Tundra Telegram: Books for a Wakanda Wild Side

Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we check out the things that people are vibing (short for vibranium-ing) with on social media and recommend some forever heroic reads.  

This past weekend, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released in theatres across North America. The Marvel superhero film had an opening weekend box office of $180 million, making it the year’s second largest movie opening, and the largest movie opening in November ever. In addition to the financial success, the film is also, reportedly, a hit with critics and a fitting tribute to the late star of the original Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman.

With the release of any new Black Panther movie (yes, we know there have only been two so far), our minds naturally turn to afrofuturism, and the many great books – particularly YA – that combines science-fiction, history, and technology to explore the African diaspora experience. If you’re a fan of T’Challa, Shuri, Okoye, and the entire Black Panther supporting cast, and have been wondered what to read (with the youngsters in your life or by yourself) to hit that same chord, we have a few recommendations for you.

PICTURE BOOKS

It may not surprise you to discover there aren’t that many science fiction picture books. (Why there aren’t is another story. There are so many ones based in fantasy!) But perhaps the most obvious scratch for your afrofuturist itch can be found in the Frank Berrios-authored Little Golden Books Black Panther (illustrated by Patrick Spaziante) and Shuri Is Brave (illustrated by Anthony Conley). The Black Panther and his sister Shuri are each featured defending the technological utopia of Wakanda in these picture books with a fun retro design.

It’s less science fiction than science fact that’s featured in Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola, a picture book about an aspiring young astronaut who rouses her community (with a charisma worthy of T’Challa) to take a break from their various distractions and look to the skies for a rare comet appearance. (You can read more Rocket adventures with Rocket Says Clean Up!, but the astronaut stuff seemed more futuristic.)

Finally, STEM enthusiast Ruby does some futuristic things in This Is Ruby by Sara O’Leary and Alea Marley. Ruby is curious about her world, which leads to her inventing things like a time machine and a book with smells instead of words (so dogs can read it). And illustrator Alea Marley has depicted Ruby growing up in Caribbean, based on her own youth in Barbados.

CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE

A futuristic amusement park in – or rather over – Atlanta? You’ll find it Futureland: Battle for the Park by H. D. Hunter. When an extraordinary flying theme park where you can live out your wildest dreams arrives above Atlanta, it’s up to one boy – Cam Walker, the son of the park’s famous creators – to stop a sinister force from stealing the park’s technology and taking over the world.

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor is the perfect read if you’re looking for more African superheroes with superpowered family legacies. Nnamdi is a twelve-year-old boy whose father was the chief of police in their town in Nigeria until he was killed. But with his death, Nnamdi inherits a magical Ikenga figurine that allows him to transform into a huge and powerful monster, in a superhero origin story steeped in Igbo spiritualism.

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing futuristic or supernatural in Tight by Torrey Maldonado, a realistic and contemporary coming-of-age story. But the lead character Bryan loves reading comics and drawing superheroes – and relies on them and their guidance, in fact, when trying to escape the drama in his life. Especially when that drama is a new friend who might be pressuring him to do things he doesn’t want to. Tight shows how superheroes like Black Panther can lead us all on the right path.

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi is about a kid, Ebony Grace Norfleet, who loves everything science fiction. Her grandfather, who raises her, was one of the first Black engineers at NASA. An ds long as she can remember, Ebony has loved all things Star Trek and Star Wars. When Ebony is sent to live with her father in Harlem, she has trouble finding her place as a lover of all things space, but she finds even the big city can make room for stargazers.

YOUNG ADULT

If you’re looking for a YA novel that manages to be afrofuturist, superheroic, AND have connections to Hollywood, you want Nubia: The Awakening, the first book in a new series by acclaimed actor Omar Epps (Love & Basketball, House) and Clarence A. Haynes. The story follows three teens – Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho – the children of refugees from a fallen African utopia, who must navigate their newfound powers in a climate-ravaged New York City. It’s like X-Men meets Black Panther who team up to tackle class stratification and the climate crisis – who doesn’t want to read that?

Tochi Onyebuchi has been carrying the afrofuturist torch in YA for some time now, and his War Girls (and the follow-up, Rebel Sisters) are must-reads. Onyii and Ify star as two sisters in the futuristic, post-apocalyptic Nigeria of 2172 (where people fight in flying mech suits, which rules) who are willing to fight their way to a better future – but soon find themselves at battle with one another. Like the best afrofuturist fiction, it combines future with history, as Onyebuchi used the Nigerian civil war of the 1960s and 1970s as inspiration.

