books, discussion, Themed Book Recommendations

Diversity in STEM – Picture + Chapter Books

Introduction

This was a surprisingly difficult list to put together. I assumed I would be flooded with books fitting the theme and I would have to break it into multiple lists, and while I’m sure I missed some if not many books that exist, in terms of books I was able to find when searching deeply for them, these were the ones I was able to find.

I wanted to include books geared towards younger children, as girls begin to become discouraged from STEM subjects at a young age. This ad I’m adding below does a wonderful job illustrating this in less than a minute:

A majority of children’s science books seem to be geared towards male children in the vein of messy experiment instructions (though girls of course tend t enjoy these as well, they are often marketed towards boys, and those marketed towards girls seem to only have instructions for making glittery make-up which does not help break stereotypes). Fiction books which discuss STEM seem geared towards older children and young adults, which may be a separate list one day.

Please recommend books you think I missed, and I’ll put together a follow-up including them!


Picture Books

Hardcover, 32 pages

Published September 3rd 2013 by Harry N. Abrams

Official Synopsis: Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fly but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.

“Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.” 

― ANDREA BEATY, ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

About The Author:

Allison Beaty is a children’s book author with a background in computer science and biology. Several of her books are aimed at teaching young children, particularly girls, about famous female role models and leaders in traditionally male dominated fields.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (both the author and main character of the book).

Reviews from #OwnVoices Reviewers:

Review from Kirkus Reviews (unclear if #OwnVoices)

Slate Breakers Review (female reviewers)


Hardcover, 32 pages

Published September 6th 2016 by Harry N. Abrams

Official Synopsis: Scientist Ada has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!

They watched their young daughter and sighed as they did.

What would they do with this curious kid,

who wanted to know what the world was about?

They smiled and whispered, “We’ll figure it out.”

And that’s what they did — because that’s what you do

when your kid has a passion and heart that is true.

They remade their world — now they’re all in the act

of helping young Ada sort fiction from fact.

– ANDREA BEATY,  ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

About The Author:

Allison Beaty is a children’s book author with a background in computer science and biology. Several of her books are aimed at teaching young children, particularly girls, about famous female role models and leaders in traditionally male dominated fields.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (both the author and main character of the book); women of color in STEM (main character of the book).

Reviews from #OwnVoices Reviewers:

Listen to this book be read for Story Time on the International Space Station

Kirkus Reviews (unclear if #OwnVoices)

The Tiny Activist Review (written by a duo of gender-queer authors)

New York Journal of Books (written by a woman of color)


Hardcover, 32 pages

Published May 1st 2016 by Lee & Low Books

Official Synopsis: Vivien Thomas’s greatest dream was to attend college to study medicine. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings. Then he heard about a job opening at the Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Vivien knew that the all-white school would never admit him as a student, but he hoped working there meant he was getting closer to his dream.

As Dr. Blalock’s research assistant, Vivien learned surgical techniques. In 1943, Vivien was asked to help Dr. Helen Taussig find a cure for children with a specific heart defect. After months of experimenting, Vivien developed a procedure that was used for the first successful open-heart surgery on a child. Afterward, Dr. Blalock and Dr. Taussig announced their innovative new surgical technique, the Blalock-Taussig shunt. Vivien’s name did not appear in the report.

Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine children’s heart surgery. Tiny Stitches is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine. 

About The Author:

Gwendolyn Hooks is a children’s book author and formerly taught middle school math. As a woman of color, she is the author of several children’s books about important historical figures of color and the civil rights movement.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women of color in medicine (main character); women of color (author).

Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Official Synopsis: The latest by prolific children’s book author Jan Wahl, Hedy and her Amazing Invention teaches kids about the pioneering scientific work and inspiring courage of Hedy Lamarr, the famous Hollywood actress who fought against old-fashioned parents, a domineering husband, prejudice, and stereotypes to become an accomplished inventor whose work helped pave the way for many of the communications technologies we enjoy today.

Hardcover, 36 pages

Published February 5th 2019 by Penny Candy Books

About The Author:

Jan Wahl was a picture book author who authored over 120 books. This was his last published work.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (main character)

Reviews:

Kirkus Review

Official Synopsis: A girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!? But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.

Hardcover, 32 pages

Published August 1st 2013 by Kids Can Press

About The Author:

Ashley Spires writes and illustrates children’s books. This work has also been turned into an animated short film. The trailer is embedded below.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in Science (main character)

Reviews:

A Year of Reading


Chapter Books

Hardcover, 192 pages

Published January 16th 2018 by Bloomsbury USA

Official Synopsis: The hilarious and smart start of a series about a girl who loves to build—STEM-powered, creative fun for girls.

Ellie is an engineer. With a tool belt strapped over her favorite skirt (who says you can’t wear a dress and have two kinds of screwdrivers handy, just in case?), she invents and builds amazing creations in her backyard workshop. Together with her best friend Kit, Ellie can make anything. As Kit’s birthday nears, Ellie doesn’t know what gift to make until the girls overhear Kit’s mom talking about her present—the dog Kit always wanted! Ellie plans to make an amazing doghouse, but her plans grow so elaborate that she has to enlist help from the neighbor boys and crafty girls, even though the two groups don’t get along. Will Ellie be able to pull off her biggest project yet?

Illustrated with Ellie’s sketches and plans, and including backmatter with how-tos, this is full of engineering fun!

About The Author:

Jackson Pearce is an author who writes children’s books, middle grade novels and young adult novels. She writes largely fantasy, but Ellie, Engineer makes up a trilogy of realistic fiction geared towards young girls.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (main character)

Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Jeanne Wald

Official Synopsis: Alison Weiss at Sky Pony Press has bought the first three books in Lucy’s Lab, a STEM-based chapter book series by Michelle Houts, in which second grader Lucy Marie Watkins, who loves bugs, mud, and everything that looks like science, will explore the world around her. Each book will tie into a different science topic. The first two books, Lucy Saves Some Squirrels and Solids, Liquids, Guess Who’s Got Gas?

Published September 26th 2017 by Sky Pony Press

About The Author:

Michelle Houts has degrees in early childhood education and speech pathology, and has authored several books for kids and teens.

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (character and author)

Reviews:

Jeanne Wald

Official Synopsis: From Emily Calandrelli—host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the first novel in a brand-new chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology.

Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped!

With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.

Paperback, 128 pages

Published August 29th 2017 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers 

About The Author:

Emily is an MIT-engineer turned Emmy-nominated science TV host.

One of her Ted Talks can be watched here:

Marginalized Group Represented:

Women in STEM (main character and author)

Reviews:

Kirkus Review

2 thoughts on “Diversity in STEM – Picture + Chapter Books”

  1. You could add Jeremy Whitley’s ‘The Unstoppable Wasp’ comic to this list, too. There are several trade collections out and it focuses on Nadia Van Dyne as the Wasp. The story is light, funny, and upbeat. It’s tone very much reminds me of ‘The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl’ and ‘Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat.’ Nadia creates G.I.R.L. (or Geniuses In action Research Labs) where she works with a team of brilliant young women and most issues feature profiles and/or interviews with real life women in STEM fields. It’s a great comic, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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