February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Here are some of our favorite books featuring girls – both fictional and historical – and the strides they made in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
By Ken Wilson-Max
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536221954 | Candlewick
Astrid has loved the stars and space for as long as she can remember. “I want to be an astronaut!” she says to everyone who will listen. While her mama is away, Astrid and her papa have fun acting out the challenges an astronaut faces on a space mission – like being in zero gravity (“I can do that all day long!” she says), eating food from a kind of tube, and doing science experiments with the help of cookie sheets. When at last it’s time to meet Mama at the air base, Astrid wears her favorite space T-shirt to greet her. But where exactly has Mama been? Channeling a sense of childlike delight, Ken Wilson-Max brings space travel up close for young readers and offers an inspiring ending.
Ada and the Galaxies
By Alan Lightman and Olga Pastuchiv
Illustrated by Susanna Chapman
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215618 | MIT Kids Press
New York Times best-selling author Alan Lightman, in collaboration with Olga Pastuchiv, brings galaxies close in a stunning picture-book tribute to the interconnectedness of the natural world. Layering photographs taken from the Hubble telescope into charming and expressive art, illustrator Susanna Chapman zooms in on one child’s experiences: Ada knows that the best place for star-gazing is on the island in Maine where she vacations with her grandparents. By day, she tracks osprey in the trees, paddles a kayak, and hunts for shells. But she’s most in her element when the sun goes down and the stars blink to life. Will the fog this year foil her plans, or will her grandfather find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast puzzle of the universe . . . until the weather turns?
Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem
By Lauren Soloy
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266087 | Tundra Books
Etty loves make-believe. Her dad loves science. Etty believes in fairies. Her dad would need to see some proof that they exist. But they both love nature, conversation, and each other. A gorgeous rumination on belief and imagination featuring Henrietta (Etty) Darwin and her famous father, Charles. Etty went on to become a valued and keen editor of Charles’ work and a thoughtful and intellectual being in her own right. This imagined conversation between Etty and Charles as they stroll around Charles’s real-life “thinking track” explores their close relationship and shows that even science is nothing without an open mind and imagination.
Isobel Adds It Up
By Kristy Everington
Illustrated by AG Ford
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593178102 | Random House Studio
Math-loving kids, especially those who are often bothered by loud noises, will be happy there aren’t any elephants around. Isobel is a problem solver . . . addition, subtraction, multiplication, division! But trying to figure out who is causing all the noise next door is one problem she can’t quite work out. Is it a marching band? A basketball team in the middle of a practice? Could it be a family of elephants? Isobel doesn’t know what to do about all the noise, but the solution just might come from the most unlikely place!
Journey to the Moon: Astronaut Girl #1
By Cathy Hapka and Ellen Vandenberg
Illustrated by Gillian Reid
96 Pages | Ages 6-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593095713 | Penguin Workshop
Val, aka Astronaut Girl, is just your typical eight-year-old scientist. She has her own laboratory and conducts experiments with her crew – her cat and baby brother. She loves science and knows everything about outer space. That’s why she’s surprised to learn that her new neighbor Wallace would rather talk about a fake space show than about real missions. But when Astronaut Girl, Wallace, and the Astro crew get lost on their own lunar adventure, they must all work together to find their way back home.
Kate the Chemist: The Awesome Book of Edible Experiments for Kids
By Dr. Kate Biberdorf
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593116197 | Philomel Books
Did you know that all cooking is really chemistry? And that chocolate chip cookies will look – and taste – completely different if you swap out baking powder for baking soda? Or swap out brown sugar for white sugar? In this cookbook packed with 25 edible science experiment recipes kids can do in their own kitchen, chemistry professor and science entertainer Kate the Chemist introduces young scientists to the fascinating world of STEM – and cooking! Each recipe includes step-by-step instructions, an ingredients list, full-color photographs, a messiness factor rating, and a note from Kate explaining the science behind each delicious treat.
Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever
By Ruth Spiro
Illustrated by Holly Hatam
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399186301 | Dial BFYR
After sketching and plotting and planting, Maxine and Leo know they’ve made The Greatest Garden Ever! But they’re not the only ones who think so. Soon, all sorts of animals make their way in, munching on carrots and knocking over pots. When Leo and Maxine can’t agree on a way to deter these unwelcome critters, it looks like there’s more on the line than saving their garden – they just might need to save their friendship too.
Maya and the Robot
By Eve L. Ewing
Illustrated by Christine Almeda
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814630 | Kokila
Maya’s nervous about fifth grade. She tries to keep calm by reminding herself she knows what to expect. But then she learns that this year won’t be anything like the last. For the first time since kindergarten, her best friends Jada and MJ are placed in a different class without her, and introverted Maya has trouble making new friends. She tries to put on a brave face since they are in fifth grade now, but Maya is nervous! Just when too much seems to be changing, she finds a robot named Ralph in the back of Mr. Mac’s convenience store closet. Once she uses her science skills to get him up and running, a whole new world of connection opens up as Ralph becomes a member of her family and Maya begins to step into her power. In this touching novel, Eve L. Ewing melds together a story about community, adapting to change, and the magic of ingenuity that reminds young readers that they can always turn to their own curiosity when feeling lost.
Project Start Up: Eat Bugs #1
By Laura D’Asaro, Rose Wang, and Heather Alexander
Illustrated by Vanessa Flores
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593096178 | Penguin Workshop
Hallie and Jaye are two very different sixth graders who both attend Brookdale Middle School. When they get paired as partners for their business class pitch competition, it’s not exactly a perfect match. Jaye doesn’t want to be seen with the kid who was called “Bug Girl” after eating a fried cricket during a trip to the zoo! But they’re stuck with each other, and together try to come up with creative ways to sell bugs as food. As the competition heats up, can Hallie and Jaye make the judges say “Bug appétit!” or will they only hear crickets? Based on the true story of a sustainable protein start-up company, this relatable illustrated novel is a heartwarming reimagining for any middle-grade reader interested in STEM, entrepreneurship, or fitting in and finding friends.
