Even before Hidden Figures hit the big screen and became a (unsurprising) smash hit, there has been a recent slew of great nonfiction books about women in science. Although not all of these are particularly aimed at teens, they will resonate and are very readable.
As we all know, Hidden Figures is an amazing story of black women mathematicians who overcame so much to do much of the math – and create a lot of the math! – to help send the earliest American astronauts into space. Not to mention learning the earliest computer languages and programming. It’s an inspiring and amazing book that should be a must read for everyone (or at least watch the movie!).
Obviously the same story as the adult one, this one has been trimmed down make it more accessible to a middle school and early high school audience. I haven’t read this version, but can’t possibly believe it would be bad! My local middle school is using it as one of the required reading options this summer and I’m thrilled!
This is a great book that has amazing illustrations. Each page introduces a new woman from science – most historical figures – who made amazing discoveries and changed the science world in some way. It points out that many were overlooked in favor of male colleagues when it came to international and national awards. Yet the world is a very different place for these. This book is particularly accessible because each woman’s history is broken down into a page of narrative plus a variety of extra interesting facts. It’s physically a gorgeous book and very appealing. It also reads quickly.
This was my introduction into this ‘theme’ of amazing women in science that no one knows about and it totally captivated me. Taking place at the same time as Hidden Figures historically, it tells the story of more human computers (many white but some black as well) who worked on the NASA program but based out of California and what that program managed to accomplish alongside the program chronicled in Hidden Figures. Like Hidden Figures, it follows the women and their lives as they work to prove they are just as good as men at what they do (and in many cases, better!). Having read this when I saw the first trailer for Hidden Figures, I legit squealed at the fact we were getting awesome women scientists on the big screen!
This story meanders a bit and could probably stand to be a little shorter BUT it still gives an awesome overview and look into something most people know nothing about. It tells the story of Oak Ridge, TN which was created by the government specifically for the intent of figuring out how to make the atomic bomb. Thousands of people went to work there with very little knowledge of what was going on including many young women. It tells of a fascinating period of history that has been shrouded in mystery ever since the experiment started.
Books that include women scientists and also other awesome women:
This is set up similarly to Women in Science in that it briefly covers a lot of women. Each double page spread is a picture of the woman and a page (and sometimes a bit more) about them. These books do not just cover women from science but also a variety of other amazing women, most of whom were overlooked during their lifetimes. Many of them readers might have heard of but there are also plenty they might be unfamiliar with. A great fast read that might lead to more interest in particular women.
Very similar to the previous book (even written by the same woman), but specifically focusing on American women. Another great introduction to many amazing women.
Books I have heard great things about but have not yet had a chance to read:
So I’m including these because they’re all on suspended holds for me at my library, I just haven’t had time to read them yet, but I suspect they’ll be awesome. I’ve gotten the recommendations on good authority.
This one just came out last month and looks fascinating. Although the women focused on in this one are not necessarily scientists, their story deals directly with the discovery of Radium by the Curies. Hundreds of women work with radium everyday, literally shining from its effects. And then they all start to fall ill. The main part of the story is the fallout from this and the development of more workers’ rights in response.
Told by her son, it tells the story of Mary Sherman Morgan, and the building of rockets. Taking place in a similar time span as Hidden Figures and Rise of the Rocket Girls, this one seems to focus on one particular woman and her story that parallels the others, helping get Americans into space.
Taking place before many of the others, this one chronicles the women who went from being human computers to interpret what their male counterparts find to actually studying the information and making their own discoveries. Using many primary source materials, it tells a fascinating story of women who made so many amazing and unsung discoveries relating to astronomy
What other women in science books would you recommend? Especially outside my favorite of astronomy and space.
I could really use some coldflash falling asleep with one's head in the other's lap if you can squeeze it in :)
(for you, my darling? absolutely :D<33)
Barry’s sitting in the lounge room at STAR Labs with Caitlin and Cisco, wearily rehashing their plan for dealing with the latest meta causing untold destruction around Central City, when the alarms signalling an intruder start blaring.
Cisco gets to his feet with a yelp, but before any of them can do anything else, Leonard Snart strolls into the lounge at a clipped pace, the lines of his face set in deep annoyance. He’s wearing an oversized STAR Labs sweatshirt and loose sleep pants, parka and cold gun nowhere in sight, and Barry shares a bewildered look with Caitlin as the man makes a beeline for Barry.
“What in the world–” Caitlin murmurs, but she trails off when Barry squawks indignantly, suddenly on the receiving end of a lap full of supervillain.
“Len, what the hell,” he yelps, and Len glares, yanking Barry’s arms up and out of the way as he settles down just so.
“It’s three in the morning, and you weren’t home,” he grumbles, squashing his face in Barry’s lap. “Couldn’t sleep.”
Barry pauses for a beat, two, then grins mischievously, hands already curling around Len’s shoulder and running over his closely-cropped hair. “Poor baby,” he croons, eyes twinkling, “are you saying you can’t sleep without me?”
“Shut up,” Len grumbles, squeezing his eyes shut tight. Barry chuckles a little, indulgent as ever.
“Do you want to go home?” he murmurs, and Len sighs, snuggling down even further into Barry’s lap.
“No, s’okay,” he mumbles back, face already evening out, tense lines relaxing as slumber reclaims him. “Just sleep here.”
“Sounds good, baby,” Barry whispers, and he trails the pads of his fingers over Len’s cheek, bending over to press a soft kiss against Len’s temple. He looks up to see Caitlin grinning faintly and Cisco pretending to retch, and rolls his eyes in fond exasperation.
“Knock it off,” he complains mildly, making sure to keep his voice down. “Now, Cisco, what were you saying?”