Excellent Books for Celebrating Women in STEM
March 15, 2023
I’ve written before about the incredible contributions women have made to STEM throughout history. It would be an understatement to say that our world wouldn’t be the same place without the pioneering genius of women who chose to pursue their interest in science and technology. Unfortunately, it’s also a fact that many girls still struggle to connect with STEM in school due to old stereotypes and a lack of positive role models. Women who do pursue careers in STEM also frequently fall into the social and life sciences. While there’s nothing inherently negative about this, it does mean that women are still sharply underrepresented in engineering and math. This leaves educators with an important question, “How do we help our female students form a positive connection with STEM?”
One method that teachers can use to help correct this imbalance is to introduce positive representation in the form of books. Simply by showing students a historical figure who overcame the odds can have a profound impact on their perspective of STEM. To get started, here are just a few fun books showcasing incredible, STEM-tastic women that teachers should consider adding to their classroom:
- Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark & Katy Wu (730L)
Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations. Discover how she became a role model for girls everywhere who are fascinated by math and science!
- Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist: The True Story of a World-Traveling Bug Hunter by Christine Evans & Yasmin Imamura (730L)
Back in 1881, when Evelyn Cheesman was born, English girls were expected to be clean and dressed in frilly dresses. But Evelyn crawled in dirt and collected glow worms in jars. She would later take charge of the London Zoo insect house, filling it with crawling and fluttering specimens and breathing life back into the dusty exhibits. Inspire children to believe in their dreams and blaze their own trail with the story of Evelyn’s amazing life!
- Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson & Rebecca Huang (960L)
When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, her parents gave her a name meaning “Courageous Hero” and encouraged her love of learning and science. Discover how this extraordinary woman unlocked the secrets of the atom and became known throughout the world as the Queen of Physics!
- Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and Laura Freeman (980L)
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were good at math…really good. They participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes, like providing the calculations for America’s first journeys into space. And they did so during a time when being black and a woman limited what they could do. But they worked hard. They persisted. And they used their genius minds to change the world.
If you found these resources to be helpful, remember to check out the Blue Apple Timely Topic: Celebrating Women’s History Month. This resource comes with five free activities that will help your students exercise their creative and critical thinking skills while learning about the influence and impact that women have had on our history. Do one or do them all — the choice is yours. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate Women’s History Month with your students and show them how they can use their knowledge to become a powerful force for good.
*Today’s image comes from Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark & Katy Wu.