AN all-woman collaboration has led to the launch of an inspirational children’s book.

What’s a girl to do? was the dream of Tarmac Aberthaw’s environmental co-ordinator, Kara Bennett, and communications consultant, Nicola Jenkins – but it was after partnering with local author Alison Powell and illustrator, Emily Jones, that the book was brought to life through the eyes of Ellie, a determined young girl who knows what she wants in life but faces negativity and obstacles along the way.

Vale AM Jane Hutt and pupils from Rhws Primary were first to hear the story at the launch in Rhoose Community Library on June 21.

Kara explains how the idea was formed: “Having worked in heavy industry for years I’m disheartened to see just how few women consider it a career choice. This, coupled with the feedback from the schoolchildren we work with through our community outreach programme, was enough for us to want to do something about it.

“What’s a girl to do follows Ellie as she sets out on her quest to be an engineer – but the road isn’t easy. Her classmates think she’s odd, her best friend, Flo, doesn’t understand, her brother says she can’t, and her grandad is behaving strangely. Ellie doesn’t want to give up on her dream and the book sees if she can make it in a world that can be so negative.”

Penarth author Alison Powell has been involved from the project’s beginning and helped bring Ellie and her family and friends to life.

Ms Powell said: “When I was approached I was delighted – as a mother of two children, I know how important it is to re-enforce positivity through all aspects of life, to challenge stereotypes and ensure they know they can strive for any career they choose, regardless of gender, race or orientation.”

Evan, a year two Rhws Primary pupil, said: “I loved the bit in the story where Ellie got a job. People didn’t think she could be an engineer, but she proved them wrong. We can do what we want when we work hard.”

What’s a girl to do? will be distributed to schools across the area and copies from the initial print run, funded by Tarmac Cement and Lime, can be requested by emailing