Growing up in a time of change and hardship is never easy, especially when you’re young. Twelve-year-old Emily Soper lives in the early 1900s in Washington, D.C, a time when she was expected to be prim and proper and act accordingly. She witnesses racial and gender mayhem as well as a development of technology and tries her hardest to keep up with all of the changes.
Raised by her hard working father, a carriage maker who manages Soper Carriages, and her mother who stays home to care for the children, she grows up under the rules of the twentieth century that all girls will grow up to work in the kitchen and become proper ladies.
Gutsy and determined, and not at all like the other girls in town, Emily spent much time in her father’s carriage barn where she could get her hands dirty and experience something new and exciting, rather than the run of the mill lessons in the kitchen. Despite her admiration for her father’s work she is scolded and experiences a time when even her parents begin pushing her to follow the crowd and respect the rules of the century.
During this day and age, Emily sees how the world had transformed and witnesses the invention of the automobile, one of the true antagonists of the story and the reason why the public abandons Soper Carriages. It was at this moment when the reader realizes how much change can effect even the smallest and youngest of individuals, and how hard it is to undergo, especially if it simply isn’t one step, but a huge leap forward.
As the reader delves into the story, Emily’s plans to save her father’s business begin brewing. She is tested by many trials of courage and tries her best to save the family business while also learning how truly important it is to grow up.
‘Wheels of Change’ is not only a fabulous and authentic historical read, but also one that had me hooked from the very beginning. The storytelling is strong and vivid and invites the reader in to relate to each of the characters. It’s a classic middle grade novel that children will love reading for years to come and one daring adventure I will never forget.
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