Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Recommended: 12 and up
Wheels of Change was an extraordinary book about a family trying to cope with the changing world and the technology revolution of the time. The author developed the main character of the book really well. The book also does a really good job of introducing kids to issues of women’s suffrage and racial discrimination, both of which were prevalent in early 1900s. I did find some parts of the story a little repetitive, but otherwise the book is very well-written.
This book fit my 2015 Reading Challenge category of: “A book you can finish in a day.”
(This was another recommendation from #AMightyGirl reading list.)
Emily Soper is a unique girl who wants to live her dream. However, women in the early 1900s aren’t allowed to pursue their dreams- instead they are taught how to be “lady-like.” Emily loves spending time at her father’s barn which also serves as the workshop for her father’s carriage-making business and nothing can keep Emily away from the forge. There are two other people who work at her father’s business: Henry, an African-American blacksmith, and Sam, their Caucasian neighbor, both of whom are like brothers to Emily. She also has a younger brother, William, who is really very naughty but their mother never says anything to him.
The story is set in a time when automobiles are just starting to be produced, and Emily and her family fear that their business will be shut down due to the decrease in demand for carriages. However, President Roosevelt orders a carriage from Emily’s father which turns out to be one of their biggest projects. This boosts the family’s faith in their business and the Sopers’ start to believe that their luck could take a turn for the better.
However, Henry falls sick with pneumonia and is sent home to his family. The new hire at the forge strongly dislikes African-Americans and believes that African-Americans should not be able to work or mingle with Caucasians. To show his anger, the new hire burns the almost-completed carriage for the President. This puts Emily’s father behind schedule and he doesn’t have time to spare. Emily offers to help but her father declines, saying that it is not proper for young ladies to work in the forge. Now, it will take a miracle to help the Sopers- a miracle that they don’t possess…
Will Emily’s father let her help him? Will the President’s carriage be completed?
If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here: Wheels of Change