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Let me start off by saying that some of my all-time favorite books are children’s picture books. Every so often you’ll come across a children’s book that so effortlessly explains a life lesson in terms even a small child can grasp, that you find yourself dumbfounded by the sheer simplicity of it all. My next thought is how many copies should I buy to anonymously send to people who need help learning said life lesson. Anyways.
The books I’m reviewing today I had heard about several times before I actually bought them. I’d seen them prominently displayed in the book store many times. I’d also seen on their covers that they were “The #1 New York Times Bestseller”. So I resisted. I like to dig through the shelves and find the books that aren’t as popular or heavily promoted. Then I can pat myself on the back for not giving in to all they hype and finding the hidden gems, you know, like a real a-hole. But one day I finally caved and reluctantly sat down with “Ada Twist, Scientist” written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts.
“But this much was clear about Miss Ada Twist: She had all the traits of a great scientist.”
It’s about a young girl, Ada Marie Twist, who is overwhelmed with curiosity about the world around her and must find the answers to all her questions. So basically, a book about a smart little girl who is encouraged to cultivate her passion and be true to herself. Oh, and the name is no accident either. According to the note from the author:
“Ada Marie Twist is named for two of the many women whose curiosity and passion led them to make great discoveries. Marie Curie discovered the elements polonium and radium, and her work led to the inventions of X-rays. Ada Lovelace was a mathematician and the very first computer programmer.”
Next I moved on to “Rosie Revere, Engineer”.
“Alone in her attic, the moon high above, dear Rosie made gadgets and gizmos she loved.”
Rosie is a little girl who is embarrassed to show off her inventions until her great-great-aunt Rose comes to town.
“Her great-great-aunt Rose was a true dynamo who’d worked building airplanes a long time ago”
Think blue coveralls and hair pulled back under a red bandana. Needless to say, Rose helps Rosie be proud of her inventions in a speech that literally brought me to tears. I know, I know. But seriously, girl power.
At the end of the book there was a “historical note” that made the book even more significant:
‘During World War II, millions of women in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, and other allied nations worked to provide the food and equipment needed for the war effort. Some worked on farms to grow food for the troops. Others built ships, airplanes, tanks, and jeeps. With the help of many women, American factories produced more than three hundred thousand aircraft, eighty-six thousand tanks, and two million army trucks during the war. In the United States, these women were represented by Rosie the Riveter, the scarf-wearing fictional character whose slogan was “We can do it!”
And boom goes the dynamite. When I was finished reading these two books I had a brief window where I was convinced I could cure cancer, negotiate world peace, and tame a dragon, all while wearing high heels. Can you feel the love I have for these books?
I think it’s obvious that I would highly recommend these books. They are teaching young boys and girls that we all can be anything we set our minds to. That the passion we have burning deep down inside isn’t something to hide but something that should be embraced and harnessed.