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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ara the Star Engineer Book Review

I grew in a time when stem was a part of a flower. When I went to college, I could count the women in the computer science program I was in on one hand. If you heard the term Google, you were more likely to think of a number with a hundred zeros in it, then a leading computer technology company.

Jump forward to the next century and times are a little different as far as science education goes. SMET education is a big deal thanks to American biologist Judith Ramaley rearranging the letters, and diversity in the technical workforce is actively encouraged. With books like Ara the Star Engineer, we can hope that more women view technical careers as a viable option. Real problems get solved through a diverse viewpoint where not everyone has the same background.

Ara the Star Engineer is a picture book written by Google engineer Komal Singh that follows a young girl Ara and her droid DeeDee on a journey through the fantastical land of Innovation Plex to come up with an algorithm to count the stars in the sky.

As Ara travels around in the book, she meets several female engineers to assist in solving the problem. It might not be obvious to the reader until the end, but these are illustrated versions of real engineers inside Google. In the end, DeeDee gets reprogrammed to count all the visible stars in the universe and the world is a happy place.

The book targets the K-2 grade levels. In addition to the story inside, you get Ara's Notebook which is attached to the inside back cover. And, you can find related activities and more on the book's website at www.arastarengineer.com. The activities come in the form of PDF files that a reader can enjoy.

Overall, I love the fact that the book was written. There just aren't enough computer engineers around to do all the work that companies need done. Encouraging young women to consider STEM field jobs can help fill that gap thanks to the strong role models in Ara the Star Engineer. And that is what this book does, opening up the minds of young ladies to think that jobs in technology really are a viable option for them.


Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions stated are my own and may differ from yours. See my disclosure policy for more information.

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