When I saw this book on Kickstarter, my first thoughts were "Ooh! I'll have to add this book to my list when I do my women and gi...

'Emma Ren: Robot Engineer' Book Review


When I saw this book on Kickstarter, my first thoughts were "Ooh! I'll have to add this book to my list when I do my women and girls in science post next February!" It also gave me the idea to do a series of female-focused Story-Based STEAM activities leading up to International Women and Girls in Science Day 2022. But I was getting way ahead of myself because the book was not even available for purchase yet and February 2022 is a long way away!

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What I was able to do in the meantime was get in touch with the author, Jenny Lu, and she was gracious enough to share her storyboard with me so I could read the story with a few of my Cardboard Kids. 

"Emma Ren: Robot Engineer" is a story about Emma, a young girl who loves building things and tinkering with her father. One day, her teacher announces that they will be building robots in teams and battling them at the end of the week. Emma is really excited about this until her teacher pairs her with a boy who thinks girls can't build robots. Emma shows a lot of poise and restraint and remains calm and kind while showing the boy that girls can, in fact, be robot engineers.

I love the pictures! - Ani, 3

Initially, I wasn't crazy about the boy in Emma's class who insisted that girls didn't know anything about robots. I try to avoid negative talk like that and just focus on showing my children who they can be. However, after I thought about it, I feel like it is beneficial to have a book like this mixed in with all the rest because it encourages dialogue about what girls - and boys - can or can't do. After reading it with my children, we talked about how even though in reality there is no limit to what you can or can't do, some people have old-fashioned and outdated notions of what are appropriate roles for girls and boys. The story also showed us a great way respond if we do ever come across anyone who says we can't do something. Emma didn't let anger take over and she kept calm and respectful, while standing up for herself.

I liked how Emma proved the boy wrong! I also loved the robot competition, I couldn't wait to see what happened! - Emma, 6

I asked my daughter how she would respond if someone told her that girls don't play Minecraft and this is the response I got:

I'd say, have you seen me play?!?! Girls can do anything! - Lil C, 9


Squidgy didn't have much to say about the story, but he did grab his tablet and start playing CATS: Crash Arena Turbo Stars before I even finished reading the story. The kids have the game on their Amazon Fire Tablets (we have the Amazon Kids+ subscription so they have access to TONS of games and books). Basically, you build vehicles that you can customize with various wheels and attachments like drills, scoops, claws, and saws and then you battle another vehicle and see who is left standing at the end. So I think Squidgy enjoyed the battle bot part of the story. All the children expressed interest in building robots, especially battle bots, in the future so I do envision this book to be a great one to pair with a variety of robot STEAM activities! I can't wait to try out all my ideas and share them!