A Mighty Girl's top picks of children's books about real-life women of science and fictional stories about girls who love science!
We don't always think about it, but every child is a scientist! From the moment she pushes a spoon off her high chair to see what happens or starts asking, "why?" to everything, she's started on a long and exciting lifetime of discovery. As time goes on, though, kids can be discouraged from this natural interest and come to believe that science is too complicated for kids -- so it's especially important to nurture that spirit of curiosity from a young age!
One great way to encourage a child's interest in science is by showing them role models of kids — particularly girls — in STEM fields. In fictional stories, they can see faces that match their own: kids who are turning their ingenious minds to investigating questions and solving problems using the scientific method. And, through non-fiction, they can learn about curious children just like them who grew up to make amazing scientific discoveries.
To that end, in this blog post, we've shared many of our favorite books for all ages about girls and women who love science, engineering, and math! In the first part of the post, you'll find many inspiring books about real-life female scientists, while in the second part, you can discover many fictional stories about curious, inventive Mighty Girls. From beautifully illustrated picture books to fascinating teen biographies, these titles show the importance of scientific curiosity and celebrate the scientific progress that we owe to women in science both past and present. They're the perfect choice to inspire budding young scientists!
And, for science toys and kits to further support her interests, we've shared many recommendations in two blog posts, Hands-On Learning: Top Science Toys for Mighty Girls and Building Her Dreams: Building and Engineering Toys for Mighty Girls.
True Stories: Biographies About Real-Life Female Scientists
Young Ada Lovelace had a phenomenal talent for math — and as the child of a noble household, she had plenty of time to study. As a young adult, she met the inventor Charles Babbage, who had created an early mechanical computer. Lovelace's work with Babbage not only helped him develop his machine; it also predicted today's computer age, making her the world's first computer programmer! This board book adaptation of Ada Lovelace (Little People, Big Dreams) is perfect for introducing Lovelace's story to the littlest readers. You can also find volumes from this board book series featuring Jane Goodall and Marie Curie.
Who knew that the young girl who carried a stuffed chimpanzee would redefine the meaning of human and force us to reconsider our stewardship of the planet? In this charming story of Jane Goodall's childhood, readers learn how she first developed her interest in the natural world — as well as her patience when observing animals in their own environment, which she practiced on her family's chickens! This inspirational picture book biography includes a picture of Goodall with the chimps at Gombe to show how she realized her dreams, as well as back matter about Goodall's environmental work. Fans of Goodall will also want to check out The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps for ages 4 to 8.
Mae Jemison famously became the first black woman in space on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992 but years before that historic journey, she was a little girl who dreamed of dancing in space. Her mother told her, "If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible." Little Mae's curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents' encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA. This inspirational introduction to a trailblazing astronaut will encourage children to reach for the stars and never give up on their dreams.
In the Middle Ages, people believed that caterpillars were spontaneously generated from muck and mud, but even as a child, Maria Merian disagreed! As a young woman naturalist and artist, she watched and illustrated as caterpillars spun their cocoons, rested within, and emerged as "summer birds" — moths and butterflies. Her remarkable illustrations proved an astounding natural process: metamorphosis. This joyful and vibrant picture book biography aptly captures the passion Merian had for the beauties and wonders of the natural world. For another picture book about Merian, we recommend The Bug Girl: Maria Merian's Scientific Mission for ages 5 to 9. Tweens can learn more about Merian in the biography The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science for ages 10 to 13.
From the moment she saw a shark at the New York Aquarium, Eugenie Clark was fascinated, but the rest of the world thought that sharks were mindless eating machines — and that girls couldn't be scientists. Clark devoted her life to learning about sharks, and proved that sharks weren't as dangerous as people feared. She even proved they could learn! She also built public support for the protection of her beloved sharks and the ocean in which they lived. This picture book biography of the "Shark Lady" is a celebration of a daring woman who changed the way the world saw one of the ocean's most famous inhabitants. For another book about Clark, check out Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark for ages 5 to 8.
When Marie Curie was a girl, nobody believed that women could be scientists. Her curiosity and determination knew no bounds, however, and she pursued higher education — first at a secret school for women scientists called the Flying University, and then by leaving her home in Poland and traveling to France. The determined woman changed attitudes to women in science, and she remains the only person ever to win Nobel Prizes in two different scientific disciplines! This inspiring look at Curie's life and work from the best-selling Ordinary People Change the World series makes one of history's great scientists come to life.
As a young girl swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, Sylvia Earle developed a passion for the sea and the life within it. As an adult, she would design new submersibles, swim with the whales, and do deep-water walks in special dive suits. Throughout, Earle has explored one of the most mysterious places still left on Earth: our vast oceans. And as Time Magazine's first Hero for the Planet — who is affectionately referred to as the Sturgeon General by colleagues — she is one of the most passionate voices for protecting what she calls "the blue heart of the planet." This exquisite picture book biography will fascinate young readers and spark their interest in learning more about Earle and the ocean she strives to protect.
Elizabeth Blackwell didn’t want to be a wife, or a teacher, or a seamstress: she wanted to be a doctor! But in the 1830s, that just wasn't something women did. Elizabeth wasn't swayed, though: when people told her she wasn’t smart enough, or strong enough, she knew better. She fought her way past detractors and skeptics to attend medical school, and not only was she the first woman to graduate from a medical degree in the US, she became the first woman to join the UK Medical Register. Her brilliant career would become an inspiration for generations of women after her. With its colorful art and inspiring tone, this is sure to be a favorite for would-be doctors everywhere.
When Henrietta Swan Leavitt was hired by the Harvard College Observatory, it wasn't to observe the skies herself: instead, she was hired as a human "computer," and set to studying photographic plates that male colleagues had taken at the telescope. She spent years measuring star positions and sizes and, over time, discovered that certain stars had a fixed pattern to their changes — a discovery that allowed astronomers to understand the true size of the universe and brought Leavitt recognition as a pioneer of astronomical science. Award-winning artist Raul Colon's illustrations particularly shine in this appealing picture book biography.
This captivating picture book tells the story of Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee scientist who turned her love of nature into a career that both revolutionized our understanding of what it means to be human and opened the door for generations of female scientists after her. From her childhood escapades, hiding in the family chicken coop so she could see a hen lay an egg first hand, to her decades of research in Africa, this book shows how Goodall turned her natural talents into a career that changed the world.Filled with colorful illustrations, this volume from the Ordinary People Change The World Collection strikes a wonderful balance between information and inspiration and sends a strong message to kids about the importance of determination in achieving your goals.
As a child, Clara Barton struggled with shyness and fear... but her beloved brother insisted that she would find a way to change the world. When he suffered a terrible injury, Clara helped him recover — and found her life's work. Clara Barton would go on to become a teacher, a nurse on the front lines of the Civil War, and the founder of the American Red Cross. This Step Into Reading level 3 early reader biography of this inspiring role model will encourage young readers to face their own fears and follow their dreams.
Over two hundred years ago, a young girl who gathered seashells to supplement her family's income made an astounding discovery! Mary Anning, the discoverer of the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton, would become famous not only for her incredible luck — she also found two complete plesiosaur skeletons, the first pterosaur skeleton outside of Germany, and many important fossils of fish — but also for her observations that changed the way people thought about prehistoric life. This picture book biography captures Anning's determination, intelligence, and patience at a time when no women could fully participate in the scientific world.
Meg Lowman was a shy child who rarely spoke in school — but she adored the natural world, and particularly the trees and the many organisms that lived in their branches and leaves. So she decided she wanted to become a scientist and study the canopies in the rain forest. There were many obstacles in her way, from the inaccessibility of the treetops to the sexism she faced in the scientific community to the logging and clearing that threatened this precious ecosystem. But Lowman persevered, and "Canopy Meg" not only created her own future, but helped ensure the rainforests had a future too. With vibrant illustrations (that conceal fascinating facts about rainforests in their leafy designs) and text drafted with the help of Lowman herself, this picture book is a detailed and exciting portrait of a pioneering scientist and the incredible world she loves.
Ellen Ochoa dreamed of playing her flute professionally — until she discovered engineering in college and was immediately hooked. People doubted whether she could succeed: a girl from an immigrant family wasn't the right sort of person to become a scientist, they thought. She refused to believe them, and not only did she achieve her career in science, but she even became a NASA astronaut. And when she flew into outer space, her flute came with her, so she could play a song for the stars! This appealing biography from the Amazing Scientists series is a colorful tribute to this daring scientist and musician.
As a girl, Emily Roebling was an eager learner — but girls didn't need to know math and science, and certainly not engineering. As an adult, her husband had an ambitious plan for a bridge that would "link Manhattan and Brooklyn," and when construction began, Roebling insisted on learning more about it. And when her husband fell ill, she stepped in, supervising every aspect of the project, and ensuring that the Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York's most iconic landmarks, was finished. This picture book biography celebrates the secret engineer who refused to give up on an architectural wonder.
Like many young girls of her time, Joan Procter hosted pretend tea parties... but unlike the other girls, she invited lizards, snakes, and other reptiles to her table! Joan loved all reptiles, and she became famous for carrying her favorite lizard everywhere she went, and even bringing a crocodile to school! When Joan grew up, she found her place: Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum, and the designer of the Reptile House at the London Zoo, where she once again hosted children's tea parties — this time with her pet komodo dragon! This lively biography of a groundbreaking, lizard-loving scientist is sure to delight young readers.
In 1818, Jeanne Power was a former dressmaker who became a self-taught naturalist after moving from Paris to Sicily. She was fascinated by the life forms in the ocean — but while it was easy to study animals on land, how could she study the ones in the sea? Power built a glass box — an aquarium — that she could use to examine aquatic creatures, and she made groundbreaking discoveries doing so! And even when men tried to take credit for her work, she argued her case and made sure she got her due. This vibrant picture book biography celebrates a little known pioneer of science whose legacy lives on in every aquarium found in homes, research facilities, and zoos around the world.
Katherine Johnson loved to count, and despite the prejudices against both women and African Americans, she was determined to find a way to make her love of math into a career. As one of NASA's "human computers," Johnson hand calculated elaborate equations... including the trajectories that helped launch the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. When disaster befell the Apollo 13 mission, it was Johnson's flight-path calculations that brought the astronauts safely home. This inspiring biography of the mathematician catapulted to fame by Hidden Figures celebrates a love of math and encourages kids to follow their passions. For another picture book about Johnson and her colleagues, check out Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race.
Wu Chien Shiung's name meant "Courageous Hero," and her parents supported her in achieving her dreams: at a time when most girls in China didn't attend school, they encouraged her love of science. When she faced prejudice, they urged her to "Just put your head down and/ keep walking forward." Wu would end up traveling to the US, where her work on parity and beta decay helped drive physics forward — but because of prejudice against both her race and her sex, she was overlooked for both promotions and the Nobel Prize. This bittersweet but inspiring biography from the People Who Shaped Our World series introduces young readers to a little-known trailblazing women in physics.
June Almeida loved science, even as a young girl growing up in Glasgow, Scotland. But even though she was a top student, her family struggled financially and she had to leave school at the age of 16. She was determined, though, to find a way to pursue a scientific career and she was hired by a local hospital to work in its lab. There, she proved that she had an incredible talent for using a microscope to examine cells, making discoveries that helped doctors treat patients. And after years of working with electron microscopes and identifying viruses, she made a very special discovery — the first human coronavirus! This fascinating picture book, which includes a timeline and photos of June and her historic virus photographs in the back matter, celebrates a pioneering virologist whose groundbreaking work continues to help researchers today in the fight against illnesses caused by viruses, including COVID-19.
From the time she was very young, Maria Mitchell loved looking at the stars. With the encouragement of her father — even though she found her schooling difficult — she studied astronomy, and devoted her nights to sweeping the sky with her telescope. And then, one day, she saw something new: a comet! "Miss Mitchell's Comet" won this trailblazing astronomer international fame that led to her becoming America's first female professional astronomer. Lyrical text and luminous illustrations celebrate a star-gazing scientist who helped set the stage for generations of women after her.
Grace Hopper was a software tester, a creative inventor, and a top-notch mentor — but she was also a famous rule-breaker, risk-taker, and sometimes a real trouble-maker! In this riveting picture book biography of the woman nicknamed "Amazing Grace," author Laurie Wallmark captures the determination and cleverness of the woman who invented the COBOL computer language, allowing people to "talk" to computers with typed commands. Fun anecdotes — like the time she found a literal bug in the computer — provide a glimpse into the extraordinary life of this accomplished woman, who knew that quick thinking and insatiable curiosity were the key to pushing a (sometimes reluctant) world forward.
As a shy young woman, Rachel Carson found joy and purpose in studying the creatures all around her. Her articles and books about marine life made her a best-selling author, but it was her groundbreaking book Silent Spring, about the effects of the pesticide DDT on wild animals and birds, that turned her into a household name — and helped found the modern environmental movement. Written for the fiftieth anniversary of Silent Spring's publication, this thoughtful picture book shows how a quiet and dedicated scientist changed the way people thought of their effects on the Earth. For two more picture books about Carson, check out Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder for ages 4 to 8 and Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson for ages 5 to 9. Middle grade readers interested in learning more about Carson can check out Who Was Rachel Carson? for ages 8 to 12.
When Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden joined NASA, they were hired as "human computers" — their mathematical genius was put to use calculating launch trajectories for America's first trips to space. They overcame both racism and sexism, carved out careers in science, and participated in some of NASA's greatest triumphs. Fans of the Hidden Figures movie will be excited to share this picture book adaptation of the story of these groundbreaking women mathematicians with younger readers!
Florence Merriam Bailey loved birds: she adored spending time outside, watching and listening to her feathered friends. But when she grew up, she learned that most ornithologists of her day studied birds that had been stuffed and mounted, and never set foot outside their labs except to trap even more birds. Bailey proposed the modern system of birdwatching, even writing one of the first field guides to American birds, Birds Through An Opera-Glass. She was also an advocate for conservation, encouraging women to refuse to wear feathers in their fashion and fighting for laws that protected wild spaces. Author Andrea D'Aquino's elegant text and gorgeous collage illustrations tell the story of this pioneering scientist and how her innovative perspective changed the world.
11-year-old Venetia Burney becomes fascinated by the planets after her school's "planet walk," where they place objects to represent the known planets. Then she learns something exciting: a new planet has been discovered, and they're still choosing a name! Venetia draws on her knowledge of Roman mythology and suggests the name Pluto for this planet that spends its time in the dark... and her grandfather loves the idea so much that he writes to the scientists who discover it. And they conclude that Pluto is the perfect name! This charming picture book reminds kids that the spark of curiosity can strike any time — and that anyone can make a contribution to science.
Doctors told Temple Grandin's mother that she'd never speak, let alone have a productive life. But her mother refused to believe it: she saw potential in her observant and creative child. As Temple grew, she learned to articulate how her mind worked: her astounding visual memory allowed her to draw whole blueprints from just one tour through a facility, and her empathy with animals helped her design spaces that helped them stay calm. Today, she is a powerful voice in science, advocating for autistic people like herself. This picture book biography told in rhyming text, the first book in the Amazing Scientists series, is an inspiring introduction to an important figure in scientific history. For another picture book about Grandin, we recommend How to Build A Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine for ages 5 to 9. Older kids can read about Grandin's story in Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World for ages 9 to 14.
When Nancy Grace Roman was a girl, she dreamed of studying the stars. No matter what challenges she faced, whether she was struggling with weak eyesight or being told studying science wasn't "ladylike," she persisted and became an astronomer... and that was just the beginning. As the chief of astronomy at NASA, she had an idea: a telescope in orbit which would finally allow her and other astronomers to look deeper into the reaches of space than anyone had ever imagined. This elegant picture book biography of the "Mother of Hubble," complete with extensive back matter, is a must-read book for kids who love the stars!
As a child growing up in Austria, Hedy Lamarr wanted to know how everything worked — she even took apart her toys! But she also loved acting out her favorite scenes from movies. As an adult, the world knew Hedy Lamarr as a glamorous movie star, but she had a secret: she was also an inventor. And in the middle of World War II, she created an invention for the U.S. Navy that would become the foundation for some of today's most important technologies, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS! Author / illustrator pair Laurie Wallmark and Katie Wu, creators of Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, team up once again for this compelling introduction to a little-known scientific talent.
As a child, Gwen Frostic suffered a mysterious illness that left her with symptoms similar to cerebral palsy, but she didn't let that stop her from filling her life with science and art. She loved nature, and she had both a creative gift and a knack for building. As an adult, she set up her own metal shop, and became one of the first people to experiment with plastic for creating art. Then, during World War II, with no metal to spare for her shop, she became a tool and die drafts person, helping build bomber planes — one of the few women in the job. This engaging picture book tells Frostic's story of combining art, nature, and engineering into a creative life unlike any other.
Caroline Herschel was born to a family where girls weren't expected to amount to much — especially once she ended up scarred by smallpox and stunted by typhus. Her family used her as a scullery maid, but her brother William saw her promise, so when he left for England, he took her with him. Together, the astronomy-loving brother and sister built the greatest telescope of their age, which Caroline used to discover fourteen nebulae and two galaxies. She even became the first woman to discover a comet — and the first woman officially employed as a scientist. This picture book biography of the groundbreaking astronomer will inspire kids with her spirit of curiosity and resilience.
