Girl Geeks Academy has released a fourth book this month – Making Magic– along with Perfect Holidays, published by Penguin Random House and written by Alex Miles. The book takes a look at the friendships between the four main girls – Eve, Maggie, Hamsa and Niki and the challenges they face individually and as a group. Together they laugh, they problem solve, and they are constantly learning.
Making Magic focuses mostly on Maggie and her journey with the approaching school play. She is excited to work behind the scenes to design the best set ever. However, just like with any school play, there are a few hiccups along the way to creating something magical for the audience before the big opening night. Readers will find out if the girl gang learn to embrace their differences and pull off a show-stopping performance. Some of the inspired conversations between the girls are related to how much work it is to put on a school play when you’re behind the scenes, yet how achievable it is with well-thought out strategies within a team.
These books are definitely relatable for young girls in late primary school. Although, the books also teach other hidden lessons besides stories of friendship and working as a team. The reason the series was created by Girl Geek Academy is to teach “one million women and girls tech skills by 2025.” Girl Geek Academy also said they want to tell stories to young girls because they know how great stories about girl geeks can be.
The girls represented in these books should be seen as role models for young girls to embrace technology and “encourage their inner geek”.
The girl gang have conversations using technical terms and a great vocabulary and making smart choices in tricky situations. It’s brilliant to see more tween books attempting to give empowering messages to young females about embracing their smarts and not undervaluing themselves because they’re girls who might be interested in technology – a ‘male dominated hobby’.
Girl Geek Academy pointed out a few very alarming facts about girls and their perceptions and preconceived notions of ‘male and female driven career groups’. Some of these were: “by the age of 6, children classify jobs as male and female”; “by the age of 8, they are limiting aspirations”; “by 13, many of them have already ruled out career options that don’t fit with gender stereotypes”; and “by ages 16-17, 60% of girls aspire to stereotypically ‘female’ jobs”.
This is incredibly (and unfortunately) true. I remember as a young girl in the library in primary school learning about careers and hearing from my peers’ parents who told our class all the wonderful and exciting careers they have. There were lawyers, doctors, vets, fashion assistants, nurses and hairdressers. The latter three were women. What was that subliminally teaching us as young children? To both the boys and girls?
We sometimes get some books and films here and there like Legally Blonde– aimed for junior high schoolers and above – that attempts to break stigmas and negative connotations that women (or blondes) aren’t good enough and aren’t suited to these ‘male-driven’ hobbies and careers.
Girl Geek Academy is “led by five women co-founders and they are working to increase the number of women with successful technology and games careers. Their programs include hackathons, school holiday workshops, career incubators, work experience programs and corporate collaborations that aim to make technology accessible and exciting for both women and young girls.”
So, as a young woman who genuinely learned something from a children’s book (but also unsurprisingly), I encourage you to let your girls get their geek on this summer.