She Persisted in Science
By Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593353295 | Philomel BFYR
Throughout history, women have been told that science isn’t for them. They’ve been told that they’re not smart enough, or that their brains just aren’t able to handle it. In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to women scientists who didn’t listen to those who told them “no” and who used their smarts, their skills and their persistence to discover, invent, create and explain. She Persisted in Science is for everyone who’s ever had questions about the world around them or the way things work, and who won’t give up until they find their answers. This book features: Florence Nightingale, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia, Grace Hopper, Rosalind Franklin, Gladys West, Jane Goodall, Flossie Wong-Staal, Temple Grandin, Zaha Hadid, Ellen Ochoa, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha & Mari Copeny, and Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg & Wanjiru Wathuti
The Girl Who Could Fix Anything: Beatrice Shilling, World War II Engineer
By Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Daniel Duncan
48 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536212525 | Candlewick
Beatrice Shilling wasn’t quite like other children. She could make anything. She could fix anything. And when she took a thing apart, she put it back together better than before. When Beatrice left home to study engineering, she knew that as a girl she wouldn’t be quite like the other engineers – and she wasn’t. She was better. Still, it took hard work and perseverance to persuade the Royal Aircraft Establishment to give her a chance. But when World War II broke out and British fighter pilots took to the skies in a desperate struggle for survival against Hitler’s bombers, it was clearly time for new ideas. Could Beatrice solve an engine puzzle and help Britain win the war? American author Mara Rockliff and British illustrator Daniel Duncan team up for a fresh look at a turning point in modern history – and the role of a remarkable woman whose ingenuity, persistence, and way with a wrench (or spanner) made her quite unlike anyone else. An author’s note and a list of selective sources provide additional information for curious readers.
The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest
By Heather Lang
Illustrated by Jana Christy
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684371778 | Calkins Creek
Meg Lowman was always fascinated by the natural world above her head – the colors, the branches, and, most of all, the leaves and mysterious organisms living there. Meg set out to climb up and investigate the rain forest tree canopies – and to be the first scientist to do so. But she encountered challenge after challenge. Male teachers would not let her into their classrooms, the high canopy was difficult to get to, and worst of all, people were logging and clearing the forests. Meg never gave up or gave in. She studied, invented, and persevered, not only creating a future for herself as a scientist, but making sure that the rainforests had a future as well. Working closely with Meg Lowman, author Heather Lang and artist Jana Christy beautifully capture Meg’s world in the treetops.
The Outdoor Scientist: The Wonder of Observing the Natural World
By Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593115558 | Philomel BFYR
What are the aerodynamics of skipping stones or the physics of making sandcastles? Do birds use GPS to navigate their migratory routes? In this book, Dr. Temple Grandin, an inventor and world-renowned scientist, introduces readers to geologists, astrophysicists, oceanographers, and many other scientists who unlock the wonders of the natural world. She shares her childhood experiences and observations, whether on the beach, in the woods, working with horses, or gazing up at the night sky. This book explores all areas of nature and gives readers the tools to discover even more on their own. With forty projects to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around them, from the depths of space to their own backyard, this is a perfect read for budding scientists, inventors, and creators!
This Is Ruby
By Sara O’Leary
Illustrated by Alea Marley
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263611 | Tundra Books
Ruby is a little girl with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm that’s too big to contain! Ruby is always busy – she loves to make things, watch things grow and figure out how things work, with her dog Teddy by her side. And Ruby has lots of ideas about what she wants to be: maybe an animal conservationist? Or an archaeologist? She’s great at excavating (i.e. digging holes). Or maybe an inventor? She’s already invented a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it) and a time machine (the dinosaurs did have feathers after all, and the future is looking wild). This is Ruby, and this is her world.
Uma Wimple Charts Her House
By Reif Larsen and Ben Gibson
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593181188 | Anne Schwartz Books
Uma’s been making charts since she was a little kid. But when her teacher gives the class Uma’s dream assignment – to make a chart of their own homes – she is thrown for a loop. Oh, the possibilities! Oh, the pressure! What makes a house housey? she wonders. In order to figure it out, she asks each member of her family – Mom, Dad, and brothers Rex, Bram, and Lukey. But it’s not until she has a meltdown and Lukey comforts her that Uma figures out the secret to her chart – and her family. It’s the love that is shared inside a house’s walls.
Wonder Women of Science: How 12 Geniuses Are Rocking Science, Technology, and the World
By Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue
Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
208 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536207347 | Candlewick
Searching the cosmos for a new Earth. Using math to fight human trafficking. Designing invisible (and safer) cars. Unlocking climate-change secrets. All of this groundbreaking science, and much more, is happening right now, spearheaded by the diverse female scientists and engineers profiled in this book. Meet award-winning aerospace engineer Tiera Fletcher and twelve other science superstars and hear them tell in their own words not only about their fascinating work, but also about their childhoods and the paths they traveled to get where they are – paths that often involved failures and unexpected changes in direction, but also persistence, serendipity, and brilliant insights. Their careers range from computer scientist to microbiologist to unique specialties that didn’t exist before some amazing women profiled here created them. Here is a book to surprise and inspire not only die-hard science fans, but also those who don’t (yet!) think of themselves as scientists. Back matter includes reading suggestions, an index, a glossary, and some surprising ideas for how to get involved in the world of STEM.