When Evelyn Cheesman grew up at the end of the 1800s, a proper English girl stayed neat and tidy; instead, she dug through grubby fields and forests, tracking down her beloved bugs. At a time when girls were expected to marry and raise children, she decided to pursue a career in science. She was hired to care for the insect house at the London Zoo and revitalized the exhibits, filling them with live specimens for visitors to admire! In the early 1920s, when women were expected to stay home, she went on multiple solo expeditions to distant islands, collecting over 70,000 specimens and discovering new species. This exuberant biography of a bug-loving pioneering scientist celebrates those who follow their passions and blaze their own trails.
As a 7-year-old during WWII, Raye Montague toured a captured German submarine and immediately set her sights on becoming an engineer. Little did she know that sexism and racism would challenge her dream every step of the way. Raye ended up working at the US Navy as a typist, studying engineering at night. One day, when all the engineers were sick with the flu, she astonished everyone by completing all of their work. She went on to become the first person to design a ship on a computer and the Navy's first female ship designer. This inspiring picture book from the Amazing Scientists series celebrates a pioneer who changed ship design forever.
Thanks to her mathematically talented mother, Anne Isabella Byron, young Ada had the opportunity to develop her remarkable intelligence. Years later, when she met Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, he named her the Enchantress of Numbers for her astounding mathematical skills. Little did either of them know that, when she designed an algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, she would be making history — by writing the world’s first computer program! With vivid artwork and intriguing anecdotes about Lovelace's genius, this picture book biography pays homage to a little-known but deeply influential figure in computing history. Ada's story is also told in three more picture books, Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science for ages 5 to 9 and Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmersand Ada's Ideas, both for ages 6 to 9.
When Patricia Bath was coming of age, the intelligent young woman was determined to become a doctor, but she had many obstacles in her way: sexism, racism, and poverty all seemed to be working against her. Despite it all, she broke new ground for both women and African Americans in her chosen field of ophthalmology. In 1981, Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a quick and nearly painless way to treat cataracts — one which has now been used on millions of patients around the world! This inspiring story from the Amazing Scientists picture book series, which includes a note from Bath herself, highlights the power of fighting for a dream. For another inspiring book about Bath, we recommend Patricia's Vision: The Doctor Who Saved Sight for ages 5 to 9.
When Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a girl, she wanted to understand all about how the world worked — even though many people thought girls shouldn't be scientists. As a Ph.D. student, she built a radio telescope for her supervisor to study distant stars... and noticed something strange. One signal repeated in the sky, at perfect intervals. She had discovered the first pulsar! And while she was left off of the Nobel Prize awarded for her discovery — still one of the most hotly debated Nobel decisions — Burnell just kept studying, making more discoveries and inspiring a generation of women in science. This picture book biography of the pioneering astrophysicist, with artwork that includes luminous depictions of a mysterious and wonderful night sky, will leave kids eager to make their own discoveries about our universe.
Marie Tharp's father was a mapmaker, but by the the time she was grown, there wasn't much left to map... or was there? In fact, people knew almost nothing about the ocean floor, so Tharp decided to map the mysterious depths of the Atlantic. Although she faced many challenges, including being turned away from research ships because it was "bad luck" to have a woman on board, Tharp took bits and pieces of data from many sources to assemble the first map of the ocean floor — and discovered the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, evidence that helped prove the theory of plate tectonics. This fascinating story is sure to inspire children to seek out even more of the world's mysteries.
After Sara Josephine Baker lost her brother and father to typhoid fever, she knew she wanted to be a doctor. But when she graduated in 1898, few people wanted to see a woman doctor, so Dr. Jo took a job in public health working in Hell's Kitchen, one of New York's poorest neighborhoods. She realized that, by improving the health of children, she could improve the health of a whole community. Dr. Jo assigned visiting nurses to new mothers, designed safe infant clothing, set up milk stations, and created training and licensing for midwives — and her work saved over 90,000 children. This picture book biography of a groundbreaking woman in medicine highlights how simple innovations can have an enormous impact.
As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari Maathai's family defied tradition so she could get an education; she also learned traditional Kikuyu reverence for nature. As a young adult, she had the opportunity to attend university – if she went to the US. But she swore she would return, and when she did, she combined her scientific education with her appreciation for good husbandry of natural resources to found the Green Belt Movement, which not only provided sustainable work for women across Kenya, but also helped them replant millions of trees. This vibrant picture book biography of the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize pays tribute to how Maathai literally changed Kenya's landscape forever. Fans of this book can also check out Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya for ages 4 to 8.
Margaret Hamilton loved numbers, and to her, the best part of math was when it could solve a problem in the real world! Her love of math introduced her to computers, and then to a job at NASA, where they were planning a mission to the moon — and computers were going to be a part of it. Hamilton hand-wrote the code for the Apollo missions, and when a last-minute problem cropped up as Apollo 11 prepared for a lunar landing, it was Hamilton's forward-thinking code that saved the day! This lively look at a computer pioneer is a great way to show young readers that math really can take you to the stars.
She's been called one of the greatest American minds of all time, and when NASA first started using computers to calculate launch trajectories, they only trusted them after she double-checked the math! Katherine Johnson broke both gender and racial boundaries when she started working for NASA in the 1950s as a human computer, performing the complex calculations necessary to launch rockets, satellites, and eventually, the Apollo 11 moon mission. New chapter book readers who are fans of the hit movie Hidden Figures will be excited to read their very own book about Johnson. Older readers can check out Hidden Figures Young Readers Edition for ages 8 to 13.
Mae Jemison dreamed of becoming an astronaut from childhood. She went to medical school and joined the Peace Corps, but she never forgot that dream — so in 1985, she applied to NASA, and in 1992, Jemison became the first African-American woman to go into space! In this Level 3 Ready-To-Read book from the You Should Meet series, newly independent readers can learn all about Jemison's fascinating life and career. Additional material at the end includes information about math and history, and even a timeline with fun facts about space! For an inspiring picture book about Jemison, check out Mae Among The Stars for ages 4 to 8.
Meet the women who programmed the first all-electronic computer and built the technological language kids today can't live without in this fascinating, nonfiction Level 3 Ready-to-Read book! In 1946, six brilliant young women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC, part of a secret World War II project. They learned to program without any programming languages or tools, and by the time they were finished, the ENIAC could run a complicated calculus equation in seconds. But when the ENIAC was presented to the press and public, the women were never introduced or given credit for their work. Learn all about what they did and how their invention still matters today in this story of six amazing young women everyone should meet!
Young Anna Comstock adored being outside: she spent her days enjoying nature and observing everything she could, from ants on the move to the constellations in the sky. And even though many people thought science was only for men, she went to university and continued to study. She became famous as a nature expert and artist, creating many stunning books about nature. Then, Comstock fostered generations of kids' interest in nature — by creating one of the earliest school curricula focused on studying outdoors. This charming biography celebrates a little-known pioneer for women in science whose influence still touches children today, and the joy of being in the great outdoors.
As a child in Scotland, Williamina Fleming loved light, from her photographer father's images to the stars in the night sky. As an adult, she moved to America, and hoped to become an astronomer, but she faced many obstacles: after her husband disappeared, she was left as a single mother, and as a woman, she wasn't allowed to use the Harvard Observatory telescope. But she persevered, becoming one of Harvard's "human computers" analyzing data... and created a map of the universe that became the foundation for modern astronomy! Newbery Honor-winning author Kathryn Lasky captures both the sexism that blocked Fleming's work, and the love of the stars that allowed her to persist in her work, celebrating the passion and determination of this trailblazer.
Emma Lilian Todd loved tinkering — even as a child, she took apart clocks and reassembled them to figure out how they worked. As an adult, she worked at the Patent Office, typing up patents for other inventors... and imagining how she would improve them. In the early 1900s, most people didn't think women could be inventors, but Lilian was determined to prove them wrong — by designing he very own airplane! This riveting picture book biography brings to life a nearly-forgotten engineer whose visionary thinking and determination helped her groundbreaking invention take flight.
People in the 18th century thought learning math could hurt a woman's health, so when Sophie Germain was a child, her parents even took away her candles at night so she couldn't see to study. However, she was determined to follow her dreams, and spent six years working to prove a math problem that male scholars had declared unsolvable. When she developed an equation that could predict patterns of vibrations — which laid the groundwork for much of modern architecture — she became the first woman to win a grand prize from France's Academy of Sciences. This exuberant picture book biography captures the triumphant life of a pioneering and under-recognized mathematician.
Vera Rubin started her career watching the stars as a child, from her bedroom window; when she grew up, she was the only female astronomy major at Vassar College, determined to make a career for herself. Although her painstaking calculations led to multiple discoveries, many male astronomers dismissed her work... but she kept going. And when she proved that there was mass that wasn't visible in the galaxies overhead — dark matter — she changed the way we understood the universe. With vivid illustrations of the night sky and real quotes from Rubin herself, this stunning picture book celebrates a woman in STEM who changed her field forever.
