How Emily Saved the Bridge
How Emily Saved the Bridge
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Annotation: Presents the amazing story of Emily Warren Roebling, the woman who stepped in to oversee the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge (completed in 1883), after her husband, the chief engineer, fell ill.
Genre: Engineering
Catalog Number: #192680
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Nelson, Natalie,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-7730-6104-6
ISBN 13: 978-1-7730-6104-7
Dewey: 921
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Wishinsky's straightforward, text-heavy picture-book biography places particular emphasis on Roebling's critical role in bringing her husband's engineering feat, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, to completion after he fell ill. Taking inspiration from nineteenth-century newspapers, Nelson's collage illustrations draw from photographs, giving the book an air of historical authenticity. Speech bubbles with imagined dialogue make Roebling and her milieu accessible to today's readers. Reading list. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
In mid-19th-century America, Emily Warren's desire to learn was considered an anomaly.But she had the support of her family. Her older brother enrolled her in a school where she studied sciences, mathematics, history, and more. After graduation she married engineer Washington Roebling, who, with his father, John, faced the challenge of designing and building a suspension bridge to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn. During construction, John died as the result of an accident, and Washington developed caisson disease and was so disabled that he couldn't walk or stand. He continued to oversee the project while Emily became its de facto engineer, learning along the way, directing workers on-site and winning their respect, and coping with every aspect of construction. She was certainly not an unsung heroine and was given the honor of being the first to cross the completed bridge. An unnamed modern woman of color introducing Emily's spirit and determination to her child narrates the tale in accessible, conversational syntax, including her accomplishments in later life when she became a lawyer and wrote of equal rights for women. Nelson's lively, colorful illustrations combine digital collage incorporating contemporary photos with cartoon drawings complete with imagined dialogue in speech balloons. Oddly, Emily (white, as are the Roeblings) is depicted throughout with a very red nose and heavily rouged cheeks.A strong and honest homage to a remarkable woman. (additional facts, suggested reading, sources, author's note) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)
Publishers Weekly
Wishinsky begins her story of Emily Warren Roebling with a modern mother and child crossing the Brooklyn Bridge: -Emily Roebling inspired me to become an engineer.- In 19th-century New York, the text explains, girls were told that they shouldn-t study math or science-a suggestion that Roebling pointedly rejected. Roebling marries an engineer who begins designing a bridge to span the East River; when he becomes ill, she educates herself in engineering and design in order to assume her husband-s role. Wishinsky details the missteps and triumphs of the bridge-s construction, while Nelson illustrates in an eclectic collage art style with paper doll-like characters and playfully skewed perspective. Roebling-s story doesn-t end with the bridge-s completion: -In 1899, she graduated in law from New York University. She was fifty-six years old. Her final essay focused on equal rights for women.- Ages 7-10. (May)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Emily Warren Roebling once again gets her moment in the sun in this year's second picture-book bio of the bridge builder extraordinaire. Though raised in a world of privilege, even attending Georgetown University (a feat all too uncommon for women), Emily finds that she is still encouraged to learn needlepoint rather than numbers. When a series of calamities befalls the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, Emily is enlisted by her ailing husband, Washington Roebling, to follow through on the bridge's completion. Though underestimated, Emily proves herself up to the challenge t just of undertaking an engineering feat of monumental proportions but also of standing up to conventions of her time. Wishinsky's quippy dialogue and well-researched storytelling capture the passion and intelligence of the extraordinary Emily, continuing past the bridge's construction to Emily's later years as a law-school graduate and women's-rights activist. Nelson's whimsical cut-paper collages, an interplay of bright blocks of color and black-and-white photography, capture a rapidly growing city in the flux of modernization. Particularly delightful for those with a keen eye for detail: cheekily hidden on each page is the victorious rooster that Emily carried as a sign of victory on her ceremonial crossing of the completed bridge. Back matter offers more resources and a handful of additional facts. Another win for the ladies of STEM.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (4/1/19)
Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: 1-4
Lexile: 930L

The Brooklyn Bridge, the iconic suspension bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, was completed in 1883. It is thanks to Emily Warren Roebling that the bridge was finished at all. Emily was not an engineer, but she was educated in math and science. She married Washington Roebling, the chief engineer of the famous bridge. When Washington became ill from decompression sickness, Emily stepped in, doing everything from keeping the books, to carrying messages for her husband, to monitoring the construction of the bridge. She was the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened. Emily, who went on to study law among many other accomplishments, is an inspiration to all, as demonstrated through Frieda Wishinsky's informative and engaging text and Natalie Nelson's distinctive collage illustrations. Speech bubbles revealing imagined dialogue add a playful note to this historical account, which includes fascinating facts about the Brooklyn Bridge and a further reading list.

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