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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rosie Revere, Engineer

How do I even begin to express my adoration for this book, this series, these authors in words? Here is the story:

At BEA this year, on the last day, I passed by the Abrams booth and saw, for the first time, this picture blown up on the side of their booth:



Now, I LOVE Abrams. They are the arbiters of the hashtag #weneeddiversebooks, and I just think they are the cat's pajamas in the way of being the leading publishers of children's and middle grade books that matter. So I see this picture, and I almost cry with joy.  Like, real tears. A young girl, a protagonist of color, doing complicated math -- with JOY?!? I had to know more.

So I whipped around, spoke with a lovely rep, and she was just as excited as I was. It turns out Ada Twist, the leading lady of that book, was just part of a larger series of books about a class of kids who achieve educationally. These kids are diverse, and they love learning while pursuing educational goals. I almost melted right then and there.

This past spring semester, I taught a child development course that ran in tandem with the students' literacy course. We spoke at length about the need for more children's books with protagonists of color, and is promised my students I would seek out what I could at BEA. I fell in love with this series.

I then got to meet the author later that day and I told her all of this. She was just as exited as I was, and so kind and gracious to this new fan of hers. So thank you, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, for this series. What a difference you are making.

So now onto Rosie Revere. She wants to be an engineer so badly. She is laughed at, though, for her inventions and that makes her self-conscious. She is afraid to speak up in class for fear of looking dumb, and she stops inventing altogether when she is mocked by her uncle for trying to help him. That is, until her aunt calls and asks for her help. She gives Rosie the confidence she needs to follow her dreams of becoming an engineer.

If you think Rosie's name sounds familiar, it's because she is named after her aunt... You guessed it: Rosie the Riveter. What a lovely surprise for the adults reading the book. I was just positively tickled to read the whole thing. I adored Rosie and her dream, and I understood that lack of confidence to not speak up in class. She is an incredibly relatable character, and I just wanted to reach in the pages and squeeze her tight.

The book provided a strong story arc along with characters that children, especially girls, could relate to. I can't wait to pick up the rest of the series and share these with my students moving forward. These books are vital additions to your bookshelf, be it your personal one at home or your shelf for your students at school.

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