The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer
by Mara Rockliff; illus. by Daniel Duncan
48 pages; ages 5-9
theme: Engineering, women in science, biography
Beatrice Shilling wasn’t quite like other children. She preferred tools to sweets.
Because tools can take things apart. They can put things together. They can fix things that are broken.
Beatrice wanted to be an engineer, and was fortunate to meet a mentor who encouraged her to study at the university. Where she wasn’t quite like the other students. And when she graduated, there weren’t any jobs for women engineers. But finally, one company gave her a chance. Which was a good thing, because she figured out how to solve a serious problem with fighter planes.
What I like about this book: I am always looking for books about women in STEM fields – and engineering is one of those fields where women are underrepresented. I also love reading stories about strong girls who solve problems. Plus, there is back matter: more juicy details about Beatrice’s life. And – the end pages are wonderful ~ diagrams of engine parts and bolts and other fun things.
Beyond the Books:
Make a tool kit. An unused tackle box or lunch box work well. Here are the basics you’ll need: safety goggles, a variety of screwdriver sizes in both flat and Phillip’s head, a hammer, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, tweezers, and a crescent wrench. Also a plastic tray for collecting screws and washers while working on a project – we use take-out containers.
Take apart some things that no one is using. Some fun things to take apart are old computer keyboards, old computer mouse, broken electronic toys, toaster, radio, VHS or DVD player, old printer. Make sure you remove batteries and snip off the cord before unscrewing the first screw. For safety reasons, don’t take apart anything with glass, sharp edges, or tubes that can break.
Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.