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Meet the parents: Thekla and David Richter (and their kids) love reading, singing and science



Family photo

 

Thekla and David Richter live in Greenwood with their son Arden, age 9, and his sister, age 5. Since David is allergic to cats and dogs, they have no pets "unless you count my sourdough starter," says Thekla. 

Arden has been selected as a semifinalist for the Mars 2020 “Name the Rover” contest. Arden’s suggested name, "Inspiration" will enter the next round of consideration to become the official name of NASA’s Mars rover.

"Arden has been fascinated by outer space since he was in preschool, an interest that ultimately inspired his passion for science in general," says Thekla. "It’s amazing to think that Arden’s name idea could possibly be used for the next Mars Rover. I’m so proud of his hard work and creativity!" Read more on Arden and his accomplishment (plus, read his essay!) here.

We caught up with Thekla about books, ukulele family singing time, and how Arden developed an interest in science. 

 

Where might Seattle parents run into your family around town? 

We love stopping in at Preserve and Gather for treats, finding something great to read at Secret Garden Books, going to the Phinney Farmers’ Market in summer, and hiking in Carkeek Park.

 

How do you all spend time together at home? 

We are all big readers and love board games. We also sometimes get out our ukuleles and have family singing time.  

 

What are your family's favorite books? 

We all love reading so much that it's hard to pick favorites. Arden recently enjoyed re-reading the series "Phoebe and Her Unicorn" by Dana Simpson and regularly devours Minecraft books. His 5-year-old sister loves Winnie the Pooh. Thekla is currently obsessed with Catherynne Valente's "Space Opera" and anything by Ursula Vernon. David is reading "The Songs of Trees" by David Haskell.

 

How did Arden develop an interest in science?

Arden has been drawn to outer space, chemical reactions and engineering challenges since he was about 4 years old. For example, when Arden was in kindergarten, he became obsessed with human-powered flight. He read books on the physics of airplane flight and the history of aeronautics and how birds can fly, researching everything he could. Arden was convinced that he would be the first person to make wings that a human could use to fly like a bird. He spent days designing and constructing his prototype wings out of blankets and sticks. When it was time for the test flight, he put the wings on. He ran up and down the driveway for nearly half an hour and was devastated that he couldn’t manage to take off. We were able to turn this experience into a discussion of how scientists and engineers need to try and fail many times before they make breakthroughs. I’ll never forget the focus, determination, and creativity that he put into trying to fly. I see those same qualities applied now to Arden’s current interests, which include programming, chemistry, and physics. 

 

Is there anything you are working on personally or professionally that the Seattle's Child community can help with? 

Thekla is looking for a literary agent for her middle-grade book about fairies in outer space and is always open to leads. Arden would love to interview a few working scientists or engineers about their jobs. He'd especially love to talk to a physicist about quantum mechanics.

 

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