Dexter Plash - Engineer - Main Character

I have run out of paper in my notebook so I have been using some old, previously used engineering notebooks to put my thoughts down recently.  Man I love engineering!!  I use it all the time.  Basically, engineering is a way of thinking that helps me to solve problems that are really hard like the propulsive efficiency of a jet engine or other things that don't seem as hard on the surface but usually make a bigger impact on my life like being able to figure out how many bananas will hurt my stomach before I eat them. Engineers solve all types of problems and they always use an engineering notebook to track stuff, and figure stuff out.  Along with all sorts of engineering topics and principles, my school, Anomaly University, taught me things like: the ability to relate to others, patience with others, knowing how and when to show empathy, genuine interest in others, a sense of humor, proper situational attire, and self awareness.  Aren't I lucky!  I'm like the total package.  On top of that I have a daring side, I'm a bad boy if I don't say so myself.  Sometimes I'll sneak out of the house and head to the bookstore for hours reading up on Richard Feynman or a Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.  Anyway, enough about me for now, lets talk about how I have been solving problems recently.  I always use either the scientific method (which I will talk about some other day) or my own engineering problem solving method combined with the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice (MP)

Check out some of my work in the different chapters of my life that Rich and Katie put on this website.  I will be posting at the bottom of the story for parents and kids to see how I actually use my engineering knowledge in difficult situations.  Teachers can also use the different chapter information as a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) exercise.  Oh, and I always try to use the following thought process when collecting my ideas or solving problems in my notebook.


I. Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them (MP1)

A. Determine/Define the Problem

B. Determine/Define the Information I need

C. Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively (MP2)

D. Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others (MP3)


II. Model with Math (MP4)

A. Use Appropriate Tools Strategically (MP5)

B. Attend to Precision (MP6)

C. Look for and Make Use of Structure (MP7)

D. Look for and Express Regularity in Repeated Reasoning (MP8)


III. Present the Solution

Richard Turilli - Founder - Author

I'm a Rhode Island based engineer, but my passion is in writing children's stories and poetry.  At Boston University, for my undergraduate in engineering, I was exposed to the cultural and artistic hub of Boston, MA, which had a significant positive impact on my life.  I also hold an M.S. in engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

A few years ago, before my first son was born, I started writing a children's story, with the help of a worm's notebook that I found, that evolved into a never ending adventure. After much preparation, it is being posted here as one chapter each week on Thursdays. The idea is that it provides a super fun story to read from week-to-week which leaves parents and children building connections with the characters and looking forward to what happens next. I use rhymes because it's fun for me, and along with copies of Dexter's engineering notebook and Katie's beautiful pictures, it will hopefully help the children with their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) skills as well.

One of the fun features of the site is that the children (through a parent or teacher email address) can write the characters through the website and will receive a response within the week.  I hope you enjoy it and can help to spread the fun to local families about this fresh take on children's literature.  Also, if you would like to speak about the story I am available to talk.

...because it's way more fun to read in rhyme, but rhymes are sometimes hard to find

We have devised, Nightly Rhymes online

Katie Holmstrom - Season 1 Artist


I'm a Virginia based engineer hailing from Rhode Island. I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York where I learned the natural connection between creativity, art and science. 

Ever since I was young I always had a passion for the arts: from drawing and sculpting to painting and design. I also found myself gravitating towards the sciences and math as I got older. I struggled with relating the two fields of interest and while growing up art always took priority as a result. It was only after being accepted into an engineering curriculum at RPI that I started to see and feel the importance of the two fields together. Over time my two realms of interest became depended on each other, from the design work I did as an engineer to the paintings and drawings I did in my free time. When Rich introduced me to Dexter, and told me his story, I knew it was something I had been working towards my whole life to be involved in. Now I love illustrating the adventures of Dexter and his friends. This story is the story of every child with imagination, of every engineer who innovates, of every scientist or mathematician who is driven to unravel the truths of the world and universe around us, and of every inquisitive human being who still holds the spark of creativity in their eyes.

Come join us to explore the world.

East Greenwich High School (EGHS) -

Season 2 Artists

Nightly Rhymes thanks the daring and talented art students at East Greenwich High School (EGHS) in East Greenwich, Rhode Island who volunteered and were selected to provide the art for Nightly Rhymes Season 2 as part of Nightly Rhymes’ First Annual Art Contest.  EGHS is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 high schools in the state and Nightly Rhymes was more than excited about the contest entries.  17 students were ultimately selected for the contest.  Their names will be posted at the bottom of each chapter.

Congratulations to Meredith Liu, who was selected by a panel of judges consisting of art teachers at EGHS, a representative from Nightly Rhymes and a celebrity judge R.W. Alley (illustrator of the Paddington Bear Series!).  She was presented with a $500 scholarship from Nightly Rhymes on February 24, 2016!  Thanks again to our EGHS teachers (Stacey Munzert and Amanda Rogers), all the student participants, and our celebrity judge, R.W. Alley!