Visiting Author for Schools: Heidi Olinger

Heidi Olinger

Flexible dates. (Please suggest a date and a time.) 

Heidi Olinger


Heidi Olinger is a writer, journalist, and award-winning educator who creates  STEAM  service learning to inspire and prepare girls to innovate, problem-solve, and lead in the 21st century. What is  STEAM? Science, tech, engineering, art + design, and math. Her latest book,  Leonardo’s Science Workshop: Invent, Create, and Make  STEAM  Projects Like a Genius, is an interactive adventure that embraces the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci to bring science, art, and creativity to life. Written with an inimitable combination of clarity and belief in the genius of every young reader, Leonardo’s Science Workshop models the curiosity and problem-solving that made Leonardo a genius and Heidi a voice for  STEAM  that is accessible, alive, and respects young people where they are. The  New York Journal of Books  says  Leonardo’s Science Workshop  “would make an excellent resource for teachers looking for multidisciplinary lesson plans with an emphasis on the pure sciences and technology.” Heidi is a frequent speaker on girls excelling in service learning and building a  STEAM  mindset. Her  TEDTalk delves into girls overcoming stereotypes and discovering the value of science and math and she delivers keynotes and workshops on what works in learning for students underrepresented in K-12 and higher education.

ABOUT THE BOOKLeonardo’s Science Workshop: Invent, Create, and Make  STEAM  Projects Like a Genius

Leonardo’s Science Workshop leads children on an interactive adventure through key science concepts by following the multidisciplinary approach of the Renaissance period polymath Leonardo da Vinci: experimenting, creating projects, and exploring how art intersects with science and nature. Photos of Leonardo’s own notebooks, paintings, and drawings provide visual inspiration. More than 500 years ago, Leonardo knew that the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) are all connected. The insatiably curious Leonardo examined not just the outer appearance of his art subjects, but the science that explained them. He began his studies as a painter, but his curiosity, diligence, and genius made him also a master sculptor, architect, designer, scientist, engineer, and inventor. The Leonardo’s Workshop series shares this spirit of multidisciplinary inquiry with children through accessible, engaging explanations and hands-on learning. This fascinating book harnesses children’s innate curiosity to explore some of Leonardo’s favorite subjects, including flight, motion, technology design, perspective, and astronomy. After each topic is explained with concepts from physics, chemistry, math, and engineering, kids can experience the principles first-hand with step-by-step STEAM projects. They will explore:

  • The physics of flight by observing birds and experimenting with paper airplane designs
  • The science of motion by building a windup dragonfly
  • Gravitational acceleration with water balloons
  • The movement of electrons by making cereal “dance”
  • Technology design by making paper and fabric using recycled material
  • Scientific perspective by drawing a 3D illusion
  • Insight from other great thinkers—such as Galileo Galilei, James Clerk Maxwell, and Sir Isaac Newton—are woven into the lessons throughout.

45 - 50 minutes; Heidi could center her presentations around two different options:

  1. STEAM author Heidi Olinger reveals to young people the secret to becoming a creative genius, just like Leonardo da Vinci.
  2. A hands-on art and science activity and motivational talk with author Heidi Olinger in which young people make their own science notebook.

Upper Elementary & Middle School; grades 5-8


Large easel at front of room to hold oversize block of art paper. And a bottle of water.





Tattered Cover will design an order form that the school should distribute in advance of the author visit, and again on the day of the event to all student attendees. 

Link to share with students and their families to order James's books:

Please make sure anyone ordering online includes the name of your school in the Notes section of the order and if they'd like to pick up the book from you at the school. Please DO NOT give a book to someone who says they ordered online unless they have the printed confirmation. PLEASE KEEP THIS! You'll need to include these confirmations when returning the leftover books so you won't be charged for them! If they do ask you for a book without a confirmation, just email us the name of the student and parent's name and we can check. DEADLINE: Online orders with SCHOOL PICK UP will only be available for one week after the school visit. Orders placed after that time will need to be picked up at one of our locations, or shipped.