Spotlight on Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone

Today we're excited to spotlight Tamara Ireland Stone's book Click'd. Read on for more about Tamara and her book, plus a a special essay from the author!

 

My STEM Mentor: My Dad

I’ve never been a big fan of gender roles. When I was a little girl, I played with Matchbox cars and Barbie’s. I rode a bike and a skateboard. I climbed trees and played dress-up. I hung out at the mall and at the arcade. And I spent as much time baking in the kitchen as I did at the workbench in the garage. It never occurred to me that there were things I was “supposed to do” or “not supposed to do” because I was a girl. Luckily, that stuff never occurred to my parents either.

One day when I was eleven years old, my dad found me at that workbench in the garage and asked me a simple question that changed my life: “Do you want to help me build computers?”

I grew up in the early days of Silicon Valley, and my dad worked for a company that built some of the first PCs and game systems. He often brought work home with him to make a little extra money. “I’ll pay you for every component you build that passes quality control,” he’d told me. “If it fails, you’ll need to fix it.”

I was in. And that’s when my fascination with technology began. That first job turned into another, and another. The two of us worked together every day after school in the garage, where he taught me how to use a wire stripper, a crimping tool, a heat gun and eventually, a soldering iron.

It wasn’t easy work. It required patience (not my strong suit). My hands hurt after a while. But deep down, I loved the focus the job required. I found it strangely rewarding. And when my dad surprised me with a brand-new IBM 5150 and told me I’d built it, I was bursting with pride.

I spent much of my free time the following year in front of that computer. I played games. I taught myself some basic coding and wrote a simple recipe app for my stepmom. My friends didn’t really get it, but I didn’t care.

Then suddenly, one day, I did care. A lot.

And that’s when I stopped coding and working with my dad in the garage. I probably stopped hanging out at the arcade and riding my skateboard, too.

Like me, many girls start out with a passion for technology, but lose it as they near high school. According to a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in middle school. Yet, according to The New York Times, only 0.4 percent of all female college freshmen say they intend to major in computer science. The biggest drop off happens between the ages of 13-17.

It’s a depressing statistic, but a pattern I recognize firsthand. And when I started to see own daughter and her friends begin to lose interest in their STEM-related passions, it hit me hard.

These were the same girls who spent months preparing for the science fair, hours playing Minecraft online together, and came home bursting with excitement about the Hour of Code program at their elementary school. I wasn’t ready for my daughter to lose interest in technology—we’d barely skimmed the surface! So when she expressed interest in a summer coding camp, I jumped on it as fast as I could.

I was thrilled to find a program exclusively for girls, but despite her initial excitement, she didn’t enjoy that first day of camp. She didn’t know anyone, and she was afraid she’d spend the whole week alone at her desk. But when I picked her up after the second day, she was giddy. As it turns out, they’d spent the whole day coding while singing every song from High School Musical. The next day, they covered the Pitch Perfect soundtrack. And that was all it took. She’d made friends. And by the end of the week, she’d made an amazing game.

Computer science and engineering degrees offer the highest incomes and the most work flexibility—two attributes widely cited for attracting women to traditionally male- dominated fields. But the number of women in computer science is still on the decline. Girls Who Code estimates that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields, and women are expected to fill just 3% of them.

I’m doing everything I can to keep my daughter excited about technology, but it’s not enough. I want all girls to be excited about it. I don’t know how to code, so I’ll let organizations like Code.org, Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, and Made with Code take the lead on that part. I’m hoping to make a difference using the tool I know best: storytelling.

In my new middle-grade novel, CLICK’D, Allie Navarro plays soccer and loves coding. She’s surrounded by positive female role models, like her computer science teacher and a dynamic software company CEO. Her computer science class is diverse and gender balanced. And Allie’s parents treat coding the same way they treat her sport: as a passion to be nurtured, not a passing hobby.

Like coding itself, CLICK’D has many moments of triumph, but there are also plenty of setbacks, and that’s intentional. In a world where girls often feel an expectation to be perfect, I want readers to see examples of girls who are allowed—even expected—to fail, and fail spectacularly.

In writing CLICK’D, I’ve thought a lot about those hours I spent in the garage with my dad, and I’ve realized something important. He wasn’t just teaching me how to build computers. He was teaching me how to fix my mistakes, one at a time. He was empowering me to follow my passions, regardless of gender “norms.” He was telling me I could do anything I set my mind to.

And I’m eternally grateful to him. Because I haven’t picked up a soldering iron in years, but I use those lessons practically every day. 

 

Meet Tamara Ireland Stone!

 

 
TAMARA IRELAND STONE is the author of Time and Time Again, a collection of her two novels Time Between Us and Time After Time, and the New York Times best seller Every Last Word. A Silicon Valley-native, she has worked in the technology industry all her life, first testing Atari game boards in her parents’ garage, and later, co-founding a woman-owned marketing strategy firm where she worked with some of the world's largest software companies. She enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her online at TamaraIrelandStone.com, on Twitter @tamaraistone, and on Instagram at @tamaraistone.
 
