The gender gap in STEM is widely reported with women underrepresented compared to their male counterparts. One possible explanation for this is are gender stereotypes and biases such as the perception of STEM careers as more masculine, coupled with girls’ negative views of their own abilities in STEM.
STEM industries are some of the fasted growing and most in demand so it is now more important than ever that we break down these biases, starting from a young age. One way to do this is by exposing children to stem themed books with inspiring female characters. Here are some of our favourites:
WOMEN IN SCIENCE
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: A gloriously illustrated celebration of trailblazing women. Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from both the ancient and modern worlds. The book also contains fascinating infographics and an illustrated scientific glossary.
ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.
THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: A little girl and her canine assistant set out to make the most magnificent thing. But after much hard work, the end result is not what the girl had in mind. Frustrated, she quits. Her assistant suggests a long walk, and as they walk, it slowly becomes clear what the girl needs to do to succeed. A charming story that will give kids the most magnificent thing: perspective!
STONE GIRL, BONE GIRL
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Mary Anning is probably the world’s best-known fossil-hunter. As a little girl, she found a fossilised sea monster, the most important prehistoric discovery of its time. Best-selling author Laurence Anholt turns Mary’s fascinating life into a beautiful story, ideal for reading aloud. Sheila Moxley’s luscious pictures vividly evoke the coastal setting and the real-life dramas of this spectacular tale.
GIRLS THINK OF EVERYTHING
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have come up with ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?
ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Where some people see rubbish, Rosie Revere sees inspiration. Alone in her room at night, shy Rosie constructs great inventions from odds and ends. Hot dog dispensers, helium pants, python-repelling cheese hats. Rosie’s gizmos would astound—if she ever let anyone see them. Afraid of failure, she hides them away under her bed. Until a fateful visit from her great-great-aunt Rose, who shows her that a first flop isn’t something to fear — it’s something to celebrate.
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) was not only one of the greatest astronomers who ever lived but also the first woman to be paid for her scientific work. When her favourite brother, William, left for England, he took her with him. The siblings shared a passion for stars, and together they built the greatest telescope of their age, working tirelessly on star charts. Using their telescope, 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!
THE GIRL WHO NEVER MADE MISTAKES
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Meet Beatrice Bottomwell: a nine-year-old girl who has never (not once!) made a mistake. She never forgets her math homework, she never wears mismatched socks, and she ALWAYS wins the yearly talent show at school. In fact, Beatrice holds the record of perfection in her hometown, where she is known as The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes. Life for Beatrice is sailing along pretty smoothly until she does the unthinkable-she makes her first mistake. And in a very public way!
MARGARET AND THE MOON
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world. Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She hand wrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Meet Ruby―a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming will be reinforced through fun playful exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.
FRANNY K. STEIN: MAD SCIENTIST
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Franny K. Stein is not your average girl — she’s a mad scientist. She prefers poison ivy to daisies, and when Franny jumps rope, she uses her pet snake. The kids in Franny’s class think she’s weird, wacky, and just plain creepy. Tired of being stared at, Franny decides to attempt her most dangerous experiment yet – she’s going to fit in. but when a giant Monstrous Fiend attacks the class, everyone knows it’s up to a mad scientist to save the day. But has Franny lost her creepy, crawly ways?
WOMEN IN SPACE
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station; and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space and more. Readers will also learn about the Mercury 13, American women selected by NASA in the late 1950s to train for spaceflight. Their story, and the stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who followed them, demonstrate the vital role women have played in the quest for scientific understanding.
IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Iggy has one passion: architecture. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials. But hey! What’s wrong with a tower built of diapers? (Even dirty ones!) Dear Ig has it made until second grade. That’s when he meets his match. His teacher, Miss Lila Greer, frowns upon architecture. Banned from building in school, second grade becomes a bore until one day a fateful field trip lets Iggy Peck show the world his true talents!
PEG + CAT
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: It’s the day of the Tallapegga Twenty, and Peg and her trusty sidekick, Cat, must build a car from various items they find in the junkyard. When they arrive at the racetrack, they see that the other cars are much bigger and cooler than their own. They’ve got a really big problem! To win, they’ll have to use their maths skills – and remember not to give up, even when it seems as though they just can’t win.
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Some kids are too smart for their own good…and maybe for everybody else’s good. When an overly ambitious little girl builds a humongous robot for her science fair, she fully expects to win first place. What she doesn’t expect is the chaos that follows. Mac Barnett and illustrator Dan Santat combine forces to create a hilarious kid’s eye account of the kind of destruction that comes only from a child’s good intentions.
MY NAME IS NOT ISABELLA
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: ‘My name is not Isabella’ explores some of the amazing women who changed history. This heartwarming tale empowers young girls to realise their true capabilities while inspiring them to let their own personalities shine. With strong gift potential: inspiring message that mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends will want to pass along to little girls in their lives.
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor–and one special cameo.
AMAZING STORIES OF WOMEN IN SPACE
DESCRIPTION FROM THE PUBLISHER: From Ada Lovelace in the nineteenth century, to the women behind the Apollo missions, from the astronauts breaking records on the International Space Station to those blazing the way in the race to get to Mars, A Galaxy of Her Own reveals extraordinary stories, champions unsung heroes and celebrates remarkable achievements from around the world.
For Amazon.co.uk click here
For more STEM book recommendations click here.
For profiles of inspiring women in STEM click here.