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Wheels of Change
By Darlene Beck Jacobson
In 1908, Emily fights racists, and sweeping progress to save Papa’s carriage business at the dawn of the automobile.

Racial intolerance, social change, sweeping progress. It is a turbulent time growing up in 1908. For twelve year old EMILY SOPER, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic. Emily is more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer, than trying to conform to the proper expectations of females. Many prominent people own Papa’s carriages. He receives an order to make one for President Theodore Roosevelt. Papa’s livelihood becomes threatened by racist neighbors, and horsepower of a different sort. Emily is determined to save Papa’s business even if she has to go all the way to the President.








“Sparkling writing, meticulous research, and a brave, bright girl who learns which changes in her world truly matter”
-Joanne Rocklin – Author of ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET

“A moving and quietly beautiful story whose simple surface hides deep lessons.”
Kermit Roosevelt – Great-great grandson of TR and Author of IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAW

“The superbly researched WOC is an engaging peek at a pivotal transition from carriage to car. Young readers will delight in the character of Emily Soper, a plucky girl facing change with an iron will.”
Janet Fox – Author of FORGIVEN, SIRENS

“Courage in the face of life-altering changes, both large and small, is at the heart of this captivating novel. Brimming with life-like characters and vivid historical details, readers will cheer for gutsy twelve year old Emily as she goes from one adventure to the next, finding her place in an ever changing world.”
Gabrielle Casieri – Lawrenceville Intermediate School Media Specialist, Lawrenceville, NJ

“WOC is a wonderful, heart-warming story that captures a pivotal time in history. Using her own family’s story, Darlene Beck Jacobson shows how people struggle with, and overcome, change.”
Bronwen Sanders – Curator of the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum, Mifflinburg, PA

“Emily is a brave girl with big dreams for the future in a time when girls’ futures were limited.”
Kendall Lockhart – 4th Grade student

Read an Excerpt

Henry’s hammer hits iron – ping, pa-ping. Its music feels warm against my chest, like a wool sweater. A blacksmith is a magician. To bend iron like clay and make it hard again is the best trick.

“Is this carriage really for John Phillip Sousa, the composer of all those peppy marching tunes?” I ask Henry.

“One and the same, Miss Emily.”

“Mr. Sousa must want the best carriage he can find,” I say.

Henry chuckles. “He’ll get that sure enough.”

Papa is owner of the Soper Carriage Works and makes the fanciest, most expensive carriages in Washington, DC. I keep an eye out for him, since he would send me home, saying that the barn is no place for a young lady. The truth is, it's the perfect place for me.

I dance across the sawdust-covered floor past Sam, Papa’s woodworker. His saw hums like a busy beehive, slicing planks of wood. I pick up handfuls of the slivers, inhaling their fresh-cut fragrance. The slivers stick to my sweaty palms; I wipe my hands on my dress to loosen them. The slivers stick there as well, like they’ve found a home. Mama would frown at my soot-and-sawdust gown. I duck behind a post, breathing in the sweet wood and varnish smells.

Middle Grade Historical Fiction 180 pages Publisher: Creston Books

Release Date: September 23, 2014 ISBN: 978-1939547132

Book Trailer
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About the Author

Darlene Beck Jacobson has loved writing since she was a girl. She wrote letters to everyone she knew and made up stories in her head. Although she never wrote to a president, she sent many letters to pop stars of the day asking for photos and autographs. She loves bringing the past to life in stories such as WHEELS OF CHANGE, her debut novel.

Darlene’s stories have appeared in CICADA,CRICKET, and other magazines. When not writing, Darlene enjoys baking, sewing and tea parties.

Her blog features recipes, activities, crafts and interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators. She still loves writing and getting letters. Check out her website at: www.darlenebeckjacobson.com

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