For a real charcuterie platter of some of the best afrofuturist women authors working in YA today, check out A Phoenix First Must Burn, edited by Patrice Caldwell, and featuring stories from Dhonielle Clayton, Ashley Woodfolk, Alaya Dawn Johnston, and many more. Alternate planets, soucouyants, dystopian future societies – this anthology has something for everyone.

Finally, the name Nnedi Okorafor has come up before – and with good reason: she’s one of the foremost authors of afrofuturist books and comics working today. Binti: The Complete Trilogy collects her Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning series that follows one extraordinary girl’s space journey from her home to distant Oomza University – a journey waylaid by an attack by the jellyfish-like Medusae on Binti’s spaceship. It’s an attack that leaves her the only survivor on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, and an event that leads to Binti herself trying to broker peace between two different species.

Wakanda forever, friends! See you in the (afro)future!

2022 Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration

The 2022 Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration is given to an illustrator residing in or from Atlantic Canada, or who has illustrated a book written by an Atlantic Canadian or a book that is set in the region. We would like to congratulate Alea Marley who won this year’s award for illustrating Sara O’Leary’s adorable This Is Ruby!

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.

Gift Books for Graduation

People all over the world are celebrating their graduations this summer so here’s a list of inspiring books that make great gifts for new graduates regardless of age.

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
By Amanda Gorman
Illustrated by Loren Long
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593203224 | Viking BFYR
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes – big or small – in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Great Dog
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Miguel Tanco
46 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919170 | Tundra Books
A pup and his father contemplate his grand future while looking at other Great Dogs in their family. Will he be a marathon runner like Uncle Tibor, the fastest dog in the family? Will he be an astronaut like Aunt Yuki, who reached for the stars? Or maybe a teacher like Uncle Scooter, respected by all? No matter what, says his father, he will be a GREAT dog!

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers
By Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina AlHathloul
Illustrated by Rebecca Green
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650642 | MineditionUS
Loujain watches her beloved baba attach his feather wings and fly each morning, but her own dreams of flying face a big obstacle: only boys, not girls, are allowed to fly in her country. Yet despite the taunts of her classmates, she is determined to do it – especially because Loujain loves colors, and only by flying can she see the color-filled field of sunflowers her baba has told her about. Eventually, he agrees to teach her, and Loujain’s impossible dream becomes reality – and soon other girls dare to learn to fly. Based on the experiences of co-author Lina AlHathloul’s sister, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain AlHathloul, who led the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, this moving and gorgeously illustrated story reminds us to strive for the changes we want to see – and to never take for granted women’s and girls’ freedoms.

Petra
By Marianna Coppo
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735262676 | Tundra Books
Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!

The Path: A Picture Book About Finding Your Own True Way
By Bob Staake
32 Pages | 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781662650635 | MineditionUS
On this playfully illustrated journey with Bob Staake, children and adults alike will discover an encouraging truth: our path through life is not only challenging and beautiful – it is all our own to discover and invent. “You will walk. You will walk along a well-worn path that many people have taken – and long before you.” So begins this inspirational journey over gentle, grassy hills, through fields of wildflowers, over raging rivers, up steep mountains, and even through a dark, chilly cave. When it splits in two, you will have to decide what to do next – and you’ll create a path that’s unique to you.

The Story of You
By Lisa Ann Scott
Illustrated by Sue Cornelison
32 Pages | 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781635923117 | Astra Young Readers
No one can tell you who you are – it’s all up to you! You write your story with your actions and words. This dynamic picture book for readers of all ages features lush illustrations that bring universal situations to light, including ways to be brave, bold, and kind, as well as knowing when you’ve made a mistake. A perfect gift for new parents, young graduates, as well as children and adults in any stage of their life, this is a book with a message: You are what you say and do.

The Year We Learned to Fly
By Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael López
32 Pages | 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399545535 | Nancy Paulsen Books
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.

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.

