Review: Girls Garage

Girls Garage
Author: Emily Pilloton
Illustrator: Kate Bingaman-Burt
Chronicle Books
Ages: Ages 14 and Up

The list goes on and on. Practically everything you can imagine needing to do around a house as well as simple roadside safety information is included in this book.

When my now 25 year old daughter graduated from high school, she did so at the top of her class, with enough college credits on her transcript to start as a junior; and, a head full of dreams. I could not have been prouder. At her first meeting with her advisor, she was greeted with, “Oh! You’re the one with all the credits coming in. Welcome!” I won’t lie. I was a really proud mama with super puffed up feathers. She would be attending my alma mater, on a full ride scholarship, to follow her passion – or so I thought.

Fast forward to the end of her second semester. She quietly walked up to me and said, “mom, I need to talk to you.” If you have kids, especially in the 18-21 age bracket, you know that a conversation that begins with that sentence is usually followed by something you would rather not have the pleasure of hearing. This time however, was a little different. She sat down and very seriously said to me: “mom, I have decided to change my major.” “To what?” I asked. With the biggest smile I had seen on her face in a while she said “ARCHITECTURE!”

When I asked what prompted the change of heart, she said she had gone with her previous major because she was afraid of failing in her true choice. A year ago, she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Interior Architecture and is now a professor at her school while pursuing further study options as well as looking for the perfect design position.

My reason for sharing this story is that so many young women are often talked out of career or job choices simply because their intended choice is “not for girls.” How I wish I had known about GIRLS GARAGE both for my daughter and for so many other girls like her.

Pilloton compiles an incredibly well informed reference guide for girls that details everything they want or need to know about how, when and what tools are used for what projects, what skills are needed to carry out intended projects, how to decide on projects, and even how to change a tire or jump start a car. The list goes on and on. Practically everything you can imagine needing to do around a house as well as simple roadside safety information is included in this book–with contributions from both mentors and students affiliated with Girls Garage.

In her introduction, Pilloton describes her passion for building and how that passion led her to start the nonprofit program called Girls Garage. She explains that she wanted to give young girls the tools to build the world they want to see. With an open and candid conversational writing style, she details how she felt working in the architecture and design world, expressing a concern that females did not have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Her organization has given girls a sense of community, camaraderie, belonging, self worth, confidence, and a physical place where they can meet to see their plans come to life.

Based in Berkeley, California, Girls Garage is a non-profit organization for girls and female-identifying youth between the ages of 9-18. Since it was founded in 2013, the members of the organization have built 133 projects ranging from furniture to be used in a domestic abuse shelter to a greenhouse for an organization that serves refugee families. You can learn more about how this organization serves and works with their community at

A very well organized, comprehensive book, it is a treasure for young girls. It would make an amazing middle-school, high-school, or even college graduation gift.

Girls Garage (Support a Local Bookstore)
Girls Garage (Hardcover at Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

My thanks to Chronicle Books for providing a Review Copy of this book. The views expressed herein are my own.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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