Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - Ellie Engineer 12.19.17

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

At the end of summer I read Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes and I was entranced by the character.  Beatrice is the kind of character that my readers need.  Someone who thinks outside of the box and shows that her thinking is different and that's ok.

Now we have another character - Ellie Bell.  Ellie is an engineer, not a train engineer, but one that builds and designs.

Ellie, Engineer
Ellie, Engineer
by Jackson Pearce
published by Bloomsbury
January 16th

Goodreads summary
The hilarious and smart start of a series about a girl who loves to build—STEM-powered, creative fun for girls.

Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present—the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet?

Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with how-tos, this is full of engineering fun!

My thoughts
What I love about Ellie is she defies the norms.  She designs, she builds and she wears a tool belt with her dresses.  

"'There's no such thing as Girl Stuff or Boy Stuff.  There's only Ellie Stuff and Not-Ellie Stuff.'  Building was Ellie Stuff.  Tea parties were Ellie Stuff." 

This is the idea that we are working so hard to convey to our young students, today.  We want them to understand that the possibilities are endless.  There should be no gender barriers, no racial barriers.  Kids can like many things and nothing should be seen as a contradiction between each other.

Ellie's problems will be familiar to young readers.  She has a best friend, is friendly with other kids, and has ideas about others.  Throughout the course of the book, she learns that some kids might be different than she originally thought, once she gives them a chance.  And she learns that by looking at others' strengths, a lot of things can be stronger.  Ellie has a true blue friendship with Kit, but she also finds out that her friendship group can grow, if she's honest with everyone.

I love that we see how Ellie comes up with her ideas and she gets them down on paper.  I think it's fun for the reader to see that she carries her notebook around with her and it's "official" looking graph paper!  At the end of the book, Pearce has included an explanation and drawing of all the tools that Ellie uses throughout the book.  STEM is a big buzzword in education right now and this book is a perfect example of how to seamlessly fit it into a story.

* artwork from Ellie Engineer, by Jackson Pearce.
Used with permission from Bloomsbury Children's Books *

At over 160 pages, this book will require the reader to be able to sustain their reading over a longer period of time.  There are also a couple of plot lines to follow, although they are about the same topic, which will help young readers follow along.  I think this book is going to find a wide range of readers.  2nd grade-4th grade will be its sweet spot, but mature 1st grade readers and growing 5th grade readers will also enjoy meeting Ellie!

Be sure to look for this book on January 16th.  I can't wait for readers to meet her!

* thank you to Bloomsbury for the review copy.

* please note the quote is taken from the advanced readers copy and may change in the finished copy.

Be sure to stop by next week and check out my lists of 2017 Favorites!  It was another year of fantastic reads!

We hope you've enjoyed our #road2reading Challenge this year.  Hopefully you've found some books for your readers that you might not have known about.  Or perhaps you're trying some new ideas with those readers in your classroom.  We hope you'll continue to join us in 2018 on our new day - Thursdays!  Stop by on Thursday, January 4th for more #road2reading fun!

Don't forget to stop by Alyson's blog and see what she has for #road2reading readers!

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

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