For older grads:

Call Us What We Carry
By Amanda Gorman
240 Pages | All Ages | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593465066 | Viking Books
Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

Rising Troublemaker: A Fear-Fighter Manual for Teens
By Luvvie Ajayi Jones
272 Pages | 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593526033 | Philomel Books
The world can feel like a dumpster fire, with endless things to be afraid of. It can make you feel powerless to ask for what you need, use your voice, and show up truly as your whole self. Add the fact that often, people might make you feel like your way of showing up is TOO MUCH. BE TOO MUCH, and use it for good. That is what it means to be a troublemaker. In this book, Luvvie Ajayi Jones – bestseller of books, sorceress of side-eyes and critic of culture – gives you the permission you might need to be the troublemaker you are, or wish to be. This is the book she needed when she was the kid who got in trouble for her mouth when she spoke up about what she felt was not fair. This is the book she needed when kids made fun of her Nigerian accent. This is the book that she needed when it was time to call herself a writer, but she was too scared. As a Rising Troublemaker, you need to know that the beautiful, audacious life you want is on the other side of doing the things that will scare you. This book will help you face and fight your fear and start living that life ASAP.

Caribbean Heritage Month

June is Caribbean Heritage Month! We’ve made a list of some of our recent books that take place in the Caribbean or include Caribbean characters. 

Picture Books

Coquí in the City
By Nomar Perez
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109038 | Dial Books
Miguel’s pet frog, Coquí, is always with him: as he greets his neighbors in San Juan, buys quesitos from the panadería, and listens to his abuelo’s story about meeting baseball legend Roberto Clemente. Then Miguel learns that he and his parents are moving to the U.S. mainland, which means leaving his beloved grandparents, home in Puerto Rico, and even Coquí behind. Life in New York City is overwhelming, with unfamiliar buildings, foods, and people. But when he and Mamá go exploring, they find a few familiar sights that remind them of home, and Miguel realizes there might be a way to keep a little bit of Puerto Rico with him – including the love he has for Coquí – wherever he goes.

Freedom Soup
By Tami Charles
Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
32 Pages | Ages 5-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763689773 | Candlewick Press
Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup – Freedom Soup – just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library
By Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrated by Eric Velasquez
48 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536208979 | Candlewick Press
Amid the scholars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renaissance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schomburg. This law clerk’s life’s passion was to collect books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora and bring to light the achievements of people of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s collection became so big it began to overflow his house (and his wife threatened to mutiny), he turned to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection that was the cornerstone of a new Negro Division. A century later, his groundbreaking collection, known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has become a beacon to scholars all over the world.

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.

Tia Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey
By Ruth Behar
Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593172414 | Knopf BFYR
When Estrella’s Tía Fortuna has to say goodbye to her longtime Miami apartment building, The Seaway, to move to an assisted living community, Estrella spends the day with her. Tía explains the significance of her most important possessions from both her Cuban and Jewish culture, as they learn to say goodbye together and explore a new beginning for Tía. A lyrical book about tradition, culture, and togetherness, Tía Fortuna’s New Home explores Tía and Estrella’s Sephardic Jewish and Cuban heritage. Through Tía’s journey, Estrella will learn that as long as you have your family, home is truly where the heart is.

Middle Grade

Merci Suarez Changes Gears
By Meg Medina
368 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536212587 | Candlewick
Merci Suárez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, as strong and thoughtful as Merci is, she has never been completely like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren’t going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately – forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. And Merci is left to her own worries, because no one in her family will tell her what’s going on. Winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal, this coming-of-age tale by New York Times best-selling author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school – and the steadfast connection that defines family.

Singing With Elephants
By Margarita Engle
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593206690 | Viking BFYR
Cuban-born eleven-year-old Oriol lives in Santa Barbara, California, where she struggles to belong. But most of the time that’s okay, because she enjoys helping her parents care for the many injured animals at their veterinary clinic. Then Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature, moves to town, and aspiring writer Oriol finds herself opening up. As she begins to create a world of words for herself, Oriol learns it will take courage to stay true to herself and do what she thinks is right – attempting to rescue a baby elephant in need – even if it means keeping secrets from those she loves. A beautifully written, lyrically told story about the power of friendship – between generations, between humans and animals – and the potential of poetry to inspire action and acceptance.

Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene
By Emma Otheguy
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593372630 | Knopf BFYR
It’s a good thing Sofía Acosta loves dreaming up costumes, because otherwise she’s a ballet disaster – unlike her parents, who danced under prima ballerina Alicia Alonso before immigrating to the suburbs of New York. Luckily, when the Acostas host their dancer friends from Cuba for a special performance with the American Ballet Theatre, Sofía learns there’s more than dance holding her family together. Between swapping stories about Cuba and sharing holiday celebrations, the Acostas have never been more of a team. Then Sofía finds out about the dancers’ secret plans to defect to the United States, and makes a serious mistake – she confides in her best friend, only to discover that Tricia doesn’t want “outsiders” moving to their community. Now Sofía wonders what the other neighbors in her tight-knit suburban town really think of immigrant families like hers. Sofía doesn’t want to make a scene, but if she doesn’t speak up, how will she figure out if her family really belongs?

