One evening, my eldest son was busy working on his roller coaster creation. He suddenly leaped up and asked, “Mom, can girls be engineers?” I exclaimed, “Absolutely!” He then proclaimed, “But Mom, I don’t know any girls that are engineers or want to be one.”
Since my educational background is in child development, I know my eldest son is at an age where he begins to gender stereotype based on society’s social roles and norms.
That’s where Rosie Revere, Engineer comes into center stage. I knew this book would be an incredible tool to showcase a young girl’s passion and persistence. It would teach my son how girls have similar ambitions in life. I felt it would be easy for him to relate to Rosie’s character, since they share the same dream.
It is my responsibility not only as a mother, but as a woman, to teach my boys to respect and honor women. It is my job to guide them in understanding the value that women bring to our world. It is pivotal for my boys to comprehend that women are equally intelligent and capable of going into any profession. As a society, we need to empower and encourage young girls to pursue the profession of their dreams.
The next morning, we read the book together. He seemed perplexed at first. I asked him, “Isn’t it astonishing that Rosie wants to be an engineer like you?” He gave me a smirk while uttering, “Yes, I guess.” I could see how as the story progressed, it began to capture his heart.
Rosie takes the hat made from parts of a fan and some cheddar cheese to her most loved uncle, Zookeeper Fred; to keep the snakes off his head. Rosie showed it to her uncle, feeling proud of her invention. “He laughed till he wheezed and his eyes filled with tears, all to the horror of Rosie Revere.” This was where I noticed my son started to relate. He exclaimed, “It hurts when others laugh and don’t believe in your inventions!”
There was an illustration of a chair made out of peacock feathers in Rosie’s room. As soon as my son caught a glimpse of it he excitedly said, “I too have wanted to create a peacock feather chair! That’s amazing!”
I personally loved the character reference of Rosie’s Great-Great-Aunt Rose to the cultural icon of Rosie Riveter. Rosie Riveter represents the American women of World War II. Andrea Beaty’s character reference was a tribute to honor these women and their incredible contributions. This was a bonus history lesson for my son.
It is Great-Great-Aunt Rose’s character that helps to rebuild Rosie’s confidence in her pursuit of being an engineer. She comes to visit Rosie one day: tells her how she worked building airplanes a long time ago; and how she checked off her list of goals one by one.
She gave a sad smile as she looked to the sky: “The only thrill left on my list is to fly! But time never lingers as long as it seems. “I’ll chalk that one up to an old lady’s dream.”
That’s when Rosie got the idea to “build a gizmo to help her aunt fly.” She faced her fears of past disappointments and went in the direction of courage. She built a “heli-o-cheese-copter that floated a moment and whirled round and round, then froze for a heartbeat and crashed to the ground.” Rosie heard Great-Great-Aunt Rose laughing and felt she would never be a great engineer. She begins to walk away feeling embarrassed because she failed and her creation was just trash. Then her Great-Great Aunt shouts with joy;
You did it! Hooray! It’s the perfect first try! It crashed. This is true. But first it did just what it needed to do. Before it crashed, Rosie…before that…it flew! Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!
That’s when it became clear not just for Rosie, but for all of us who have read this story.
Life might have it’s failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.