In the Driver's Seat: A Girl's Guide to Her First Car by Erika Stalder

45817092Lynn: I just want to say up front that I’m starting a new campaign to make this book required reading for every teenage girl before she gets her driver’s license. In the Driver’s Seat (Zest Books, 2009) begins with this introduction, “This book will elevate you from clueless newbie to a total car star who refuses to be taken for a ride.” In an accessible chatty style, the book brings readers up to speed on important topics like how to buy a car, how a car actually works, how to maintain and repair it as well as fun things like “styling your ride.” Designed to fit into a glove box, the book’s practical information includes tips on how to be taken seriously by a mechanic and how to handle tricky driving situations. Totally geared to girls, this terrific book is much more than just a regular car book with a pink cover. It’s pretty great for grown up girls too – I’m getting one to keep in my car!

auto-shop-mamaCindy: Our school district (West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI) is fortunate to have a very talented female Industrial Arts teacher among our faculty. Robin Mamo taught in our middle school until this school year when budget cuts moved her to the high school. How lucky for our high school to get her and to have such a great role model for students both male and female. One of the classes she now teaches is Home and Auto so we gave her our review copy of the book to use with her female students. Here’s what she had to say:

I love how the book is written with humor, and without a condescending tone, which is often the case when a non-traditional subject is being taught to girls (believe me, I know this from personal experience). It’s also not “silly”, but it relates topics to real life experiences most girls will or have had. Love it!–Robin Mamo

As an example of what Robin highlights, there’s a section that talks about draining your car battery by “rocking out to your newest killer playlist while waiting to pick up your little brother from school. But like the dying hero in any daytime drama, a car battery can almost always be resuscitated in a matter of minutes.” The book then goes on to explain how to jump your car.

auto-shop-engineBesides all the practical advice in this book, I enjoyed the fun extras like the lists of female auto-centric movies (Thelma and Louise, anyone?) or the list of car-themed songs to listen to while you drive. And, I loved the historical facts about women drivers and female inventors…did you know it was a high school girl who invented the gizmo that knows to turn off your turn signal once you’ve completed your turn? And it was a woman who invented windshield wipers! This book does belong in every high school library collection, but what a great gift book it would be for new girl drivers (along with a gas gift card!).

nonfictionmondayThanks to Lost Between the Pages for hosting this week’s Nonfiction Monday blog round-up.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "In the Driver's Seat: A Girl's Guide to Her First Car by Erika Stalder"

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  1.' Postma says:

    I really could have used this book! Thanks Mrs. Mamo, Mrs. Dobrez and Mrs. Rutan for sharing this must read for our new teen drivers!

  2. Although I work in a library, this may be one book that I have to buy, not borrow. It will make a great birthday present for my daughter.

  3.' Anna says:

    I really wish I had this book when I bought my first car. Wow! I’m ordering it for our library. It’s really funny…I never hear about the girls getting their driver’s license but I always hear the boys talking about it…

  4.' Susan says:

    I have 5 (yes, FIVE) daughters, two of whom are driving age, and the very next purchase I make will be 3 copies of this book! (One for mom of course)

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