Anna Atkins loved collecting specimens from the natural world, including shells, leaves, and flowers. She grew up to become a botanist, and in a world without photography, that meant detailed illustrations of all of the plant life she studied. But when Atkins learned about cyanotype photography, she knew she had to experiment with this new way of capturing images of the world. Atkins' 1842 book Photographs of British Algea: Cyanotype Impressions is the first book of photographs ever published. This elegant picture book biography celebrates the blend of art and science that made this groundbreaking woman's work unique.
During World War II, everything had to be done with paper and pencil — but people hoped that an early computer called ENIAC might give America an edge during the war effort. Three women — Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty — were assigned to figure out how to use the machine, with no instructions and almost no access to the computer itself. Through trial and error, they brought their talents to bear... and their work would bring the world one step closer to today's computer age. This vibrant illustrated history of three computer pioneers will inspire the next generation of programmers!
What does it take to change the world? It takes determination, drive... and curiosity! In this exciting anthology from author Martha Freeman and Google Doodler Katy Wu, kids will meet twenty different female scientists from past and present. Each capsule biography explores the backgrounds and life experiences of these diverse women, and highlights how their curiosity drove their work. From a cure for malaria to a map of the ocean floor, from better zoos to a better understanding of our DNA, this book shows how these women have changed the world — and inspires young readers to imagine how they can change it, too!
This gorgeously illustrated collected biography honors inspirational women who helped fuel some of the greatest achievements in space exploration from the nineteenth century to today! Galaxy Girls pays tribute to fifty pioneering women past and present, from mathematicians to engineers to test pilots to astronauts. Each capsule biography is paired with striking full-page original artwork from the students of the London College of Communication. Perfect for inspiring the space leaders of tomorrow, this stunning book gives this band of heroic sisters and their remarkable and often little known scientific achievements long overdue recognition.
Whether you're fascinated by dinosaurs, dig trilobites, or wonder about the history of human evolution, paleontologists are seeking the same answers you are! This book from the Gutsy Girls Go For Science series introduces readers to five female paleontologists: Mary Anning, Mignon Talbot, Tilly Edinger, Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, and Mary Leakey. Then, kids can try hands-on STEM activities like modeling an excavation and preparing specimens to gain critical thinking skills and get an idea what it takes to succeed in this field. This full-color book packed with fascinating facts is sure to get kids curious about what lies underneath their feet! Other books from this series focus on programmers, astronauts, and engineers.
Biruté Mary Galdikas was only 25 years old when she traveled to the rainforests of Borneo to study orangutans in the wild. Like her colleagues, Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, she faced skepticism about whether a woman could do the job — and her research prompted a fierce determination to protect these beautiful animals and their precious and ever-shrinking habitat. In this stunning book, award-winning author Anita Silvey introduces young readers to this little-known primatologist, and the remarkable primates that Galdikas has dedicated her life to understanding.
Sally Ride is famous as the first American woman in space, but she was also so much more: a brilliant physicist who loved English literature, a nationally ranked tennis player, an advocate for girls and women in science careers, and a role model for both girls and to the LGBTQ community. In this comprehensive biography, Sue Macy gives equal treatment both to her groundbreaking role as an astronaut, to her work with NASA after her time in space (including her role in the Challenger investigation), and to her education and advocacy work after she left NASA. It's a fitting tribute to the woman who changed how girls saw the future.
In her nearly 60 year career, Jane Goodall went from an oddity — a woman researching primates in the wild? — to one of the world's most recognizable scientists and conservationists. Along the way, she changed the way we think about our planet — and what it means to be human. In this beautiful biography of Goodall, readers will learn about her amazing achievements, born of her remarkable ability to connect with the chimpanzees she sought to study. Primary sources and full-color photographs create a vivid and inspiring depiction of this trailblazing scientist. Fans can also check out Who Is Jane Goodall? from the popular Who Was...? biography series for ages 8 to 12 or find many more titles in our Jane Goodall Collection.
Dian Fossey fulfilled a dream in 1963, scraping together her savings and a loan and traveling to Africa. She soon fell in love with mountain gorillas, and became determined to study them in the wild — and with the help of paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, she finally had the chance. Fossey's 18 years of research into the gorillas changed the way people thought of these previously little-understood creatures, but her aggressive anti-poaching measures made enemies of many, and she was murdered in her camp in 1985. However, her legacy lives on: today, twice as many mountain gorillas live in the wild as when she began her studies. Concluding Silvey's trilogy of biographies on Leakey's "Trimates," which includes Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall and Undaunted: The Wild Life of Biruté Mary Galdikas, this nuanced and stunning book will inspire young animal-lovers.
Before people could orbit the Earth or fly to the moon, there was a group of "human computers": dedicated female mathematician who used pencil and slide rule to calculate how to launch rockets. Four African-American women, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, were critical to the story of space flight — and yet their story was largely untold. In this young readers edition of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, tweens will learn how these women, so little appreciated in their time, changed both NASA and America for the better. Younger readers can check out the picture book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race for ages 5 to 9.
Marie Curie not only changed the way we saw chemistry and physics: she also changed the way we saw women's role in the sciences! This book, published for the 110th anniversary of Curie's receipt of the Nobel Prize for chemistry, is part biography, part hands-on science guide, which gets kids learning about Curie's life and work while also exploring concepts like energy and matter. Kids will use materials they can easily find at home to try engaging activities like building a 3D model of the periodic table, or calculating the "half life" of candies! It's an enthralling way to learn more about Curie — and to spark an interest in chemistry and physics.
As a child in a Mexican-American community, everyone expected that Sylvia Acevedo would grow up to marry and stay at home with her children — but Sylvia yearned for adventure. Then she joined the Brownies and her life was transformed. Through the Girl Scouts, she found peers who shared her love of science and role models that fostered her confidence and independence. Acevedo would become a rocket scientist for NASA — and today, she's the CEO of the Girl Scouts, helping other girls follow their dreams. This inspiring memoir is a celebration of resilience and a testament to the transformative impact of the Girl Scouts on many girls' lives.
This gorgeously written novel in verse celebrates three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists. Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past. Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell longed to discover a new comet and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did. Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us.
This charmingly illustrated and educational book highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection profiles well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more!
When Caitlin O'Connell traveled to Namibia for the first time, local villagers hated elephants: the animals could easily break down fences and eat an entire year's worth of stored food in a single night. Scientists were desperate to help the elephants; the villagers were desperate to preserve their livelihood. O'Connell decided to study the behavior of the elephants to see if she could find a way to protect both; that desire led to surprising discoveries about how elephants communicate — discoveries that have been used successfully to keep elephants away from farmland. Full of exquisite photographs, this biography of the woman called "the mother of all elephants" is sure to delight animal lovers. Fans of this volume can check out the rest of the Scientists in the Field series.
When Temple Grandin was born, a developmental disorder likely meant a life in an institution. But her mother refused to believe that her daughter was incapable of learning, and to everyone's amazement, Grandin learned to speak and attended a regular school. As a teen, a love of science and an empathy with animals around her, who also found themselves overwhelmed and frightened by sensory stimuli, led her to a career in the animal sciences. There, she has revolutionized the livestock industry and provided a role model for autistic people around the world. This compelling biography shows readers that a different way of seeing the world can be of tremendous value in scientific discovery.
American biologist Rachel Carson helped spark the modern environmental movement with her compelling writing about ecological damage — particularly her famous book Silent Spring. Now, budding ecologists can learn about Carson and her work in this biography from the For Kids series! Kids will read about Carson's life, then explore 21 hands-on activities, from collecting a seed bank to modeling bioaccumulation to building a worm farm. This inspiring book is sure to give kids new appreciation for the delicate balance of our planet's ecosystems.
Emi is a Sumatran rhino, the world's smallest rhino and one of the most endangered mammals on the planet. At her home in the Cincinnati Zoo, she's well fed and kept healthy — but if the species as a whole is going to survive, every female rhino needs to have as many calves as possible. Thanks to Terri Roth, Emi became the first Sumatran rhino to give birth in captivity in over a century. In this fascinating book from the Scientists in the Field series, readers learn how Roth's work with rhino hormones might help save these curious and friendly rhinos. Fans of this book will also want to check out The Tapir Scientist from the same series, which follows Patricia Medici's work to study the mysterious lowland tapirs of Brazil.
Over decades of groundbreaking scientific work, Marie Curie created the field of atomic physics and coined the term "radioactivity" — but to do so, she had to overcome many challenges, including prejudice against women in science. In this book, kid can learn about Curie's life while doing hands-on experiments and activities of their own! While reading about Curie's work — including her title as the only person ever to win Nobel Prizes in two different scientific disciplines — kids will also make a model of the element carbon, examine World War I X-rays, and even try their own Polish pierogies. It's an excellent way to step into the shoes of this remarkable and trailblazing scientist.
