Wonder Women of Science by Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue

International Women’s Day – March 8, 2021

Women’s History Month

Wonder Women of Science: Twelve Geniuses Who Are Currently Rocking Science, Technology, and the World

By Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue

Sally Wern Comport, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Nonfiction, Mar. 23, 2021

Suitable for Ages: 9-12

Themes: Girls, Women, Biographies, Scientists, Engineers, STEM

Publisher’s Synopsis:

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.

Meeting 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.

Why I like this book:

Women of Wonder is an inspiring and appealing resource for teen girls who love math and science and haven’t given a lot of thought to STEM careers. What I like most about the book is that the 12 women featured are actively engaged in fascinating work, NOW! They are leading the way for generations of girls and making a creative difference in their chosen professions — differences that impact the world.

Dr. Evelyn Galban is a veterinary neurosurgeon who has created a “niche” for herself in a field she calls “Zoo Neuro.” She combines her passion for wildlife and zoo animals with her passion for neurology. Animals have neurological problems just like humans.  Patrícia Medici, a research coordinator for the Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative, devotes her life to saving the tapir in the Brazilian rain forests. Tapirs play an important role in balancing the ecosystem. Davine Durgana is an international human tights statistician who is using math to end modern slavery.  She gathers solid numbers worldwide to extrapolate how big the problem is. She’s devoted her life to helping enslaved people.  Dava Newman is an aerospace biomedical engineer and former NASA deputy administrator, who rethought the marshmallow space suit. Space suits provide pressure on the astronaut’s body to help blood circulation. Her modern superhero designs are more skintight and give astronauts greater movement. Kaitlyn Sadtler is an bioengineer who works with the immune system to regenerate tissue. Her goal is to help the immune body accept new tissue and not fight it.

This book is a beautifully crafted and the format is the same for each scientist/engineer featured. There is a lovely illustration of each woman and pictures of them as children. There is a biography about each woman and their amazing specialty.  There is a section called “The Spark” which includes information their childhoods that inspired their interests. Each woman writes a note to their younger self, a note to the reader, and concludes with “Words to Live By.” The book is quite engaging.

Resources: There is wonderful backmatter that includes 16 “Suggestions for Further Stem Awesomeness” — like finding a mentor, stepping outside of your comfort zone, attending a STEM summer camp, get involved in your community and make friends with failure.  There is also suggestions for additional reading.

Tiera Fletcher is an award-winning aerospace engineer who was hired by NASA directly after graduating from MIT. While working to send humans to Mars and inspire others to achieve their dreams, she was featured in a North Face ad campaign, “Tiera Moves Mountains.” She travels the world with her family.

Ginger Rue is an author and a contributing editor for Guideposts magazine. She lives in Alabama with her husband and their blended family.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by Candlewick in exchange for a review.

Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi

Weird Little Robots

Carolyn Crimi, Author

Corinna Luyken, Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Oct. 1, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 8-12

Themes: Science, Girls, Building robots, Bird watching, STEAM, Magic, Friendship

Book Synopsis:

When two science-savvy girls create an entire robot world, they don’t expect the robots to come alive. But life may be a bit more magical than they thought.

Eleven-year-old Penny Rose has just moved to a new town, and so far the robots she builds herself are her only company. But with just a bit of magic, everything changes: she becomes best friends with Lark, has the chance to join a secret science club, and discovers that her robots are alive.

Penny Rose hardly remembers how lonely she used to feel. But then a fateful misstep forces her to choose between the best friend she’s always hoped for and the club she’s always dreamed of, and in the end it may be her beloved little robots that pay the price.

Quirky and wonderful, this illustrated chapter book from Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken shows that making your own space and a true friend in the world is a kind of magic all its own.

Why I like this book:

Carolyn Crimi’s has created an endearing debut chapter book that is full of wonder, magic, and new friendships. There is also a healthy dose of suspense and humor. And it is a story about girls who love all things science! Corinna Luyken’s warm and expressive black and white illustrations appear in each chapter and contribute to the story.

I enjoyed the friendship that is forged between Penny Rose and Lark, two quirky eleven-year-old girls who love science and making things. Penny Rose is good at building robots out of items she finds, like cell phones, dentures, and pencil sharpeners. Lark is not afraid of showing her weirdness and is passionate about birdwatching and building unusual birdhouses for her feathered friends from things she collects. Lark brings a unique perspective to Penny Rose’s interest in robots. Both girls are imaginative and create roboTown — a perfect city for the robots — in Penny Rose’s backyard shed.  Then something magical happens. The robots spring to life. Each robot has its own personality.

However, the friendship is tested when Penny Rose is invited to become a member of Secret Science Society. Much to her surprise, the society is made up of popular girls at school who like science, and a bully, Jeremy. But Penny Rose isn’t allowed to tell anyone about the society, including, Lark, who isn’t invited. Tension builds between the girls, until someone steals some of the robots and trashes the shed. But revenge is sweet in this story. And friendships can be rekindled when Penny Rose decides not to join the society unless Lark is invited.

Carolyn Crimi is the author of several books for children, including Where’s My Mummy?, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, Henry and the Crazed Chicken Pirates, and There Might Be Lobsters. She lives in Illinois.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by publisher.