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

Come Home, Angus
Angus woke up mad and knew today was not his...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rulers of the Playground
A stunning picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
June Sparrow and her best friend—a miniature pig named Indigo...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Story Sparks:  Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction
Find rock-solid story ideas before you start writing ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Girl in the Tower
A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Coming Up For Air
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework....
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Landscape with Invisible Hand
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
26091228.jpg
Follow-up to the New York Times bestselling novel, Forget Tomorrow!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Follow Me (Amateurs #2)
It was the perfect night for a party. That is,...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fireblood
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing
From Annie Barrows, the acclaimed #1 New York Times–bestselling...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome Home
Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Even the Darkest Stars
The first in a sweeping and action-packed debut fantasy...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright
Stephen Albie Bright leads a happy, normal life. Well, as...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

A Court of Wings and Ruin
 
5.0
"Alright warning time. As with most books that I read, this has been labeled problematic. Though this one is completely..."
Wintersong
 
1.0
"This is going to be more like a rant/review than just a review. I am honestly proud that I finished..."
Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)
 
5.0
"First off... that freaking cliffhanger!? I can't even... I could not imagine having read this the year it came out..."
Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
 
4.7
" It's great! What I love the most is how dark and gritty the world felt. It was so cool..."
House of Night: Hunted
 
3.3
"So the Nerd Herd is now underground and hiding away from Kalona. Aphrodite and Stevie-Rae have imprinted, Stark is an..."
House of Night: Untamed
 
3.3
"So this one picks up right where the other left off and don't worry if you haven't read the others..."
House of Night: Chosen
 
3.3
"Zoey now knows that her old mentor is not what she claims to be. She's hiding something and doing things..."
House of Night: Betrayed
 
3.3
"This one picks up not far where Marked left off. Zoey is now in charge of the Daughters of Darkness...."
Roar (Stormheart #1)
 
N/A
"DNF PAGE 133 - I hate DNFing a book. I hardly ever do it. I personally feel like I'm giving..."
Truthers
 
3.3
"So, I've said before that for some reason I love conspiracy theories. Do I believe any of them? No. I..."
Mask of Shadows
 
3.3
"Okay I loved the premise of this book and I love the fact that it features a Genderfluid MC but..."
Hunted
 
3.7
"What I love most about this book is the setting. Medieval Russia, like hell yeah sign me up! I love..."
Come Home, Angus
 
5.0
"Most of us have days when we just get mad. We don’t know why. We don’t know who is to..."
Rulers of the Playground
 
4.5
"Jonah wants to rule the playground. And he’s a good ruler. Except when he’s not. The problem is that Lennox..."
Plant the Tiny Seed
 
4.5
" This book relies on the interactive nature of read-alouds for young children. Beginning with a single zinnia seed, the..."
The Hanging Girl
 
4.0
"The Hanging Girl was a quick, suspenseful read. Author Eileen Cook has a great writing style. The story picked up..."
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
 
3.5
"In JUNE SPARROW AND THE MILLION DOLLAR PENNY, June Sparrow is a very rich pre-teen living in New York City..."
Princess Breeze
 
4.3
"This is the second book in a very adorable, fun series. This story starts with Breeze Brannigan's end of the..."
Story Sparks:  Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction
 
4.0
"This is an easy to read reference book on how to take creative ideas and thoughts and turn them into..."
Coming Up For Air
 
4.3
"Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time..."