Kimberly Stewart is known as the Turtle Lady of St. Kitts for her devotion to preserving and studying the leatherback sea turtle. Although the 800-pound adult turtles don't look like they need protecting, only one in a thousand sea turtle eggs laid on the beach will reach adulthood. So Stewart is not only collecting data to understand the turtles better, but also sharing her knowledge with local residents so that they can find sources for food and income that don't risk the species' survival. This fascinating entry in the Scientists in the Field series uses dramatic photographs to show how Stewart is helping scientists and the local community to pair up to protect the species.
In the mid-1800s, a young woman with a passion for the stars became America's first female professional astronomer. Despite many obstacles to her education and practice, Maria Mitchell would become famous for discovering a comet by telescope in 1847, for which she became the first woman and first American to receive one of King Frederick VI of Denmark's gold medals. Rather than writing a simple chronological biography, author Beatrice Gormley opts to set the stage by talking about 19th century Nantucket, Mitchell's home, and her life and career as an adult, and incorporated multiple pages of photos, so that tween and teen readers can more easily understand just how unique Mitchell's remarkable life was.
Middle grade kids are eager to learn more about the people who have changed our world — so they're the perfect age to introduce to this inspiring collection of influential women in science! Rachel Swaby, the author of the bestselling science book for teen and adult readers, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – And The World, profiles 33 women in this book, including groundbreaking figures like Virginia Apgar, Stephanie Kwolek, Sally Ride, and Rachel Carson. Best of all, Swaby emphasizes that it takes work, practice, and determination to become a brilliant scientist, encouraging kids to foster their curiosity about the world and pursue their love of science.
When Maria Merian began studying the world around her, bugs were considered to be "beasts of the devil." Everyone knew they spontaneously generated from mud; why would anyone want to study them? Merian's curiosity drove her to examine even these creatures, and through her notes and her art, she successfully documented something miraculous: the metamorphosis of the butterfly. This stunning biography, which is beautifully accented by full-color original artwork from Merian herself, provides an exciting look at one of the first female entomologists and her lifetime of exploration.
In 1958 America, as the quest for space was just beginning, NASA had a rule that an astronaut had to have military pilot experience — and of course, the military only accepted men in those roles. But some people wondered if some of the equally daring women pilots of the day belonged on the first space missions. This book tells the little-known story of the Mercury 13 women, who underwent astronaut testing and training decades before the first American woman would go to space. For kids who have grown up with both male and female astronauts, reading about the Mercury 13 and their quest for the stars will shed new light on how far we've come — and how far we have to go.
For the first time, Katherine Johnson, the now-famous mathematician featured in Hidden Figures, tells her story in her own words! She begins her autobiography with her decision, at age 4, to begin attending school with her older brother so she could help him with his math assignments. Before long, the gifted girl leapfrogged through grades, eventually graduating college at age 18. Her years at NASA, including fascinating stories from her work on the Apollo 11 moon mission, are recounted in vivid detail. Warm and conversational in tone, Johnson doesn't shy away from the difficulties of being both female and black while growing up and during her time at NASA. For any young reader who has dreamed of sitting down to chat with this remarkable role model, this lively book is the next best thing — and it's sure to inspire them to reach for their own promising futures!
In the midst of World War II, over ten thousand American women were secretly recruited as codebreakers while men were fighting in Europe and the Pacific. These women decoded critical information that saved countless lives — and even helped bring the war to an end. However, because their work was classified, nobody, not even their own families, knew how much they had contributed to their country. Liza Mundy conducted interviews with surviving code girls and pored through recently declassified information in order to create the best-selling adult title Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II. This young readers edition brings this riveting story of courage, service, and scientific accomplishment to middle grade readers.
For decades during the early space race, NASA knew the "right" sort of person to be an astronaut — and they were all men. Talented women were denied the chance to try, even when they proved they were just as qualified. Then Valentina Tereshkova of the USSR became the first woman in space, and suddenly, NASA wanted to catch up. Group 9, NASA's first mixed gender class, still had to fight stereotypes, but they proved that women also deserved to fly. The author / illustrator pair behind Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas tells this captivating story in the voice of former astronaut Mary Cleave, creating an inspiring graphic novel that reminds readers that progress is fastest when we include everyone.
In 1934, Irène Curie developed artificial radioactivity with her husband, a discovery that won the couple the Nobel Prize — but Curie was not permitted entry into the French Academy of Sciences, who thereafter banned all women. Four years later, Lise Meitner used Curie's research to help her understand nuclear fission, a discovery that was critical to the nuclear age, but she too was unrecognized by the Nobel Committee, while her colleague was given full credit for their joint research. In this narrative non-fiction book, Winifred Conkling highlights the struggles these groundbreaking women faced in the male-dominated world of research, shedding new light on these remarkable figures from scientific history. Younger readers interested in learning more about Meitner should check out Lise Meitner Had the Right Vision About Nuclear Fission for age 7 to 10.
Black women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have faced both racial and gender boundaries throughout history — and yet they have persevered, changing our world for the better! In this inspiring volume, award-winning author Tonya Bolden explores the stories of more than 50 black women, from pioneers for the past to the trailblazers of the 21st century. She explores how the intersection of race and gender affected their careers, and how their contributions benefit us today. Complete with extensive back matter, this empowering book encourages readers to let their curiosity drive them to success.
For these six women, curiosity and a passion for science drove them to overcome obstacles and prejudices in order to share their fascinating discoveries about the natural world! Jeannine Atkins discusses the childhoods and careers of six very different women — Maria Merian (b.1647), Anna Comstock (b.1854), Frances Hamerstrom (b.1907), Rachel Carson (b.1907), Miriam Rothschild (b.1908), and Jane Goodall (b.1934) — all of whom became renowned scientists, artists and writers. An excellent resource for students and a fascinating read for young science lovers, this book reminds readers that amazing discoveries can be found in surprising places.
Lisa Meitner dreamed of becoming a scientist at the turn of the 20th century, when girls were supposed to dream of marriage and housekeeping. She fought to earn a PhD in physics, and even became the first woman physics professor at the University of Berlin, but was frustrated when people compared her to Marie Curie — "no one expects every man to be like Pierre Curie." Then, as the Nazi regime rose, she faced discrimination because of her Jewish heritage, and she finally had to flee. Her research led to the discovery of nuclear fission, but only her male research partner received the Nobel Prize... and she was forever haunted by the atom bomb that her work helped create. This stunning biography in verse by the author of Finding Wonders and Grasping Mysteries is a gorgeous portrait of this pioneering physicist.
There are few figures as inspiring as an astronaut: not only are they daring adventurers, they're also intelligent, dedicated scientists! In this book from the Women of Action series, kids will read about trailblazing women from ten different countries who dreamed of traveling to space. Including important figures like the Mercury 13, Valentina Tereshkova, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Chiaki Mukai, Kalpana Chawla, and many more, this book shares the obstacles they faced, the wonders they saw, and the influence they've made on the world. For any science-lover or would-be space traveler, this book is full of inspiration.
From 19th century battlefield nurses Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale, to modern medical miracle workers like Dr. Catherine Hamlin and Dr. Bonnie Simpson Mason, women have long played a key role in medicine — but their contributions have often been downplayed or forgotten. In this fascinating new title from the Women of Action series, readers get to meet some of the daring and trailblazing women of the past two hundred years of medicine. From adventurers like Mary Carson Breckinridge, the "nurse on horseback" who delivered babies in the Appalachian Mountains, to research physicians like Virginia Apgar, who created the Apgar score that has saved millions of new born babies, these women defied prejudices and expectations, created incredible new procedures, and devoted their lives to healing people around the world.
When these three women scientists started studying primates in the wild, they were groundbreaking in many ways: not only were women in science still oddities, but their methods and ways of thinking led them to remarkable new discoveries. In this triple biography of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas — sometimes known as the Trimates — Jim Ottoviani tells their stories in compelling fashion, emphasizing their accomplishments but also presenting them as real people with flaws and quirks of their own. Inviting illustrations by Maris Wicks capture the excitement and drama of their discoveries and their lives. Accessible, entertaining, and informative, teens will devour this graphic biography.
For every famous name like Marie Curie and Jane Goodall, there are dozens or hundreds of women whose work in science is little known — and even when it is, their contributions are often minimized or forgotten. Rachel Swaby was inspired to write this book after reading an obituary of rocket scientist Yvonne Brill that spent the first paragraph focusing on her beef stroganoff recipe and her family life. Within it, she provide capsule biographies of 52 women scientists whose stories need to be told. Broken down into categories like medicine, physics, biology, math and technology, and invention, this book shows the innumerable ways in which women have advanced our scientific understanding. Fascinating for both teens and adults, it's sure to get your Mighty Girl thinking about what she might grow up to discover!
When America decided to start the Manhattan Project, they recruited scientists from around the world — and many of them were women. Scientists like Lise Meitner, Irène Joliot-Curie, Elizabeth Rona, Leona Woods, Elizabeth Graves, and Joan Hinton, call carved themselves a place in the women-unfriendly world 1940s chemistry and physics. And yet, even as they made great discoveries, few of them knew the deadly device that their research would be put to creating. In this intriguing non-fiction narrative, author Roseanne Montillo explores both the stories of these women, their little-known importance in scientific and World War II history, and the moral implications of their work.
