, children learn how weather affects crops and what farmers do to protect their crops, that one cow produces about 6.5 gallons of milk each day, an acre of land produces about 10,000 pounds of alfalfa each year and cows are part of the Bovine subfamily, which includes buffalo.

Other Casey & Friends books from Octane Press, include A Year on the Farm: with Casey & Friends, Big Tractors: with Casey & Friends, Planters & Cultivators: with Casey & Friends, Combines: with Casey & Friends and Casey’s Bright Red Christmas. Each book highlights the science and technology associated with different farming practices and the equipment used. To learn more about the Casey & Friends books, visit octanepress.com/caseyandfriends

Dufek concludes, “Agricultural Science is one of the top fields to study in college today. Yet fewer and fewer people either live on a farm or have a direct connection to agriculture. We hope Casey & Friends books can help pique kids’ interests at an early age, so later they will consider careers in STEM and agriculture.”

About Octane Press
Octane Press, is an independent publisher known for award-winning illustrated non-fiction books. Casey & Friends is a series of children’s books with an educational bent that shows how farmers use equipment to feed the world. Some of the company’s best-known titles include Red Tractors 1958–2013, Red Combines 1915-2015, and Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500. Octane Press has won dozens of book awards, including IBPA Benjamin Franklin awards (Red Tractors 1958–2013, Forward, Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska) and Independent Publisher Awards (In the Red, Red Tractors 1958–2013).