Ara the Star Engineer by Komal Singh ★★★★☆ #BookReview #BookBlog #PictureBook

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Primary Genre(s): Children’s Picture Book
Published: 14 October 2018 by Page Two Books
Page count: 33
My Format: free Kindle ebook on Amazon
Cover: Cute, colorful
Pacing: Fine
Ending: Good
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy Ara the Star Engineer

My rating: ★★★☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Ara is a young girl who loves BIG numbers. She wants to count all the stars in the sky… but how? This is an upbeat adventure of Ara and her sidekick droid, DeeDee (“Beep!”). They use smarts and grit to solve a BIG problem and discover an amazing algorithm! A quest that takes them through a whirlwind of intriguing locations at Innovation Plex — Data Centre, Ideas Lab, Coding Pods, and X-Space. Along the way, they encounter real-life women tech trailblazers of diverse backgrounds, including a Tenacious Troubleshooter, an Intrepid Innovator, a Code Commander, and a Prolific Problem Solver. They tinker-and-tailor, build-and-fail, launch-and-iterate, and in the end discover an amazing algorithm of success — coding, courage, creativity, and collaboration (“Beeeeep!”).

My Thoughts
This is another cute STEM book for kids! Here are my pros and cons for Ara the Star Engineer:

Pros

  1. This is a charming STEM book that focuses on computer science and coding.
  2. Cute, engaging illustrations (by Ipek Konak).
  3. I loved that a specific example was provided on how to develop an algorithm and translate that into code. The information provided was presented in a relatable and understandable format that I think older children could grasp and the book even included a mini glossary for more complete definitions of difficult words and concepts.
  4. The women that Ara meets in the story are based on real people! You can learn more about them at the end of the book.
  5. The book also provides some mini-biographies of other famous female scientists at the end of the book – Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Katherine Johnson.
  6. The books includes the following themes – courage (to keep trying), creativity (imagination), communication (code language), and collaboration (working as a team).
  7. This book also reinforces that failure is part of learning, particularly when experimenting or creating something, and that you must learn from your errors and always try again.

Cons

  1. I thought this book was a little advanced to be considered a picture book and that is strictly because the term “picture book” to me implies it is appropriate for toddlers, pre-K, and maybe even Kindergarten level. This book definitely seems geared more toward older children, perhaps 8 years old and older in my opinion. That said, the picture book concept does get the point across in a clear and fun way. Maybe I’m just nitpicking here.
  2. I felt like this was less of a story and more of a step-by-step instruction on how to create a code. Again, I’m nitpicking here, but it felt a bit procedural to me.

Summary
I love STEM books and I love promoting STEM books for young girls and boys. This book is a great introduction to coding if you know a young person that might be interested.

This book was free (Kindle version) on Amazon when I got it and it is still free as of this posting. If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider getting this book through this link: Buy Ara the Star Engineer. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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