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

Big Water
Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney has led a sheltered life. But when...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two schools: One of magic and science, the other focused...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Kidult Handbook: From Blanket Forts to Capture the Flag, a Grownup's Guide to Playing Like a Kid
Adulting is hard! But “kidulting”— engaging in nostalgic childhood activities...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Science: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World
Did you know that the blue whale could blow up...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Meant To Be Broken
Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (3)
Switching Gears
Still mourning the loss of Lucas Nelson, the boy she...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Finding-Elora.jpg
High school’s a whole new ballgame. Elora used...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Deadly Exodus
Their love is forbidden…their lives in danger… ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Front Cover
Join Clementine on a Winter Adventure in the Great Outdoors!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Front cover
Growing up as a biracial child, Maggy Williams had three...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
hanna_final.jpg
Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant debut novel is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
51MO7YjcihL.jpg
Twins Finn and Eric’s peaceful lives are turned upside down...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Super Rabbit Racers!: A Branches Book (Press Start! #3)
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Original Syn
Fifty years after the Singularity, the world is divided into...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
What I Leave Behind
After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Friends for Life
A timeless and uplifting book about friendship, filled with...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Last First Daughter
 
3.5
"Intriguing and action packed. The Story: The country has been in a silent age for a decade after terrorists..."
Zombie Queen of Newbury High
 
4.3
"This book was probably the best book I have ever read. I loved the end so much I wished there..."
Meant To Be Broken
 
5.0
"*I was given an e-galley.* Brandy Woods Snow is a wonderfully talented writer and plotter! This story has a..."
Meant To Be Broken
 
5.0
"Aw yes, transparency. I’m but one of her brutal critique partners and friends. Will this book capture you..."
Meant To Be Broken
 
5.0
"I COULD NOT STOP READING THIS BOOK! I fell in love with all the characters and secretly plotted the death..."
The Kidult Handbook: From Blanket Forts to Capture the Flag, a Grownup's Guide to Playing Like a Kid
 
5.0
"THE KIDULT HANDBOOK is the perfect book to pull out on a boring day. It is packed with fun activities..."
Science: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World
 
4.7
"Insightful, engaging, and downright fun! LEGO hits on all the learning styles in this brilliantly interactive science primer. ..."
Switching Gears
 
3.7
"Lucas Nelson loved Emmy Martin, but he waited until a week before he died of cancer to tell her that...."
Sky in the Deep
 
4.7
"What worked: This is a highly engaging historical tale of a teen warrior who is taken by a rival clan..."
We Are All That's Left
 
5.0
" Zara feels shut off from her Bosnian born mother. She knows that her mother survived some..."
The Fault In Our Stars
 
5.0
"Seriously, is it possible to read this book without crying? Asking for allllllll offffff myyyyyyy friiiiiiiiiends."
Super Rabbit Racers!: A Branches Book (Press Start! #3)
 
4.0
"In this story, Chris joins Sunny and Rue for a few friendly rounds of Rabbit Racers. (He’s never played before,..."
Frat Girl
 
4.0
"The writing style is what really stands out in this book-- SO easy to read, conversational, believable character interactions. It..."
Original Syn
 
5.0
"Got an ARC of this one and flew through it. So so good."
What I Leave Behind
 
5.0
"Will’s dad commits suicide. His childhood friend, Playa, is raped at a party. His mom works long over-night shifts as..."
When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon & Garfunkel
 
4.5
"'When Paul Met Artie: The Story of Simon & Garfunkel' by G. Neri, illustrated by David Litchfield, is an artistic..."
Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries
 
4.0
"'Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries' by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson is a fun read, chock..."
Watcher
 
4.3
"The story: Sawyer is an orphaned girl who lives in a world not unlike that of the Terminator movies,..."
Savage Beauty
 
5.0
"SAVAGE BEAUTY is a dark twist on the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty. Aura and Luna are sisters, but they're the..."
All The Crooked Saints
 
3.7
"Trust me when I say no one was more stunned than me when I enjoyed All the Crooked Saints. ..."