Women can rock anything they dedicate themselves to. And these children’s books about women in science show just how women have shaped our understanding of science and influenced the communities around them.
This year my son surprised me in middle school – declaring that science of all classes was his favorite. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised… he is obsessed with snakes. But I wasn’t expecting that to branch out into loving all science.
My regular followers know that I often take subjects my sons are interested in and find books that spotlight women in them for younger readers.
I feel this gives children a better understanding that things like science aren’t just for men or women — but rather anyone can do anything they put their mind to.
You can find these books about women in science at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.
Children’s Books about Women in Science
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science: Robert F. Sibert Medal winner. Booklist Editor’s Choice. Kirkus Best book of 2018. New York Public Library Top 10 Best Books of 2018. Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first female entomologists who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist: Parents magazine Best Children’s Book of 2017. Like Jack and the Beanstalk but under the sea, Eugenie dove down to discover a world of wonder beneath the water’s surface. She earned the name Shark Lady with her many discoveries about these beautiful creatures. Through her accomplishments, this star girl of the sea taught the world that sharks should be admired, not feared, and that women can do anything they set their minds to.
Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story: 2018 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book. From the time she was a young girl, Anna Comstock was fascinated by the natural world. She loved exploring outdoors, examining wildlife and learning nature’s secrets. Eventually Anna became known as a nature expert, pioneering a movement to encourage schools to conduct science and nature classes for children outdoors, thereby increasing students’ interest in nature.
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps: Young animal lovers will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat.
Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer: Henrietta Levitt was the first person to discover the scientific importance of a star’s brightness—so why has no one heard of her? Her discovery made it possible for astronomers to measure greater and greater distances—leading to our present understanding of the vast size of the universe.
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle: Sylvia Earle first lost her heart to the ocean as a young girl when she discovered the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico in her backyard. With stunningly detailed pictures of the wonders of the sea, Life in the Ocean tells the story of Sylvia’s growing passion and how her ocean exploration and advocacy have made her known around the world.
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever: After becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees. Part fascinating biography, part inspirational story, this moving picture book about following your dreams, using your talents, and staying strong in the face of adversity.
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor: Filled with gorgeous illustrations, this biography shares the story of female scientist Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor against the odds.
Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World: In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, here is a biography of the pioneering environmentalist. “Once you are aware of the wonder and beauty of earth, you will want to learn about it,” wrote Rachel Carson. She wrote Silent Spring, the book that woke people up to the harmful impact humans were having on our planet.
Caroline’s Comets: A True Story: Using a new telescope she developed and built with her brother, Caroline discovered fourteen nebulae and two galaxies, was the first woman to discover a comet, and became the first woman officially employed as a scientist — by no less than the King of England!
Stone Girl Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning of Lyme Regis: Mary Anning is probably the world’s best-known fossil-hunter. As a little girl, she found a fossilized sea monster, the most important prehistoric discovery of its time. This book details the fascinating story of twelve-year-old Mary Anning, who, along with her beloved doggie became a celebrity and reveals that the beloved tongue-twister “She Sells Sea Shells” was about Mary.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles: A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year selection. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere–she even brought a crocodile to school! With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter’s inspiring story of passion and determination.
Marie Curie: In a time when few women attended college, Marie earned degrees in physics and mathematics and went on to discover two elements: radium and polonium. She also invented a new word along the way: radioactive. This book celebrates her momentous achievements while also educating its readers about her scientific accomplishments and their implications.
Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark: Nominee – 2017 Amelia Bloomer List, Early Readers Nonfiction. Before Eugenie Clark’s groundbreaking research, most people thought sharks were vicious, blood-thirsty killers. From the first time she saw a shark in an aquarium, Japanese-American Eugenie was enthralled. Instead of frightening and ferocious eating machines, she saw sleek, graceful fish gliding through the water. Taking research dives and training sharks earned her the nickname “The Shark Lady.”
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World: A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times best seller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary.
Join us for our annual Women’s History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and find even more posts on our Women’s History board on Pinterest: