Unique Gifts for the Holidays
Part II of V
The over-hyped hubbub of Black Friday has passed, but the opportunity to buy a unique gift for that special someone remains. In this second edition of our Unique Gifts series we offer a review of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo. The memoir from the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA and rocket scientist.
When writing Path to the Stars author Sylvia Acevedo leaves no doubt about for whom the book is written and its purpose.
“I talk to young people just like you all the time - and I listen to you,” Acevedo writes to her unknown lector in the book’s introduction. “I know that even today, kids and teens are still told what you can’t do. … The worst is when you think you can’t realize your dreams at all not matter how hard you work. That’s just not true.”
Acevedo is a trailblazer, but through Path to the Stars she does something that many trailblazers do not have the opportunity to do, she retreads that trail and says, ‘look, I’ve made this trail so you don’t have to. Now you can walk along it and, perhaps, when the time is right, make your own.’
Path to the Stars is a memoir that takes lectors on a trip through Acevedo’s life from her early years in Las Cruces, New Mexico to her joining the Girl Scouts, becoming the first Latina to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
It doesn’t read like a memoir, however, as Acevedo does something that many memoirists often do not: she makes the book as accesible to adults as it is to young readers. The exchange of dialogue between a young Acevedo and her Papá, Mami, brother Mario and baby sister Laura is as vivid and energetic as any fictional tale.
That exchange of dialogue, similarly, makes the drama that unfolds within the pages of Path to the Stars all the more vivid and palpable as well.
Anyone who has dealt with a life-altering illness within their family will feel the mounting tension among the Acevedo family during Laura’s episode with meningitis. Students who have had to change schools will feel Acevedo’s mounting frustration of being outcast before she’s given a chance. And those who have gone through, are going through or will go through adolescent changes will recognize the tension building between a proud, frustrated father and his teenage daughter.
Seeing how Acevedo managed to overcome those challenges, may bring hope to those readers as well.
“I loved this book,” said one online reviewer. “I think Sylvia Acevedo’s story is one a lot of young women can easily relate to.”
Though the young years and early elementary years documented in Path to the Stars provide drama and scenarios that almost any reader can relate to in some way, it is Acevedo’s involvement with the Girls Scouts that present the pragmatic, narrative shift where Acevedo goes from the relatable girl, to becoming the trailblazer she is today.
The confidence and knowledge that Acevedo gained during those years not only serve as a ringing endorsement of the program of which she is now the CEO, but also showcase how Acevedo discovered her passion for space.
“What I love is that this book teaches the value of moving from a lack of privilege, to a place of privilege, and being able to use it to give back to those who lack opportunities or are denied chances to be included because of family life and socio-economical issues,” the reviewer continued. “I think Path to the Stars is a thoughtful memoir that I hope any younger readers check out, and hopefully they will feel inspired by Acevedo’s life as much as I did reading this book.”
With interest in space exploration at the highest levels it’s been since a 12-year-old Acevedo watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, lectors will also delight in reading how Acevedo’s Path to the Stars could someday become theirs.