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Monday, November 21, 2016

Ada Twist, Scientist

You may remember a few months ago when I posted on finding the Andrea Beaty and David Roberts' series of students who achieve in STEM fields. Originally I had seen the cover of this book on the side of Abrams' booth at BEA and turned myself right around to speak with them. I pre-ordered Ada Twist, Scientist (I do that so rarely!), and it was everything I was hoping for. I couldn't think of a better book to kick off this holiday season's Children's Book Week here on the blog.

Baby Ada was a quiet creature as a baby, until age three when she said her first word: "Why?" She then started asking who-what-when-where-why-how questions and didn't stop, driving her parents absolutely nuts. Even in school she drove her teacher, Ms. Greer, bonkers. One day Ada decides to figure out where a smell in her house is coming from, so she experiments. First she tries the cabbage soup, and it's not that. Then she tries the cat. Nope, not that either. Her parents stop her as she is about to wash the cat (all in the name of science, of course!), and they put her in the thinking chair. Ada does, indeed, think long and hard -- all over the walls. Her parents realize what a gift this is, and Ada spends her days experimenting away.

I just can't even believe how amazing this book is. The whole series, really, but particularly this one. The search for books with diverse protagonists continues, and this one, with a young girl of color as a scientist, just warms my heart like you wouldn't believe. She is inquisitive and authentic, lovely and sharp. She chooses to speak very deliberately when she has something to ask. Ada spends her early days taking in the world, and when she has something to say, only then does she say it. I can't express how amazing it is to see this reflected in children's literature in such a mature and straightforward manner. Beaty doesn't have to beat the point with a stick; it's just a part of who the character is. She is smart and curious and that is just simply who she is. It's amazing and inspiring to read.

This book just tickled my fancy.

I love the entire series, and I can't wait until the next one comes out!

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