A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Acevedo credits Girl Scouts with giving her confidence, skills needed to dream big, so it's not surprising she wants to introduce the organization to readers who may know little or nothing about it. Acevedo gives an insider look at what it's like to be part of a Brownie or Girl Scout troop -- everything from what's involved in earning badges (a Science badge started her on her way to career as engineer) to the life lessons learned from selling cookies (planning, persistence, creating your own opportunities).
You can dream big and make those dreams come true.
Positive Role Models
While Sylvia is obvious role model, her mother is also a powerful example of perseverance, determination. An immigrant from Mexico, she was raised in a culture that believed a husband always made decisions. But when her husband refused to move to neighborhood with better schools, she wouldn't back down. She learned English, studied for and passed her citizenship exam. Inspired by confidence Sylvia was building through participation in Girl Scouts, her mother became a volunteer, learning to run a successful cookie sale, even forming a troop for girls from a school for children with special needs.
Violence & Scariness
Sylvia's father had a temper; she reveals that he sometimes hit his wife and children. She describes an incident in which she refused to address him as "sir" and he hit her repeatedly with a belt. Another time she and her older brother stop her father from hitting their 4-year-old brother.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sylvia Acevedo's memoir, A Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, chronicles her life from a childhood in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the 1960s and '70s to becoming one of the few female rocket scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Acevedo describes growing up first in a close-knit Latino community filled with extended family and then in a neighborhood and school where she was one of the few Latino students and she struggled to fit in. While her parents put a high value on education, it was still a time when expectations for girls centered around marriage and family rather than career. She writes at length about her years as a Brownie and then a Girl Scout and credits the organization with giving her the confidence and encouragement she needed to fulfill her dream of going to college and becoming an engineer. Readers may be shocked when Acevedo reveals late in the story that her father sometimes hit his wife and children and describes the time he repeatedly hit her with a belt. Acevedo is currently the CEO of the Girls Scouts of the USA.
Is It Any Good?
This compelling and deeply personal autobiography of a pioneering Latina rocket scientist is sure to inspire any young girl who's an aspiring scientist or engineer. Path to the Stars focuses primarily on Acevedo's elementary and junior high years, and some readers may be disappointed that Acevedo didn't write more about her life in and after college.
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