Reading “Where The Wild Things Are” and “Goodnight Moon” when we were children might not have ever prepared us for the working world. However, our country’s current crop of kids will be so lucky.

cuSTEMIzed, a local nonprofit, has dedicated itself to enabling parents to create personalized storybooks for their children. And the books teach 3- to 8-year-olds about the world of STEM—that is, science, technology engineering and math—along with all the possibilities that come with pursuing one of these fields.

“You have to expose children to science early on,” explained Jean Fan, the woman behind cuSTEMized. “When they’re young, they love to take things apart and ask why. Science is a means for them to not only ask why, but also to go about a scientific manner to answer their own questions.”

Fan is a PhD candidate focusing on Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics at Harvard. During her first year of her PhD program, Fan noticed she was different. She was the only woman there. As Fan became more involved in the local community teaching the class “Computer Science Without Intimidation” at the Innovation Institute, she continued to pick up on varying perceptions of science among the children in her class, particularly among young girls and minorities.

“Through that experience, I saw that girls and minorities didn’t see STEM careers, like biotechnology or engineering, as possibilities for themselves,” Fan told us. “I wanted to apply my computational skills in a way that would change their thinking.”

That’s when Fan developed her software program that allows people to personalize STEM-themed children’s books for young readers. All of the content in the book is contributed by scientists, taking time outside of research, graduate and medical school to give kids a taste of what they do professionally.

The nonprofit’s first storybook, “Little Book of Big Dreams”, described STEM careers and how they impact the world. Using the technology she built, Fan made customized books for her students, which incorporated their name and a main character who looked like them in each personal copy.

cuSTEMized first started in 2013 and its first Kickstarter campaign reached 600 percent of its goal to create “Little Book of Big Dreams”. Now, Fan is going for a second crowdfunding effort with a goal of $10,000 to launch the nonprofit’s next book, ” which will highlight more subsections of science, technology, engineering and math. Additionally, Fan said the featured careers will be flashier, like 3D printing organs and materials science.

“Currently, we’re trying to expand to include more diverse science careers, including a more cutting edge set of careers,” Fan said. “We want to engage more people in the scientific community so we can draw from a broader collective expertise… For the new book, it’s not only focusing on different careers not addressed in first, but it’s also highlighting real scientists behind these careers. We’re having them work with illustrators and kids to write the content.”

Besides the upcoming book, cuSTEMized will be using the funds raised from Kickstarter to develop an accompanying app. The app will serve as complementary material for children to learn more about STEM.

“It’s become apparent that not everyone will know about 3D printing,” Fan explained. “Not every parent can explain all the details of 3D printing when their children ask questions, so we want to create an app where scientists will explain all of the elements and what it entails more in depth.”

Fan hopes to make the app free to use, but with possible in-app purchases. Additionally, the new book will be free to download with the chance to order a paperback, hardcover or spiral-bound version of the book for $35 and up.