Unbridled Curiosity: Stories About Girls Who Love Science
One of the great things about science is that it encourages the natural curiosity and wonder that kids have! These stories show how that drive to understand fosters scientific investigation... even if things don't always go as planned.
The girl in this story is dreaming of a space adventure! She imagines herself as a member of a shuttle crew, blasting off into orbit — and then, discovering how every-day occasions like taking a nap or having a meal change when you have to do them in zero gravity. She'll go for a space walk and even fix a satellite... and then, finally, come safely home to Earth. Space-loving little ones will love picturing themselves riding along!
This pigtailed Baby Astronaut is ready for liftoff! She and her crew put on space suits and helmets before they blast off. Once she's in orbit, she'll explain why astronauts float (and even how they sleep.) Then, she'll conduct experiments: Can ants live in space? Yes! Can plants grow in space? Yes! This adorable board book from the Baby Scientist series, which also includes the book Baby Botanist, is perfect for curious babies and toddlers.
A little girl feels like all of her dreams are out of reach: everything is too dangerous, too hard, too far away... and she's too young for all of it. But with a big imagination, anything is possible! She dreams of drifting up to examine the moon up close, of what it would be like to have flippers and tusks, and of what it would be like to travel the world. And when she grows up, she discovers that her dreams are in reach after all — she becomes one of the world's most daring underwater explorers! Written by the aquanaut Jill Heinerth, with vibrant illustrations by Jaime Kim, this inspiring story reminds kids that their childhood dreams can become the foundation of a lifetime of discovery.
Mary spends so much time tinkering in her lab that she doesn't have any friends... so when she's feeling lonely one day, she invents the Sheepinator! Mary's new pet sheep — and her amazing invention — catch her classmates' eyes, and she decides to maintain these new connections by bringing all the other kids sheep, too. But when her plan goes a bit sideways, her newfound friends are ready and willing to help! Author Sue Fleiss' clever reimagining of the classic poem combine beautifully with Petros Bouloubasis' wacky illustrations to create an appealing combination of science and friendship.
Creatures all over the forest are getting sick, and Charlotte the bunny scientist is determined to figure out why! The stumped doctors and scientists are dismissive of her efforts, but she holds firm to her beloved grandfather's assertion that she will "make a real difference in the world." After some patient interviews and a few samples from the outhouse, Charlotte realizes that all the sick animals have been munching on carrots contaminated by 'Funky Forest Fungi.' A quick clinical trial later, and Charlotte has saved the tummies of all her friends! This delightful sequel to Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished celebrates the ability of determined girls to change the world.
Marsha can usually rely on the scientific method to help her solve any problem... but friendship is a problem she can't seem to crack. She wishes she made friends as easily as Christa, the popular girl in her class. When her father makes an off-hand comment about Christa haven't a "magnetic personality," Marsha takes that literally and builds a super-powered magnetic helmet. The helmet does attract people... maybe a little too well. Before long, she's got multiple kids stuck to it! Fortunately, the ingenious Mighty Girl figures out a solution — to both her helmet problem and the jammed gym door — and realizes that being herself is the best way to attract friends. This laugh-out-loud book with cartoonish illustrations celebrates science, innovation, and individuality.
Debut picture book author Blair Thornburgh celebrates a little-considered wonder: your skull! Every head has one, and while some people think they're scary, she's confident the reader won't. After all, these remarkable bones, which grow and change with you, keep your brain safe — so "Take care of your skull because you only get one." Thornburgh even throws in a page of cool skull facts. Award-winning illustrator Scott Campbell's cheery but accurate illustrations add the finishing touch to this skull-positive story that's sure to inspire budding doctors and anatomists!
On a long hiking and camping trip with her aunt and uncle, Rhoda makes a beeline for what she loves most: rocks! Everywhere she looks there are rocks with different patterns and colors and textures, and all of her treasures end up in her increasingly heavy backpack. By the last day, though, her pack is too heavy to lift. Fortunately, she comes up with a clever solution — one that will allow her to share the beauty of her finds with future hikers. This charming story of a nature-loving girl will inspire kids to indulge their own scientific curiosity, and give them new perspective on the things they see every day.
During the year, Ada lives in the city, where bright lights make it hard to see the stars — but in the summer, she visits her grandparents in Maine, where she can see osprey, paddle kayaks, hunt for shells... and stargaze. But this summer the fog may block the stars altogether! Fortunately, her grandfather has a book full of pictures of galaxies — "a lot of stars swarming around one another like bees" — that capture Ada's imagination.... until the fog parts and she can finally see her beloved stars again. Renowned physicist Alan Lightman collaborates with with author Olga Pastuchiv, illustrator Susanna Chapman, and the Hubble telescope itself to create a tribute to a loving grandparent relationship and to the beauty of the night sky.
Ava loves joining her fellow "citizen scientists" in the annual New England Christmas Bird Count: together, they identify and count all the birds they see. This year, the team's leader, Big Al, even invites Ava to record the tally! Carefully, Ava observes the birds around her — their appearance, their behavior, and their songs — and applies the birding ID techniques she knows so that she can count each bird along their route. And at the end of the day, there's a Christmas Bird Count party! Exquisite illustrations of birds and tips and tricks for identifying them in the text introduce young readers to birdwatching; it's sure to inspire young readers to start their own local bird counts.
Kate is playing hopscotch when she hears a cry of frustration from the bare hilltop near her town. The wind there is powerful, and the man who lives there can't escape it. Kate knows the solution: planting trees! Over years — enough years that Kate becomes a teenager and the man's beard goes grey — Kate plants trees over the steep hill, tends them, and helps them grow. Finally, the trees are tall enough that Kate can truly claim to have tamed the wind. This thoughtful story about a resourceful, determined Mighty Girl shares an important message, both about the role that trees play in making our spaces healthier and more comfortable, and about the need for long-term planning and action to keep our world green.
Young Ada is full of boundless curiosity, so when her house fills with a toe-curling smell, she's determined to track down the cause. Not afraid of failure, she embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble! Fortunately, Ada and her supportive family realize that it's always worth asking "why", even if only leads to more questions. This title by the author of Rosie Revere, Engineer reinforces the importance of perseverance captured in that book, as well as celebrating a love of science and a burning desire to learn. Fans of this title can also check out Ada Twist's Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists.
Every scientific discovery began with two works: "I wonder." In this beautiful book, Eva and her mother take a walk and explore some of the mysteries of life: how gravity works, why things live and die, and even how big the universe really is. Along the way, Eva learns that it's okay to say, "I don't know" — and that some mysteries are out there, still to be discovered by curious minds like hers! This book is a wonderful way to remind kids that there's no such thing as too many questions.
Any scientist can tell you that, for every experiment that works, there are an awful lot of missed steps! This hilarious book actually teaches the scientific method — complete with hypotheses, experimental methods, and conclusions — as the book's irrepressible narrator decides to explore questions like "Can a kid make it through the winter eating only snow and ketchup?" and "Can a washing machine wash dishes?" Fortunately, while these particular experiments may not turn out well, this eager young scientist knows it's only a matter of time until she gets one just right.
All anyone can talk about is Velma's amazing older sisters... which means that nobody notices Velma at all. That is, until her first grade class takes a field trip to the butterfly conservatory, someplace her sisters have never been. Velma is thrilled and quickly studies up on everything she can learn about butterflies — and when a monarch takes a liking to Velma, she'll never be forgotten again. More importantly, though, Velma has discovered a new identity and a new passion: she loves science! This charming and funny story is perfect as a read-aloud.
Mr. Tiffin's class is visiting the natural history museum, and dinosaur-loving Kimmy is thrilled! She is excited to share facts about Stegosaurus and Archaeopteryx and Titanosaurus... until one of her classmates sneers that "girls aren't scientists." Kimmy is deflated, but fortunately her attentive teacher notices — and takes her to see Gasparinisauria, a dinosaur named in honor of paleontologist Zulma Nélida Brandoni de Gasparini. This gentle exploration of how early stereotypes can affect kids - and what adults can do to combat them — ends with a gallery of female paleontologists, past and present.
Zoey has made an amazing discovery: magical animals show up in her backyard when they need help — so it's up to her to help them feel better! This time, it's a sick baby dragon she names Marshmallow. With her beloved cat Sassafras, Zoey will use the scientific method to learn enough about her patient to treat him, including testing if Marshmallow is warm or cold blooded; herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore; and much more. This first book in the whimsical illustrated early reader chapter book series is a fun blend of fantasy and real-world science. Fans of this book can follow Zoey's further adventures in the rest of the Zoey and Sassafras series.
