This computer scientist is replacing fairy-tale princesses with female engineers

September 12, 2018

Komal SinghWhat do you do if you’re a successful female software engineer at Google, and your four-year-old daughter tells you: “Engineers are boys”? For self-proclaimed techie Komal Singh, the solution was to pick up her pen. Her first children’s book, Ara the Star Engineer, puts curious, tech-minded girls and women in the spotlight, all the while demystifying engineering and computer coding. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Singh to deliver this sweet and inspiring tale of curiosity, persistence and success to young readers.

The book introduces readers to Ara, a girl with a love of numbers, who wants to count all the stars in the sky. She and her sidekick, a droid named DeeDee, head to the Innovation Plex (inspired by Google’s GooglePlex headquarters) for help. There, they meet a diverse cast of tech superheroes to guide them along the steps to success: the Tenacious Troubleshooter, Intrepid Innovator, Code Commander and Prolific Problem Solver. Not only are these superheroes all women—they’re also all real-life engineers and programmers working at Google.

Singh herself is a trailblazer. She grew up in India, where she was among a minority of women studying Computer Science at Delhi University. She completed a Master’s in Computer Science from SFU in Burnaby, B.C. before stepping into her role at Google’s Kitchener-Waterloo headquarters. While her book will be released in October, it’s already garnering attention. The Globe and Mail recently featured an interview with Singh, in which she talks about her drive to write stories featuring female engineers and inventors, rather than the fairy-tale princesses that appear in so many story books for young girls.

Googlers, too, are embracing Ara and her creator. They’re developing immersive experiences, hands-on activities and learning resources that will bring the character to life, and encourage young kids to explore the magic of science, technology and engineering. We can’t wait for kids of all ages and genders to meet Ara, and be inspired to make their own discoveries.