Young Adult

Fight Like a Girl
By Sheena Kamal
272 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735265578 | Penguin Teen Canada
Love and violence. In some families they’re bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye color or a quirk of smile. Trisha’s trying to break the chain, channeling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Trinidadian descent. Her father comes and goes as he pleases, his presence adding a layer of tension to the Toronto east-end townhouse that Trisha and her mom call home, every punch he lands on her mother carving itself indelibly into Trisha’s mind. Until the night he wanders out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, practicing on her learner’s permit, her mother in the passenger seat. Her father is killed, and her mother seems strangely at peace. Lighter, somehow. Trisha doesn’t know exactly what happened that night, but she’s afraid it’s going to happen again. Her mom has a new man in her life and the patterns, they are repeating.

Home, Home
By Lisa Allen-Agostini
160 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781984893611 | Ember
Moving from Trinidad to Canada wasn’t her idea. But after being hospitalized for depression, her mother sees it as the only option. Now, living with an estranged aunt she barely remembers and dealing with her “troubles” in a foreign country, she feels more lost than ever. Everything in Canada is cold and confusing. No one says hello, no one walks anywhere, and bus trips are never-ending and loud. She just wants to be home home, in Trinidad, where her only friend is going to school and Sunday church service like she used to do. But this new home also brings unexpected surprises: the chance at a family that loves unconditionally, the possibility of new friends, and the promise of a hopeful future. Though she doesn’t see it yet, Canada is a place where she can feel at home – if she can only find the courage to be honest with herself.

Women’s History Month 2022: Women in Math & Science

March is Women’s History Month and there are so many incredible and inspiring books to read! We’ll be sharing a new themed list every week this month so make sure to keep an eye on our blog!

Alis the AviatorAlis the Aviator
By Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
Illustrated by Kalpna Patel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101919057 | Tundra Books
Come along on an aviation journey with Alis! This spunky female guide will take you through an ABC of planes featuring gorgeous cut-paper art. An A to Z of planes past and present, this book has stunning cut-paper art and a cute-as-a-button guide named Alis. Named for Dr. Alis Kennedy, likely one of the first Indigenous women to obtain a commercial pilot license in Canada, Alis will take you on an aviation tour from the Avro Arrow to the Zeppelin and everything in between. Meticulously researched and uniquely crafted, this is a one-of-a-kind book that will delight aviation fans big and little.

Blast Off! How Mary Sherman Morgan Fueled America into Space
By Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by Sally W. Comport
48 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781684372416 | Calkins Creek
Growing up in the 1920s on a dirt-poor farm in North Dakota, Mary Sherman’s life was filled with chores – until she finally began school and discovered she loved to learn. Mary excelled at science, especially chemistry, and leaped at the chance to work in a laboratory during World War II designing rocket fuels. And when the US decided to enter the space race, Mary was chosen over her male colleagues to create the fuel to launch a rocket carrying America’s first satellite. With courage and perseverance, Mary’s hard work and calculations paid off, opening up a brand-new frontier for exploration. This STEM biography of an unsung and courageous woman in science will inspire and motivate young readers.

Count on MeCount on Me
By Miguel Tanco
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265752 | Tundra Books
Everyone has a passion. For some, it’s music. For others, it’s art. For our heroine, it’s math. When she looks around the world, she sees math in all the beautiful things: the concentric circles a stone makes in a lake, the curve of a slide, the geometric shapes in the playground. Others don’t understand her passion, but she doesn’t mind. There are infinite ways to see the world. And through math is one of them. This book is a gorgeous ode to something vital but rarely celebrated. In the eyes of this little girl, math takes its place alongside painting, drawing and song as a way to ponder the beauty of the world.

Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America’s Children
By Monica Kulling
Illustrated by Julianna Swaney
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781101917893 | Tundra Books
Growing up in New York in the late 1800s was not easy. When she lost her brother and father to typhoid fever, Sara Josephine Baker became determined to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. When she graduated in 1898, Dr. Jo still faced prejudice against women in her field. Not many people were willing to be seen by a female doctor, and Dr. Jo’s waiting room remained mostly empty. She accepted a job in public health and was sent to Hell’s Kitchen, one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods where many immigrants lived. There, she was able to treat the most vulnerable patients: babies and children. She realized that the best treatment was to help babies get a stronger start in life. Babies need fresh air, clean and safe environments, and proper food. Dr. Jo’s successes, fueled by her determination, compassion and ingenuity, made her famous across the nation for saving the lives of 90,000 inner city infants and children.

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.

How to Hear the Universe: Gaby González and the Search for Einstein’s Ripples in Space-Time
By Patricia Valdez
Illustrated by Sara Palacios
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984894595 | Knopf BFYR
In 1916, Albert Einstein had a theory. He thought that somewhere out in the universe, there were collisions in space. These collisions could cause little sound waves in the fabric of space-time that might carry many secrets of the distant universe. But it was only a theory. He could not prove it in his lifetime. Many years later, an immigrant scientist named Gabriela Gonzalez asked the same questions. Armed with modern technology, she joined a team of physicists who set out to prove Einstein’s theory. At first, there was nothing. But then . . . they heard a sound. Gabriela and her team examined, and measured, and re-measured until they were sure. Completing the work that Albert Einstein had begun 100 years earlier, Gonzalez broke ground for new space-time research. In a fascinating picture book that covers 100 years, 2 pioneering scientists, and 1 trailblazing discovery, Patricia Valdez sheds light on a little known but extraordinary story.

Ocean SpeaksOcean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret
By Jess Keating
Illustrated by Katie Hickey
34 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265080 | Tundra Books
From a young age, Marie Tharp loved watching the world. She loved solving problems. And she loved pushing the limits of what girls and women were expected to do and be. In the mid-twentieth century, women were not welcome in the sciences, but Marie was tenacious. She got a job at a laboratory in New York. But then she faced another barrier: women were not allowed on the research ships (they were considered bad luck on boats). So instead, Marie stayed back and dove deep into the data her colleagues recorded. She mapped point after point and slowly revealed a deep rift valley in the ocean floor. At first the scientific community refused to believe her, but her evidence was irrefutable. She proved to the world that her research was correct. The mid-ocean ridge that Marie discovered is the single largest geographic feature on the planet, and she mapped it all from her small, cramped office.

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 Aquanaut
By Jill Heinerth
Illustrated by Jaime Kim
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735263635 | Tundra Books
Through beautiful, spare text, Jill Heinerth tells her story about a girl who feels too young, too little, and too far away from her dreams. But you don’t need to wait to grow up. It doesn’t take much to imagine all the things you can do and be. What if your bedroom were a space station? What would it be like to have flippers or tusks? In your own home you can explore new worlds and meet new friends. Jaime Kim’s luminous art transports readers back and forth through time to see how Jill’s imagination as a young girl laid the pathway to her accomplishments and experiences as an underwater explorer.

The Bug GirlThe Bug Girl
By Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by KERASCOET
44 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267527 | Tundra Books
Sophia Spencer has loved bugs ever since a butterfly landed on her shoulder–and wouldn’t leave! – at a butterfly conservancy when she was only two-and-a-half years old. In preschool and kindergarten, Sophia was thrilled to share what she knew about grasshoppers (her very favorite insects), as well as ants and fireflies . . . but by first grade, not everyone shared her enthusiasm. Some students bullied her, and Sophia stopped talking about bugs altogether. When Sophia’s mother wrote to an entomological society looking for a bug scientist to be a pen pal for her daughter, she and Sophie were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response – letters, photos and videos came flooding in. Using the hashtag #BugsR4Girls, scientists tweeted hundreds of times to tell Sophia to keep up her interest in bugs – and it worked!

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.

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.

For older kids:

Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet
By Diana Kapp
Illustrated by Ana Jarén
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593428054 | Delacorte BFYR
An inspired collection of profiles, featuring environmental changemakers, social entrepreneurs, visionaries and activists.  Journalist Diana Kapp has crisscrossed this country writing for and about empowered girls, girls who expect to be leaders, founders and inventors. This book takes it a step further. It says to girls: while you’re striving to be CEOs and world leaders, consider solving the biggest challenge of our lifetime, too – because you can do both at the same time, and here are 34 women doing just that.

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!

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.