 
 

    

Meet Click'd!
 

Seventh-grader Allie is thrilled that the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp has gone viral.  The app, Click’d, pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. Now, she even has a shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at an upcoming coding competition.  But when a glitch threatens to expose everyone's secrets, Allie has to fix the app, win back her friends, and even work with Nathan. Can Allie find the problem in her code before she steps on stage to present Click’d to the judges? CLICK'D is a fun and empowering story of friendships, coding, and lots of popcorn. 

Backmatter includes information on educational resources from Code.org, a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities.


 
 
 
  
Rate this blog entry:
It's Live!! Cover Reveal: Poison's Cage by Breeana...
Author Chat with Heather Maclean, Plus Giveaway!

Related Posts

 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Game Change
Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway is happy to work in his uncle’s...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
From psychologist and children's friendships expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore and parenting...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sword and Scion 01: Into the Dark Mountains
How lost one feels when his own character remains a...
 
0.0
 
4.8 (1)
The Pirates of Brisa (Wyrms of Pasandir #2)
When young Eskandar leaves his ship with the tough broomrider...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Building a Trade Empire (Wyrms of Pasandir #4)
Trade had been Shaw’s life, her dream, her future –...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journeys: Young Readers’ Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives
Books can change lives — and here are more than...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Moonlight Meeting: The Nocturnals
In The Moonlight Meeting, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, Bismark, a...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Hidden Kingdom: The Nocturnals Book 4
A group of veiled creatures--a chameleon, stick bugs and assorted...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Sight of Stars
Seventeen-year-old Klee’s father was the center of his life. He...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Bokkaners of the North (Wyrms of Pasandir #3)
Against all odds, Eskandar and his bunch of ragtag youngsters...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Road to Kalbakar (Wyrms of Pasandir #1)
Seventeen-year-old...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Air and Ash (TIDES Book 1)
Master and Commander meets Sarah J Maas in a...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Wolf Hour
Welcome, my little lambs, to the Puszcza. It's an...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Dragon Orb
The fate of a kingdom rests on the shoulders...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fragile Chaos
A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION. AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Game Change
 
4.0
"GAME CHANGE by Joseph Monninger follows its main character Zeb Holloway for one week in his life--and what a week..."
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
 
5.0
"When Lolly's older brother Jermaine dies, Lolly is filled with anger and guilt. He's uncertain about how to move forward..."
A Pain Less Ordinary
 
4.3
"If you are looking for a happy-feel-good beach read, A Pain Less Ordinary is not the book for you. But..."
Saint Anything
 
5.0
"In Sarah Dessen’s “Saint Anything,” the author shows what it’s like to be invisible in one’s own life. It..."
Earth to Skye
 
4.6
"Told in two distinct parts - before Skye's death and Liv's trip the Himalaya after, I enjoyed seeing the juxtaposition..."
Growing Friendships: A Kids' Guide to Making and Keeping Friends
 
4.0
"Utilizing plain language and a kid-friendly presentation, Growing Friendships examines and addresses a wide range of socially detrimental issues such..."
Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1)
 
4.8
"Writing: 4.5 Story: 5 Character Development: 4.5 Cover: 5 Editing: 4.5 This book is a rare gem. You know,..."
Joshua and the Magical Forest
 
4.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central An enchanting fantasy. The story: Joshua thinks his father is dead. He's been..."
Ghosts of Bliss Bayou
 
5.0
"Captivating story, smooth writing style, well executed."
Uglies (Uglies #1)
 
5.0
"I loved how different this book was to most that I have read. The plot and the story line are..."
Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
"I went into this book with a pretty vague idea of what it was about-a sci-fi novel revolving around a..."
Wicked (A Wicked Saga #1)
 
5.0
"I read a TON of fae fiction and A WICKED TRILOGY by Jennifer L. Armentrout is so hilarious and refershing...."
Elements (The Biodome Chronicles #2)
 
5.0
"Where do I begin?! I love Legacy. I was immediately sucked into the world and characters and was more than..."
Moonburner
 
4.7
" "The moon cannot enslave the sun, nor make the day its mistress." I absolutely loved this dark yet..."
An Enchantment of Ravens
 
4.7
" This is one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a long, long while. I found myself..."
Bloodline (Forgotten Origins Trilogy #1)
 
4.8
"INFECTED began with a viral pandemic which turns the human body and mind into a host. Although I enjoyed the..."
The "Wonderful" Wizard of Futhermucking Oz
 
5.0
"Although highly irreverent throughout, what I loved most about Arabella is that she doesn't just go along with the social..."
The Secrets of Islayne
 
4.3
"The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West 4 out of 5 stars Summary Islayne is a..."
Journeys: Young Readers’ Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives
 
5.0
"Journeys is a collection of letters from the “Letters About Literature” program sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for..."