children, girls, mathematics, science

Ara the Star Engineer

Author: Komal Singh
Illustrator: Ipek Konak
Genre: Children / STEM
ISBN: 978-1-989025-05-5
Pages: 40
Price: $15.95

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Ara is named after a seven-star constellation, and she’d love to know how many stars there are in the sky. With her faithful companion robot, DeeDee, she visits Innovation Plex for help in solving her problem.

First, she visits Kripa, the prolific problem solver, and discovers she needs a plan to program DeeDee to count stars. Next, she meets Parisa, the intrepid innovator, who helps her build an algorithm. Diane, the code commander, teaches Ara how to build her own code. And finally, Marian, the tenacious troubleshooter, upgrades DeeDee’s hardware, so she has enough memory to count all the stars.

Using courage, creativity, code, and collaboration, Ara succeeds in programming DeeDee to count all the stars in the universe. She sets a terrific example for all girls (and boys) who see their futures in technology, as she works through her problem in a logical and systematic manner. Ara the Star Engineer is a fun read with a great message.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

girls, sports, tween

Trish’s Team

Trish's Team
Author: Dawn Brotherton
Publisher: Blue Dragon Publishing
Genre: Middle-grade / Girls / Sports
ISBN: 978-1-939696-12-0
Pages: 128
Price: $5.99

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Trish loves to play softball, but her parents don’t seem to care about her interests. When an opportunity comes up for Trish to take her game to another level, she’s faced with a choice – play softball or continue with the orchestra. If the decision was left up to her parents, softball wouldn’t even be considered.

Taking matters into her own hands, Trish tries out for the Lady Tigers. But in the process of making her choice, she needs to be dishonest – something that even her new friend sees is wrong. Will Trish’s actions hurt her and the team?

Trish’s Team reinforces the fact that actions have consequences, as Trish discovers when the truth is finally revealed. But it also demonstrates that kids have opinions too, and good parents take time to listen, even if what their kids say makes them uncomfortable. Girls who love sports will relate to Trish’s dilemma and cheer for her to make the right choices.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

girls, tween

Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker

Cici Reno
Author: Kristina Springer
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Middle grade / Girls
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1751-9
Pages: 192
Price: $14.95

Author’s website
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Cici Reno is everyone’s go-to girl for advice. So when her best friend, Aggie, wants her crush, Drew, to notice her, Cici is right there to help. Since Aggie is shy in person, Cici suggests they attempt to chat with Drew, and Cici sets up an account.

Drew likes the girl he meets online, and soon Cici and Drew are chatting away. The plan is a huge success when Cici scores a date for Aggie. Only trouble is, Cici is starting to fall for Drew. Two best friends can’t go after the same guy, and besides, Drew doesn’t know he’s chatting with Cici. Is there any way this complicated triangle can sort itself out without someone getting hurt?

Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker is a humorous middle-grade retelling of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac, minus the big nose. Modern girls will love the chat sessions between Cici and Drew, and how Cici remains true to Aggie even when her feelings get too involved. I highly recommend this unique and enjoyable story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger