The Children’s Book Review | January 19, 2018
A heart-to-heart with Ellie Bell from Jackson Pearce’s Ellie, Engineer, a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!
The Children’s Book Review: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Ellie Bell: I guess my feet? Although I was thinking that maybe I could build something that would sproing me right out of bed in the morning, so that way I don’t sleep too late and miss all the good cartoons that come on really really early. You know, something that would make the whole bed go up on its end and dump me out onto my feet? Hang on, I need my notebook…
I see you have a bag with you. Will you tell us what you keep inside of it?
It’s not a bag, it’s a toolbelt! I have all the basics that an engineer needs: a hammer, a few screwdrivers—you need a few since those come in different sizes and shapes—a wrench, some pliers, and most importantly, my notebook. I draw up all my build ideas in my notebook before I actually make them in real life.
Are you hungry right now? Can we fix you anything to eat? Maybe we could make you your favorite dish?
I already ate—I can make my own lunch. My favorite thing to make is peanut butter and potato chip sandwiches, because they’re delicious and they also make a great CRUNCH noise when you smash the pieces of bread together to take a bite.
Do you like to read?
I love to read! But it sometimes takes me a long time to finish a book, because lots of times I get distracted by a new building idea, or maybe Kit is coming over to play, or the weather is perfect to test the new kite I built. I always finish a book once I’ve started it, though, even if it takes me a little longer than the rest of my class.
Do you have a favorite song?
I like fast songs that have good la la la parts. You know, the sort of song that has lots of regular words, and you don’t really know what they are, but then in the middle there’s a great part where you just go LA LA LA or WHOA WHOA WHOA or HEY HEY HEY and so does everyone else and it’s like you’re all part of the song.
Are you a rule follower or rule breaker?
Have you been talking to Kit’s mom? Because she says breaker but I think it’s all just a big misunderstanding.
When was the last time you felt embarrassed?
I don’t usually mind so much when builds go wrong, since that’s just part of engineering, but sometimes when they go wrong it can be a little embarrassing. Like that time I tried to build a Scrambled Egg Maker and instead of cracking the egg nice and neat in the pan, it flung it across the room and into my bookbag and then my bookbag had bits of egg shell in it for ages.
If you weren’t answering the questions in this interview right now, what would you be doing?
Finishing the trapeze I’m building between my house and Kit’s house! Mom says if I build anything that makes you go higher than ten feet in the air I have to build a net, so I’m trying to keep the trapeze under nine feet tall (nets take a really long time to make).
Do you have any secrets you would like to share with us before you go?
I try really hard not to keep secrets, since they usually end up with someone getting mad or sad or feeling some way I don’t mean for them to feel. There is one thing I know, though, that lots of people don’t—and that’s that you can find stuff to build with just about anywhere. You don’t need to go to a store and buy anything! If you’ve got popsicle sticks or some string or some soda bottles, you’ve got stuff to build something great.
Written by Jackson Pearce
Publiser’s Synopsis: Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present–the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet, all while keeping a secret from Kit?
Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with a fun how-to guide to tools, this is a STEM- and friendship-powered story full of fun!
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681195193
About the Author
Jackson Pearce lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of a series of teen retold fairy-tales, including Sisters Red, Sweetly, Fathomless, and Cold Spell, as well as two stand-alones, As You Wish and Purity. As J. Nelle Patrick, she is the author of Tsarina. In addition to The Doublecross and The Inside Job, her middle grade novels include Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures, co-written with Maggie Stiefvater. Visit her at www.jacksonpearce.com and @JacksonPearce (Twitter and Instagram).
This interview with Ellie Bell, a character in Jackson Pearce’s Ellie, Engineer, was conducted between Jackson Pearce and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Engineering Books, Friendship, Jackson Pearce, STEM, and Strong Female Characters.