Marty McGuire's third-grade class has a challenge: find ways to save the Earth! And Marty's sure her idea — composting leftovers from the cafeteria with the help of some hungry worms — will win the grand prize. But worms take a long time to work, and when they manage to escape, the whole class is mad with Marty. She'll have to recapture the worms, maintain her friendships, and learn a little patience if she wants to reach her goal. Any kid who's found that "simple" experiments are harder than they seem will appreciate Marty's frustration, as well as her pride when her lowly little worms work just as they're supposed to.
Third grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace is trying to solve the mystery of a missing dog! Ada thinks her homemade gadgets and her knack for scientific thinking will allow her to crack the case, while her neighbor Nina has has her own theory about the missing dog (involving alien abduction, of all things.) As Ada and Nina get closer to the solution, though, they'll also discover that opposites can make for the best of friends. This new series from Emily Calandrelli, host of Xploration Outer Space and MIT graduate, provides a scientifically-minded detective series that young readers will love. For more of Ada's adventures, visit our Ada Lace Collection.
This young mad scientist is determined to take over the world — but before she does, she'll have to perfect her methods! This imaginative (if a bit maniacal) girl explores areas from cloning to time travel over the course of the seven books collected in this fun box set. Plentiful illustrations make this series a treat for young readers, and they'll giggle to see the predicaments Franny gets herself into! Throughout it all, they'll appreciate that it's Franny's intelligence and ingenuity that saves the day. For one of Franny's adventures with a robotic theme, which is included as part of this set, check out The Fran With Four Brains.
Imagine a world where Lady Ada Byron (who created the first computer algorithm) and Mary Shelley (the author of Frankenstein) met as girls — and decided to turn their combined brainpower to solving mysteries! That's the premise behind this unique new series in which the pair form The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency. In order to find the missing heirloom — and prove the false confession wrong — they'll have to use science, math, and creative analytical thinking to unveil the true culprit. Ada and Mary's adventures continue in the rest of The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series.
12-year-old Nikki Tesla is dogged by an unfortunate record of accidents with her inventions — and the reputation of her father, a weapons inventor who died in a lab explosion. When she accidentally vaporizes her bedroom with a death ray, she reluctantly agrees to attend Genius Academy, a boarding school for prodigious minds. But when she arrives, her death ray is stolen, and Nikki discovers that she and her fellow students are being recruited as secret agents to save the world. Author Jess Keating draws on real scientists from history to create her cast of characters in this action-packed, STEAM-filled adventure series!
It's 1900 in San Francisco, and 13-year-old Lizzie Kennedy puts on a brave face at her finishing school, acting like a "proper" young lady. But secretly, her passion is science, which she indulges when she joins her doctor father on house calls. That's where she first learns of a dark side to the city she loves — a side that's full of rumors of the plague. Everyone, including her beloved father, insists it's nonsense, but then why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Lizzie will have to cross the lines of gender, class, and race if she wants to solve the mystery and save the people she loves in this medical mystery.
11-year-old Calpurnia is curious why the yellow grasshoppers in her yard are so much bigger than the green grasshoppers. But it's Texas in 1899, and girls are supposed to devote their time to proper activities like needlework, not tromping through the grasses studying bugs. Still, Calpurnia recruits her grandfather, an avid naturalist, to help her figure out the mystery. As the pair grows closer, Calpurnia dreams of becoming a scientist, even as it becomes more obvious how difficult that will be for a girl in her time. This book will give tweens new perspective on the challenges that faced female scientists in the past. Calpurnia's story continues in The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, while readers age 6 to 9 can check out the early chapter book series Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet.
12-year-old Addie's twin brother Amos fell through the ice in Maple Lake — and only she knows he was out there because he was looking for a mysterious creature he was sure lived in the lake. When the would-be aquatic biologist gets a Young Scientist position studying the lake for the summer, she begins to wonder if Amos was on to something, and enlists the lead researcher's son, Tai, to help her investigate. But her search also shows that Maple Lake is badly polluted, and contrary to the community's belief, the locals share a big part of the blame. Addie will have to balance her desire to stay connected to Amos' memory with what science tells her if she's going to save the lake they both loved. Gentle, complex, and touching, this novel explores science, magic, and hope.
In some ways, Mary Murphy just wants to disappear: ever since her abusive father returned home from prison, her home has been filled with his yelling and violence. She wishes she could just focus on the things she enjoys, but even her beloved science class is a struggle right now. When she and class clown Kip Dwyer decide to save their physics grade by building a real submarine, Mary hopes that she can pilot it across the Chesapeake Bay — and escape. As she and Kip grow closer, and Mary's confidence grows, she might just realize she's worthy of love and kindness. Debut author Shannon Doleski depicts the realities of overcoming abuse in a realistic but empowering way in this stunning middle grade novel.
Flavia de Luce is an aspiring chemist with a particular interest in poisons, but in her 1950s English village, she's definitely the oddball. But her talents for listening at keyholes and picking locks come in handy when a series of mysterious events come to the mansion at Buckshaw: first a dead bird on the doorstep with a postage stamp on its beak, then a dying man in the family's cucumber patch. No matter what happens, Flavia can't help but admit that her life began in earnest once murder came calling! Rollicking and intriguing, this is an excellent option for teens and adults alike; fans of Flavia can find the rest of the series here.
Putting It Together: Books About Engineers and Tinkerers
Some kids want to go beyond academic curiosity and start getting their hands dirty! The Mighty Girls in these books love engineering and technology.
Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this colorful book about a science-loving little girl explores the basics of flight – from birds, to planes and rockets – and ties it all to a baby’s world. Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder. Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well! For more volumes from this fun and inspiring series, including ones focused on quantum physics, thermodynamics, and coding, visit our Baby Loves Science Collection.
When this little girl builds her own robot, she thinks she's got the perfect best friend: one who will do whatever she says! But even robots can get tired of being told what to do all the time, and eventually — after being ordered to mow the grass and hoe the garden — the robot storms off. The little girl will have to figure out the right way to make amends before the friends can play again. This simple comic reader from the Step Into Reading series is a great read-aloud for very young kids and is easy enough for early readers to read on their own.
Meg loves building with boxes, and she always stuns both her peers and adults with what she makes. But then a new kid shows up at Maker School. Simone is a boxitect too — a good one — and it's not long before the two have become fierce rivals. Then the worst happens: the two are paired as a team for the annual Maker Match. Rather than work together, they each take half the materials and build one half of their creation... a plan that ends in disaster. But when they sit down and find a way to combine their talents, it turns out there's nothing they can't do! This funny and realistic story about two girls who realize that they can make amazing things when they work together is sure to inspire a little "boxitecture" in young readers!
The little girl in this story has an idea in her head for the most MAGNIFICENT thing... so with the help of her puppy sidekick, she collects some bits and pieces and starts building. Except that the result isn't quite as magnificent as she wanted, so she tries again... and again... and again. Eventually, frustration overtakes her, and she not only smashes, pummels, and explodes, she also quits. It's not until she takes a walk with her dog and clears her head that she can see the potential in all her previous design and build something that she really does feel is magnificent. This fun picture book sends a great message to young readers about the importance of persistence.
Audrey is a curious and innovative girl who realizes that she wants to be an inventor! Naturally, she starts inventing things as fast as she can. But it turns out that inventing is harder than it sounds. Her egg collector is more of a catapult, and her spring-loaded sneakers terrify her beloved pet, Happy Cat. Audrey starts to wonder if she should just give up... but her encouraging father urges her to keep trying. Finally, Audrey comes up with a terrific idea — and tests it well enough to be sure it will work exactly the way she planned! This lively, wacky story about a would-be inventor whose ideas go a bit haywire will delight young readers who dream of creating their own amazing inventions.
Young Charlotte is always tinkering, coding, and clicking — but one day her parents give her a most puzzling toy: a doll! After all, Charlotte wonders, what's she supposed to do with a "human-shaped pillow"? Then she discovers her doll has a battery-driven voice box and decides to upgrade it to Doll-E 1.0. Soon Charlotte discovers the fun to be had with her new friend and the value of a little balance between high-tech and pretend play. Filled with author-illustrator Shanda McCloskey's cheerful illustrations and witty narrative, this refreshing modern look at the joy of imaginative play also celebrates the joy of engineering!
Cleonardo's father is an inventor... and so was her grandfather, her great-grandfather, and even more generations gone by. She desperately wants to be an inventor too, but no matter how many ideas she gives her father, he never uses any of them. So Cleonardo — with the help of Leonardo, her grandfather — decides to make her own invention, which she does successfully. She thinks it's wonderful, but will others think the same — especially her dad? This book celebrates both the desire to create and invent and the importance of fathers and daughters spending time together.
Violet Van Winkle could fix almost anything in her house by the time she was two. By eight, she's building incredible flying machines, even though the kids at school tease her for her eccentric creations. She decides to earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon at the Air Show, but on her way to the show, Violet sees a Boy Scout troop in trouble and has to decide which is more important: showing off her creation for applause, or using it to do the right thing. Kids who dream of careers as pilots or aeronautics engineers will cheer as Violet shows the world the joy of flight!
