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Alison Powell's debut children’s book is called What’s A Girl To Do?

An author who grew up in Balderton has written her first children’s book, about girls’ career opportunities.

Alison Powell, who now lives near Cardiff, attended the former Grove School, and her parents, Billy and Judith Powell, still live in Balderton.

Her debut children’s book is called What’s A Girl To Do? It has been launched in collaboration with Aberthaw Cement of South Wales, which also owns the Barnstone Cement Plant near Bingham.

AUTHOR Alison Powell is pictured (centre) with Kara Bennett, left, and Nicola Jenkins of Tarmac, and the new book, What’s A Girl To Do.
AUTHOR Alison Powell is pictured (centre) with Kara Bennett, left, and Nicola Jenkins of Tarmac, and the new book, What’s A Girl To Do.

Alison said: “The book aims to tackle the preconceptions and prejudices that can sometimes stop girls considering careers in engineering.

“The story was inspired by my own daughter and I hope it will add something of real value to the conversations around girls and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

“It has never been more important, from both an equalities and an economic perspective, to engage girls in studying and following careers in STEM.

Alison’s daughter is 12 and she also has a ten-year-old son. She said her daughter had always been in interested in construction toys and wanted to be an engineer.

The book is an all-women collaboration, aimed at inspiring youngsters and encouraging them to not let go of their dreams.

Children from a primary school near Alison’s home were first to hear the story and meet the characters.

What’s A Girl To Do? was the dream of Tarmac Aberthaw’s environmental co-ordinator Kara Bennett, and communications consultant Nicola Jenkins, but it was after partnering with Alison, and illustrator Emily Jones, that the book was brought to life through the eyes of Ellie ­— a determined young girl who knows what she wants in life but faces negativity and obstacles along the way.

Kara said: “Having worked in heavy industry for years I am disheartened to see just how few women consider it as a career choice. This, coupled with the feedback we receive from the schoolchildren we work with through our community outreach programme, was enough for us to want to do something about it.”

What’s A Girl To Do? follows Ellie from a young age as she sets out on her quest to be an engineer, but the road isn’t easy. Her classmates think she’s odd, her best friend doesn’t understand, her brother says she can’t, and her grandad is behaving oddly.

Ellie doesn’t want to give up on her dream easily and the book follows her to see if she can make it in a world that can sometimes be negative.

Alison, who was involved with the project from the start, said: “When I was approached about this project I was delighted. As a mother of two children, I know how important it is to re-enforce positivity through all aspects of life, to challenge stereotypes, and ensure they know they can strive for any career they choose, regardless of gender, race or orientation.”

What’s A Girl To Do is suitable for children in school years two to four, and copies are available by contacting Kara Bennett on kara.bennett@tarmac.com

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