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Rivet Boy: Barbara Henderson on middle-grade STEM books

Today we are pleased to welcome to our blog author Barbara Henderson, whose new book ‘Rivet Boy’ is out now. The story invites readers to imagine being a Victorian child working on the building of the iconic Forth Bridge. Read on for our review of the book and a guest post by author Barbara Henderson, who tells us more about her favourite choices of STEM-themed books for children.
guest blog from Barbara Henderson rivet boy

guest blog from Barbara Henderson rivet boy

Rivet Boy: Our Review

I love historical fiction, so it was a treat to read some on a topic I know very little about. Set in Victorian times, this is the story of the children who worked on the dangerous job of building the famous Forth Bridge. 

rivet boy This is a truly exciting adventure that brings a real historical scenario to life. The thought of being perched up on top of the bridge with no safety measures at all made my blood run cold! Add into that some villainous villains and a child hero and you have a recipe for breath-taking episodes and action-packed escapades, with a seamless blending of fact and fiction.

The book is quite a slim one and very easy to read. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting. The shorter length makes it very attractive to children who want to read more complex material but have less stamina and are put off by lengthy books. 

As Tom Palmer, quoted on the cover, says , “I loved it”. The cover image behind Palmer’s quote turned out to be a photograph and a montage (by Richie Chan and Tsekhmister)- it looks like a painting by an impressionist artist and is very beautiful. There are also small drawings dotted around the text by Sandra McGowan. Based on real people and real events,  the additional photos at the end add to the reality of the time and place.

The topic of Victorian child labour is often covered in schools and this story has a new dimension to add to the more commonly covered workplace scenarios of mines and factories. The story will also appeal to budding engineers, with fascinating insights into the construction of one of the UK’s most iconic bridges. 

Rivet Boy is available to purchase online from Amazon or from Bookshop.org.

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give-me-five-stem-books Guest Post: Barbara Henderson

Author of Rivet Boy

The theme of STEM is a key part of Barbara Henderson’s new book, Rivet Boy, which is set at the time of the building of one of the UK’s most iconic bridges.

Barbara visited our blog this week to tell us more about her favourite middle-grade novels that also feature STEM as a main theme:

 

 

My Top 5 Novels Featuring STEM

  1. Cogheart by Peter Bunzl. This is a wildly imaginative Middle-Grade Steampunk series. The first of these, Cogheart, features a lovable hero and heroine amid a cast of clockwork creatures, chief of them Malkin the fox. Highly recommended. Clockwork and Automata make for a fascinating STEM area to explore, both in Cogheart’s world and in our own.
  2. The Rewilders by Lindsay Littleson. Two children are given the task to return a young lynx to its reserve and embark on the adventure of their lives. But should lynx and wolves have a place in our wilderness again? How can we protect animals from extinction? Lindsay Littleson skillfully balances conflicting views, without them ever getting in the way of the story.
  3. The War of the Wind by Victoria Williamson. An island community, a new windfarm development and some unforeseen consequences, with a diverse cast of characters. Not only does the book introduce a cast of likeable characters with additional support needs, but it provides a useful platform for discussion around renewable energy and the way we entrust ourselves to technology.
  4. Friend Me by Sheila Averbuch. Written by a technology journalist, Friend Me explores a world of cyber-bullying and Artificial Intelligence, perfect for discussions around social media and smart tech. We need more books like this!
  5. Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm. Outer space – a mysterious event leaves all the adults in sleep stasis and the colony starship veering off course. Now it’s up to the children to navigate their way home and to separate the truth from the lies, whatever the AI may tell them. Wonderful MG Science Fiction where the stakes could not be higher.

 

stem middle grade books

You can purchase Barbara’s top STEM books here.


 

rivet boy

 

Rivet Boy is available to purchase online from Amazon or from Bookshop.org.

 

Where next?
> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.

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