March 23

What Does a Human Calculator Read? by Ginger Rue

Recently, I was talking with my awesome co-author, Tiera Fletcher, about the kinds of books we enjoyed reading when we were children.


I first met Tiera when I interviewed her for a magazine article. The story told about how Tiera became the amazing woman she is today. Before graduating from MIT with a 5.0 GPA and going on to work with NASA as a rocket scientist on the Mars mission, Tiera started out as…


A calculator!


As a little girl, Tiera would accompany her parents and siblings grocery shopping. Her mom and dad had previously scoured the sales fliers to know what deals they were looking for, and they came ready with coupons. As each item was added to the cart, little Tiera kept a running total of how much money they were spending. She’d mentally calculate the cost of each item, taking into account the sale price, minus the coupon savings, plus sales tax. When they got to the checkout line, her parents would ask Tiera for the total. Tiera would then amaze the checkout clerk by announcing the final price of the groceries before the register did.


I know, right?! As someone who thanked her lucky stars for a C in high school geometry, I can’t even!


And yet, somehow, Tiera and I recently found ourselves on the subject of…fairies! I was telling her how I had loved stories about fairies when I was a little girl. When Tiera told me that she had adored the Tales of Pixie Hollow series, I guess I was a little surprised. Maybe I’d thought that STEM geniuses sat around reading scientific dissertations for fun. But Tiera told me that, as a little girl, she also loved the Disney princess books, The Chronicles of Narnia series, and Dr. Seuss books.


Granted, she also read a lot of nonfiction books for fun. She even read an entire kids’ dictionary! She just liked learning things.


Still, it’s kind of neat to know that books about fairies and magic and faraway places aren’t just for us future English majors.


When I think more about it, it makes sense. A scientist who understands things can offer a lot to the world, but a scientist who understands things AND has the imagination to dream beyond what the world already knows? That person is on track to be a world changer.


And, really, what are books for if not to inspire us to dream?


Wonder Women of Science, by Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue, is now available for pre-order. The book profiles a dozen amazing women (besides Tiera!) who are blazing new trails in their respective STEM fields. 


>Tiera Fletcher is an award-winning aerospace engineer who was hired by NASA directly after graduating from MIT. While working to send humans to Mars and inspire others to achieve their dreams, she was featured in a North Face ad campaign, “Tiera Moves Mountains.” She travels the world with her family.


<Ginger Rue is an author and a contributing editor for Guideposts magazine. She lives in Alabama with her husband and their blended family


Download the teachers’ guide.

Download the author’s note.