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Illustrator Erin Bagatta on drawing the children's book 'Stem Professionals, Like Me!'

Erin Bagatta

What was your favorite book as a kid? Did the illustrations ever inspire you to draw and paint yourself? Well Radio Milwaukee’s Erin Bagatta recently illustrated a kid’s book called “Stem Professionals, Like Me!”

The book is for children ages 4-10 and is written by John Skalbeck and Samuel Skalbeck, a father/son writing duo. John Skalbeck, the father, lives in Kenosha and is a professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Back of the book for "Stem Professionals, Like Me!" | Photo credit: Erin Bagatta

Sam Skalbeck is a storyteller, activist and model working in Los Angeles.

The book takes children’s hobbies and interests and compares them to professions the children could potentially choose.

Erin knew Sam from attending University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point together. Sam reached out to Erin to illustrate the book.

“I said yes right away because I love drawing,” says Erin. “And the mission of this book seemed so inspiring to me.”

Erin says she enjoyed collaborating with John and Sam in creating the illustrations. She got to fulfill her childhood dreams of being an artist.

“As a kid I always would tell people, ‘When I grow up, I'm going to be an illustrator,’” says Erin. “I guess, in a way I'm an illustrator now. But one of the things that I kept in mind when illustrating this book was to make the drawings fun, make them accurate to the professions that they're representing, but also make them relatable. I really wanted any child to see this book and be able to find the character in it that they see themselves in. So the illustrations are intentionally diverse and inclusive.”

Here’s Erin talking about her creative process in drawing the book.

Proceeds of the “Stem Professionals, Like Me!” go to the nonprofit Reading is Fundamental.

To purchase “Stem Professionals, Like Me!” visit:
Skalbeck Books Website
Blue House Books in Kenosha

Also check out Erin Bagatta’s illustrations on Instagram and her website.