Magnet School Books

"Glimpses of Their Lives": Magnet Schools Director Writes Children's Books to Illuminate School Themes and Inspire Students
Posted on 03/02/2023
Dr. Regina Etter

illustration of a tiger in front of a computer with code on the screen

A young design thinker motivated by the diverse women around her, a tiger cub who helps a friend with digital literacy vocabulary, and a little engineer inspired by her father’s knowledge fill the pages of the original books written by Dr. ReGina Etter, MNPS’s Director of Magnet Schools, to educate students about their school's magnet theme. 

Dr. Regina Etter
“I wrote the stories for different reasons, but they all fill a need,” Etter said. “Whether it was for a child to see a parent in the engineering field or to understand the power of an excellent vocabulary, I want students to see glimpses of their lives in the pages of the books and be encouraged to dream further.”

Each book is a special collaboration between Etter, the school, and a graphic designer or illustrator who brings the story to life with characters who reflect the age of the children it targets. Students, whose schools are part of the Magnet School Assistance Program (MSAP), can see themselves in these confident and inquisitive characters and begin to master engineering, design thinking, or digital literacy. 

The Alex Green Design Technology Magnet Elementary book, titled “Alex Green Has a Dream Team,” was illustrated by a talented MNPS art teacher from Schwab Elementary, Lindsey Mayfield. Alex Gonzalez-Madison, the main character of the book, is a bi-racial and bilingual child. Mayfield brings Alex to life with playful details like a star-covered dreaming cape and fluffy puppy dog slippers. Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, also makes a special appearance.

Alex Green book cover

“I am so happy that I received this opportunity to illustrate this book. It was a lot of fun imagining myself as Alex as I envisioned each page,” Mayfield said. “I have always dreamt of being a book illustrator, and now I can say I have. Dreams do come true!”

Every student at Alex Green Design Technology Magnet Elementary will be sent home with a copy of the book, and Etter plans to read it to classrooms over the next few weeks. The book topic was sparked by the words of Mellody Hobson, a successful businesswoman, advocate, and the chairwoman of large corporations, including Starbucks.

“My hope is that my name will remind future generations of students — especially those who are Black and Brown and the ‘firsts’ in their families — that they too belong,” Hobson has said.

Etter’s next book will be called “Nuri Nuri, What do you see?” It’s a story about a little girl and her classmates who see themselves in the shades found in a box of crayons. Along with a copy of the book, Pre-K students will receive a coloring activity and a box of skin-colored crayons to fill in an illustration of a group of friends.

The federal MSAP grant supports school desegregation and focuses on sharing the importance of diversity and inclusivity with students, families, and the community. “Nuri Nuri, What do you see?” celebrates the vast and beautiful diversity that fills our Nashville public schools and the significance of friendships developed at school and beyond.

Request a Copy of the Books

You can request a copy of the books or watch Etter read “Meet Carter Lawrence the Little Engineer.”

Apply to a STEAM Magnet School

Meet Carter Lawrence book cover

illustration of child in front of engineering symbols





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