March is Women’s History Month and this year the theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” a perfect theme for a STEM Friday round-up. Today we are going to look at some children’s book biographies of remarkable women who have made significant impacts in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Historically women have been under-represented in STEM fields. Reading these biographies, it becomes apparent that early females interested in STEM faced discrimination. They were not allowed to hold jobs, and had their ideas and work stolen by male colleagues. They managed to persevere, however, and make significant discoveries. Their stories are inspiring.
Are women in STEM also under-represented in children’s biographies? In preparation for this post, I did a search at Amazon. First, I selected “science” as a keyword. I selected all the titles in children’s books, and then narrowed to biographies. Ranking the results by publication date, I found that between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013 there were 54 biographies of famous men in science and technology published and 11 biographies of famous women (I didn’t count collections, only those of individuals). All the more reason to celebrate the books on this list!
Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon (February 19, 2013), is a picture book biography of the woman who discovered how the brightness of stars had fixed patterns, information that would later be used to measure distances through space. Amazingly, at the time she did her work women weren’t even allowed to use telescopes; she made her observations from photographs. Pick up this book and share it with information about the Pan-STARRS comet this week.
Sue at Archimedes Notebook has featured Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World By Laurie Lawlor and illustrated by Laura Beingessner. Surely Rachel Carson would approve of Sue’s most recent post about checking in with the red tails and her idea to head outside to observe the natural world.
Over at Simply Science, Shirley has shared Super Women in Science by Kelly Di Domenico. She writes that at one time men tried to use science to prove that women were less intelligent based on brain size.
Anastasia started the month with Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Author, Illustrator) at Booktalking, a biography of Dr. Jane Goodall.
Checking Shelf-employed, we found Lisa had reviewed Claire A. Nivola’s picture book, Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle.
Melissa found “A Perfect Pair” of books about women scientists with the fiction title The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly and the creative nonfiction title Girls Who Look Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists by Jeannine Atkins at Celebrate Science.
At NC Teacher Stuff, Jeff found another perfect pair, Kinkajous by Rachel Lynette and Cane Toad by Leon Gray. I think the girls who looked under rocks would approve.
Other lists of children’s books about women in STEM:
Women in Science – Trailblazers Before the 20th Century at Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month 2012
Women in Science – Trailblazers of the 20th Century at Miss Rumphius Effect
Biographies of Women Scientists: For Girls and Young Women at Library of Congress
Science Girls: Women with Vision at Teach with Picture Books
Looking for subject ideas for a biography about a woman in STEM? Try this fabulous list of Women in STEM from the National Women’s History Project.
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March 8, 2013 at 6:50 am
Over at Archimedes Notebook I’m talking about the Red Tailed hawks that nest above one of Cornell University’s athletic fields. They’ve been visiting the nest over the winter, refurbishing it for spring use (we hope). http://archimedesnotebook.blogspot.com/2013/03/checking-in-with-red-tails.html