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.

She Persisted All Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

Remember the United Nation’s 

International Day of the Girl Child, Oct. 11, 2018

She Persisted All Around the World

Chelsea Clinton, Author

Alexandra Boiger, Illustrator

Philomel Books, Nonfiction, Mar. 6, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Theme: Girls, Women, Diversity, Pursuing dreams, Persistence, Making a difference

Opening: It’s not always easy being a girl — anywhere in the world. It’s especially challenging in some places. There are countries where it’s hard for girls to go to school and where women need their husband’s permission to get a passport or even t o leave the house.

Synopsis:

Women around the world have long dreamed big, even when they’ve been told their dreams didn’t matter. They’ve spoken out, risen up and fought for what’s right, even when they’ve been told to be quiet. Whether in science, the arts, sports or activism, women and girls throughout history have been determined to break barriers and change the status quo. They haven’t let anyone get in their way and have helped us better understand our world and what’s possible. In this companion book to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe.

She Persisted Around the World is a book for everyone who has ever aimed high and been told to step down, for everyone who has ever raised their voice and been told to quiet down, and for everyone who has ever felt small, unimportant or unworthy.

Why I like this book:

Chelsea Clinton’s inspiring book empowers/encourages girls worldwide to nurture their big dreams and never give up.  There may be difficult times, but they must be true to themselves and fight for what they believe. Challenges build character and resilience and leads to success. It’s important for girls to find the power inside them and believe in it so they will one day be the next generation of doctors, scientists, environmentalists, artists, leaders, authors, astronauts and athletes.

This is what girls will learn as they delve into the stories of 13 ground-breaking women who never give-up despite the extraordinary challenges they faced. There are some familiar faces like Joanne (J.K.) Rowling, author of the bestselling Harry Potter series ; Marie Curie’s work in radioactivity; Malala Yousafzai’s tireless work to promote better education for girls globally; and Yuan Yuan Tan who against many odds, becomes the most famous Chinese ballerina of all times, performing at the San Francisco Ballet.

And the not-so-familiar women like Dr. Mary Verghese who loses the use of her legs in a car accident, and founds the first functional rehabilitation center in India; Leymah Gbowee who lives through the two Liberian civil war and unites thousands of Christian and Muslim women to peacefully protest and help end the war; and Aisha Rateb who was the first woman appointed to Egypt’s highest court, 50 years after she was first told she couldn’t be a judge.

Alexandra Boiger’s lively watercolors and ink illustrations showcase each motivating story. I like the book’s format. Each girl/woman is given a double-page spread with her motivating story shared on the inside page and a full illustration on the opposite page that also includes an important quote from the woman. This book belongs in every school library and pairs nicely with Clinton’s first book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.

Resources: Encourage students to name someone in their family, school, community, country and world that they feel has made a contribution. Even children are making changes in their world. Have kids draw a picture of the individual and write a short paragraph about what this person has done to help others. Also check out the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Book: Library Copy

Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story

Queen of the Diamond9780374300074_p0_v2_s260x420Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story

Emily Arnold McCully, Author and Illustrator

Farrar Straus Giroux Books, Biography, Feb. 17, 2015

Suitable for Ages: 5-8 years

Themes: Lizzie Murphy, Baseball, Women baseball players

Opening: “In 1900, baseball was America’s national pastime…In Warren, Rhode Island, there were several amateur teams and Lizzie Murphy followed all of them. Her father had played on one as a young man. Her brother, Henry, was a shortstop on one of the best boys’ teams. To sharpen his game, he played catch with Lizzie.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: Lizzie Murphy was good at baseball. In fact, she was better than most of the boys. But she was born in 1894, and everyone said baseball was not a game for girls.

Lizzie practiced with her brother anyway, and then she talked her way onto the local boys’ team, first as a batboy, then as a player. Everyone was impressed by her hard catches and fast pitches. By the time she turned fifteen, she playing for two different amateur boy’s teams. When she turned eighteen, Lizzie did something else that women didn’t do, she signed with a professional baseball team determined to earn her living playing the game.

Why I like this book:

  • It’s time to play ball and I can’t think of a more inspiring story to share than Emily Arnold McCully’s Queen of the Diamond.  Lizzie Murphy’s true story can only happen in America. It is historically accurate to the 1900 time period.
  • The story is definitely character-driven with Lizzy, a strong, self-confident and determined eight-year-old, who believes in herself, her abilities and follows her dream to play a boy’s game. Lizzy defies the social mores of the time.  Her father is supportive, her mother says “It’s not a game for girls.”
  • McCully also shows the inequality that Lizzie faces when she is signed with a major league team. Even though Lizzie is a phenomenon, draws large crowds and fans, the manager won’t pay her. She confronts him, demands equal pay and her team supports her.  Professional baseball  is her job for the next 17 years and she’s paid the same as men.
  • The narrative is a bit wordy, but it doesn’t feel inappropriate for the time period.  In fact I wanted to know the detail. I loved baseball as a girl and could catch a mean hardball.  I would have worn out the pages in this book if I had a copy.
  • McCully’s acrylic pen and ink drawings are warm, expressive and emotive. She captures the attire worn during the early 20th Century. Lizzie plays baseball in dresses and wears high-topped laced shoes.

Resources/Activities: There is a very  interesting Author’s Note at the end about Lizzie and women playing baseball.  Take children to a baseball game, if they’ve never attended a game. If they are interested in playing, sign them up for local Little League team. More girls are showing interest in playing Little League.  There are also Softball Little Leagues for girls. Visit Emily Arnold McCully at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.