Today, we welcome a special girl to the Castelane Blog. Emily Soper is a twelve-year old girl, growing up in Washington D.C. in 1908. She's also the main character in Darlene Beck Jacobson's new middle-grade novel "Wheels of Change."
Emily is a courageous girl who battles racism and bullies while trying to save her father's carriage business at a time when fancy new automobiles are becoming all the rage. Her adventures take her all the way to the white house!
So let's please welcome young Emily Soper to the Castelane blog and don't forget to follow the "Wheels of Change" book tour. Next stop is on October 12th, with Theresa Wallace-Pregent at: www.booksalmagundi.wordpress.com.
Castelane: What do you like best about your father’s workshop?
Emily: I love the sounds and smells that fill the place. When Henry’s hammer, and Sam’s saw start their magic, it’s like a symphony! Have you ever smelled iron, paint, varnish and fresh cut lumber? When I’m feeling blue, just those smells are enough to brighten my day.
Castelane: What are the best and worst things about learning to be a lady in 1908?
Emily: It’s hard for me to think of anything good about being a proper lady. There are so many rules for girls and women that men and boys don’t even have to think about. Women’s work is filled with boring and tedious jobs like washing, ironing, sewing, and cooking. They’re the kind of jobs that never stay done. Proper ladies aren’t supposed to do anything that’s fun!
Castelane: Do you think that automobiles will ever be more popular that carriages? Why?
Emily: It’s hard to imagine such a thing. Automobiles are noisy and spew such awful smells; they’re much too fast. Why would anyone want to ride past something so quickly you don’t get to enjoy looking at it? If you’ve never taken a ride in one of Pap’s carriages, you ought to. It’s the absolute best way to enjoy the countryside.
Castelane: Do you think that women should be able to vote? Why?
Emily: You bet I do! Voting is one of the ways women can change the things they don’t like. Even Mama thinks that might be possible one day for me. Women make up half of the population, so why shouldn’t they have a say in how the government does its business?
Castelane: What did it feel like to see your first motion picture?
Emily: It was amazing. All the pictures I saw in books were moving on the wall! But that piano player – the woman – had a special skill. She could make you sad, happy, excited, frightened, just by playing the right tune. Watching the moving pictures wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if there was no music. That nickelodeon changed my life. It made me want to be a great piano player one day.
Castelane: Why do you think that people like Mrs. Peabody look down on colored folk like Henry? Do you think you could change their minds about racism? How?
Emily: Folks like Mrs. Peabody make themselves feel bigger and more important by making others feel small, stupid and insignificant. They put on airs and act as if they own the world and everything in it. I tried changing Mrs. P’s mind at the Tea, but that ended in disaster. The only way someone like Mrs. P will ever change her mind is when she starts seeing the value in ALL human beings. If she were blind, then color wouldn’t matter would it? But, folks like Mrs. P are blind even with perfect vision. That’s a lot harder to change.
Castelane: What was the best part about meeting President Roosevelt?
Emily: He is so friendly and has the kind of smile that goes all the way up to his eyes. When he talks to you, it’s as if you’re the only two people in the room. You can tell just by looking at him that he really likes children. Some adults pretend to, but he really does.
Castelane: If you could imagine your granddaughter living in the year 2014, what message would you want to send her?
Emily: That’s more than 100 years away! It’s hard to imagine what the world might be like that far into the future. I bet there will be so many new and strange things. If I had a granddaughter, I’d tell her not to be afraid to stand up for things that are wrong. Sometimes following the rules is the coward’s way out, so if you take a chance and bend or break a rule, you could really help someone or make things better. I’m not talking about breaking the rules like a criminal. I’m talking about not following the crowd because it’s easier. Sometimes doing the hard thing is doing the right thing.
"Wheels of Change" book trailer by Castelane.
Learn more about Darlene Beck Jacobson at her website http://www.darlenebeckjacobson.com.