Wheels of Change

WoCCover01Wheels of Change
by Darlene Beck Jacobson
Publisher: Creston Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1939547132
For ages: 8 – 13


Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she’s more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she’d never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn’t know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House.


“Gr 4–6—Emily Soper is a 12-year-old who lives in a time of transformation. She sees big changes coming in Washington, DC in 1908—from women’s suffrage to the invention of the automobile. She is even going through a time of personal transition, as her mother and father begin pushing her to spend less time in her father’s barn and more time learning to be a proper lady. Resistant to amending her ways at first, Emily begins to see that it is important to have the courage to change when her father’s carriage making business is threatened by racial intolerance and the invention of the automobile. This superb work of historical fiction features a delightful protagonist and a likable cast of supporting characters. Jacobson’s writing is simple, elegant, and clever. The story’s pacing helps build to an exciting conclusion, and gives a great window into an important time in American history. Using a word game between Emily and her father, Jacobson smartly weaves in vocabulary and their definitions, without taking away from the story. The back matter also features an author’s note and recipes.”—Amanda Augsburger, Moline Public Library, IL
— School Library Journal

Reading Guide/Activities 

Click here for Wheels of Change Classroom Tools

About the Author

Darlene Beck Jacobson has loved writing since she was a girl.  Her stories have appeared in CICADA, CRICKET, and other magazines.  Darlene is a former teacher and the author of  WHEELS OF CHANGE, a MG Historical with Creston Books (2014).  Her blog features recipes, activities, and crafts for children, as well as interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators.

Check out her website at: www.darlenebeckjacobson.com    Twitter:@dustbunnymaven

Darlene loves to visit classrooms and talk to students of all ages about reading, writing, and how she became a published author.

School Visit Information

She has workshops for students from Pre-K through grade six.

Pre K and Kindergarten Level Workshop: Interactive Storytelling using puppets, props and simple games or activities or crafts to encourage audience participation.

First Grade through Third: How to Write a Story. Basic story structure and character development will be explored. Where do ideas come from, and what kind of details add interest.  Students have the opportunity to try stories of their own.

Fourth through Sixth Grades: Creative Writing Workshop allows students to create a basic story outline from start to finish and learn the importance of editing to achieve the best manuscript.

Workshops are developed using Core Curriculum Content with the classroom teachers input. Advance copies of worksheets and material will be sent to help teachers prepare for any visit. Workshops and discussion groups can be tied into her book: WHEELS OF CHANGE.  This book has a curriculum Guide for the Industrial Revolution, Core Content Study Questions, Vocabulary lists and several activity sheets.

Allow 35-40 minutes for Pre K and K storytelling, and 45-60 minutes for the writing workshops.  Fee is $150.00 for a one hour session, payable at the event.