The eager young scientist in this book has a great idea for her school's science fair: a real-life robot! But in the process of building, she gets a little carried away, adding a superclaw, a laser eye, and even the power to control dogs' minds. It's not until she turns it on at the fair, though, that she realizes her biggest mistake: she forgot to give it a way to register her commands. It's going to take all her ingenuity to save the day now... This hilarious story also provides a good reminder for budding inventors: plan your design very, very carefully! Fans of this book will enjoy the sequel, Oh, No! Not Again! (Or How I Built A Time Machine To Save History) (Or At Least My History Grade), which touches on the perils of time travel.
Quiet Rosie dreams of inventing gizmos and gadgets, so when she hears her Great-Aunt Rose (of Rosie the Riveter fame) sighing that she never fulfilled her dream to fly, Rosie decides to create a solution that will let Aunt Rose soar. Despite her hard work, though, the heli-o-cheese-copter hovers for just a moment before crashing to the ground. Although Rosie considers it a failure, Aunt Rose reassures her that it was actually a tremendous success — because you only truly fail if you quit. Fans of Rosie will also want to check out Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers, as well as her first early chapter book appearance in Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters.
A little girl who loves to tinker and fix things finds a robot in the woods — and is shocked when the push of a button activates him for the first time! Soon, the pair are the best of friends, but the little robot is also curious about its own kind. Unfortunately, the large, sinister robots at the factory that made the little robot are looking for him too and they don’t care who they hurt along the way to get him back. Now, the two new friends will have to fight for the little robot’s freedom! This fun and charming wordless graphic novel, which stars an inventive and intelligent Mighty Girl, will be a hit with any young reader who’s imagined having their own robot friend.
Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery With Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself
Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery With Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself
Nick and Tesla are 11-year-old sleuths who use science and technology to save the day! In this adventure, a rash of robberies has hit the town of Half Moon Bay, and to catch the criminal, the pair will have to build several different robots. Step-by-step directions using mostly household items guide kids through building hoverbots, robo-roaches, and more as they work to solve the case. Budding young builders will love puzzling out the solution to the mystery as they learn about real-life science concepts.
11-year-old Penny Rose is lonely in her new town; the science-loving girl only has her homemade robots to keep her company. When she spies on Lark, the girl next door, she realizes that she, too, loves making things, and before long the two girls have struck up a friendship — and created a magical world where Penny Rose's robots come to life. Then Penny Rose gets the break she's been waiting for: an opportunity to try out for the Secret Science Society, run by the popular kids at school. Her robots, of course, would be the perfect way to show off her skills... but revealing them may risk both the robots and her friendship with Lark. This quirky illustrated chapter book celebrates ingenuity and true friendship, as well as the joy of creativity and imagination.
Carpenter Katie Hughes was often the only woman on a construction site, and she knew that teaching girls to use tools would help. Her non-profit, Girls Build, invites girls ages 8 to 14 to develop confidence and construction skills — and now her first book encourages girls everywhere to do the same! Inside you'll find photos of 45 builder girls, each accompanied by information about her favorite build, her top tips for new builders, and more. Then, check out the how-to guide full of techniques and safety tips for common tools, and use your new skills to create thirteen do-it-yourself projects from picture frames to playhouses. This empowering guide is sure to help a new generation of girls discover they can build anything!
Gifted 12-year-old coder Lacey Chu dreams of working as a "companioneer" for MONCHA, the tech firm that invented the customizable robotic companions called baku — just like her father did before he mysteriously disappeared. The first step is winning admission to the corporate-run Profectus Academy, so when she's rejected, Lacey is heartbroken. When she finds a broken baku she names Jinx and repairs him, he seems more real than mechanical... and suddenly her rejection to the Profectus Academy gets overturned. As she faces competition from classmates and mysteries at MONCHA, Lacey will uncover secrets about the corporation, her family... and Jinx. This technological adventure is the first of a series that promises plenty of action to come!
When her mother was still alive, Nicolette learned to be an inventor by her side; now that she's gone, her stepsisters laugh and call her "Mechanica." But when she discovers a secret workshop full of mechanical tools powered in part by fey magic, she sees the opportunity to escape her miserable situation: with both a technological exhibition and a royal ball approaching, if Nicolette can't impress the prince, perhaps she can impress investors. This innovative fairy tale, featuring a steampunk Cinderella, celebrates a mechanically-inclined Mighty Girl and also conveys important lessons about the value of independence and freedom.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future. No one — including Cinder herself — knows that Earth's fate hinges on one very special young woman... To follow Cinder's further adventures, all five books in the series are available in The Lunar Chronicles Box Set.
When girls get building, big things happen! Emily Pilloton founded the nonprofit Girls Garage in 2013, using her background in architecture and construction to help girls get confident with tools as they build real-world projects to help their community. Now, in this book, she provides the same guidance to girls everywhere! This book includes all the information a would-be builder needs, including 175 illustrated tool guides, 21 essential skills, and 11 how-to projects she can try herself. Plus, this 300-page compendium includes encouraging stories from real-life girls and women builders. Part how-to manual, part inspirational guide, this book will give girls confidence that there's nothing they can't plan, fix, or build!
Numbers Game: Stories About Math-Loving Mighty Girls
It's easy to forget the M from STEM — math! But the truth is that mathematics provide the basic principles necessary to understand and operate in all scientific fields. These math-loving Mighty Girls show just how useful math concepts can be.
The ten flower friends in this book wish that they could fly — and a passing fairy, despite being puzzled by their request, agrees to transform them one at a time. As each flower becomes a butterfly and soars into the sky, though, there is always a total of ten! And when the flowers miss their old selves, and realize that they like themselves as they were, they count back down until all ten are flowers again. This clever picture book teaches the essential math skill of grouping numbers to ten, while also celebrating self-acceptance! Math whiz Danica McKellar is also the author of two more math-themed picture books, Goodnight, Numbers and Bathtime Mathtime, and math books aimed at elementary learners and middle school girls.
Zero is just a big, round nothing — all the other numbers have value, but she doesn't add anything to the equation. So she tries to stretch and bend and twist herself into a number that counts, without success. Then, one day, Zero realizes that she has incredible power: with her, 1 becomes 10, then 100, then 1000! Soon all the numbers are combining instead of adding, and discovering that Zero help other numbers "count even more." In addition to introducing math concepts, there's a subtle body-positive message in this book that parents will love.
Clever Rani in this story shows that, with a solid understanding of math, it's easy to outsmart a selfish raja! Rani's village is starving, and the raja has more than enough rice to feed them all — but in his greed, he hoards it. When Rani does him a good deed and he offers to let her pick a reward in return, however, she asks for a seemingly humble amount: one grain of rice, doubled every day for thirty days. It doesn't seem like much... until you add it up. Kids will love the procession of animals that bring Rani's reward, from one grain in the beak of a bird to 256 elephants carrying enough rice to feed everyone. The vivid illustrations and poetic language make this a stand-out telling of this traditional tale.
Uma feels so small when she looks up at the night sky. How can she ever possibly imagine infinity? But as she wonders, she starts thinking of different ways to think about this enormous concept. Is infinity an endless racetrack? A number that grows forever? An ever-growing family tree? Can infinity even appear in an ice cream cone? This contemplative picture book takes a big idea and makes it accessible to budding young philosophers who, even though they're small, are already starting to think about things that never end.
One day at school, this girl's teacher says, "You know, you can think of almost everything as a math problem" – and the next day, when she wakes up, everything is! She has ten things to do and thirty minutes before the bus arrives... is there enough time? How many pints are in a gallon? Then the problems become a little wackier: does tunafish + tunafish = fournafish? How many M&Ms would it take to measure the length of the Mississippi River? It turns out that this Math Curse can actually be pretty funny! For any child who's considered word problems to be the bane of their existence, this book will show them the light side of math – and prove the point that math really is everywhere.
Sophie, Margaret, and Rebecca are all students at St. Veronica's when their routines are broken by the appearance of a ghostly face in a window across the courtyard! The face turns out to be a woman in need of help: she is estranged from her daughter, but might be able to repair the relationship if the girls can help her solve a scavenger hunt full of logic puzzles and geometry equations. But the girls aren't alone in their quest, so they'll have to work fast to get to the treasure first! Full of twists, turns, and laugh-out-loud moments, this is sure to be a favorite with math and mystery loving Mighty Girls.
Additional Recommended Resources
- For science toys and kits to further support her interests, check out our blog posts: Wrapped Up In Science: Top 50 Science Toys for Mighty Girls and Building Her Dreams: 50 Building and Engineering Toys for Mighty Girls.
- For more books — both fiction and non-fiction — about STEM fields, visit our Science & Technology Collection.
- For books about real-life female scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, visit our selection of Scientist Biographies.