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Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge

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Is this book about a real woman in STEAM?

On a warm spring day in 1883, a woman rode across the Brooklyn Bridge with a rooster on her lap.

It was the first trip across an engineering marvel that had taken nearly fourteen years to construct. The woman's husband was the chief engineer, and he knew all about the dangerous new technique involved. The woman insisted she learn as well.

When he fell ill mid-construction, her knowledge came in handy. She supervised every aspect of the project while he was bedridden, and she continued to learn about things only men were supposed to know: math, science, engineering.

Women weren't supposed to be engineers.

But this woman insisted she could do it all, and her hard work helped to create one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

This is the story of Emily Roebling, the secret engineer behind the Brooklyn Bridge, from author-illustrator Rachel Dougherty.

Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52
Screen Shot 2021-01-22 at 12.09.52


Rachel Dougherty


Rachel Dougherty


Roaring Brook Press

Recommended Ages:

5 - 9 years

Emily Roebling

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Girls Love STEAM Review:

Additional Reader & Professional Reviews:

"Dougherty's lively narration of the events provides readers with an accessible, factual account of a remarkable woman's accomplishments...Inspiring."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"Dougherty's illustrations are bright and communicative, patiently illustrating the science behind the bridge's construction. Particularly delightful are the sprawling double-page spreads of the bridge's final stages, which seem to grow grander and more imposing as young Emily finds her footing and confidence. A bittersweet, stirring tale of a woman ahead of her time, with substantial back matter and a glossary for budding engineers."
-- Booklist

" An excellent choice for libraries looking to strengthen picture book biography collections about women in STEM."
-- School Library Journal

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For ages 12 and under

Parent Permission Required

For ages 13-17

For ages 18 & Above

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