10 Women Who Changed the World of Science


Women in STEMFor a while now, there has been an increasing push to get more girls and women involved in STEM activities and careers.  This increased attention has allowed more and more women in STEM to be recognized for the amazing work that they have been doing for hundreds of years to further the scientific community. It’s only right that the stories of these determined and intelligent women are being shared now through books, documentaries and movies.

I love providing my daughter with lots of books about strong women, so I’m thrilled to add some about women in STEM to our collection. Today I gathered a list of 10 books featuring women who have made groundbreaking discoveries in the field of science, even when it seemed like the world was against them.

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Working With Animals

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin was written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley. This book introduces readers to the life story of Dr. Temple Grandin. She used her different way of thinking to do extraordinary things. Readers learn about her background and her passions through brightly colored illustrations and a rhyming text.

I really like how the illustrations depict the way that Dr. Grandin sees things in her mind and how the story handles her journey to accepting what makes her different. The story ends with a great message for kids, as well as a letter from Temple Grandin herself. The book also includes a timeline of her life, and more detailed information on her story.

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter explores the life of Jane Goodall, from her early interest in animals to her groundbreaking research on the animal kingdom. The story first shows her as a young girl who loved watching animals and living alongside them. The author then takes the reader along with her as she travels to Africa to begin her work studying chimpanzees. The easy text is accompanied by colorful illustrations of her adventures and the animals she adored.

Women Changing the Health Field

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath was written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley. This inspirational story teaches readers about the life of Dr. Patricia Bath and her groundbreaking treatment for blindness.

Readers will learn how she fought against racism, sexism and poverty to make her dreams come true. The story touched on these bigger battles, but also on the smaller ones as well (such as not having a desk in the basement). The vivid illustrations and rhyming text make this a fun read aloud. The story ends with an uplifting message for kids, and includes a letter from Dr. Bath, a timeline of her life and fun facts and information about her.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell was written by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. This vividly illustrated book tells the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States. The story focuses on her struggle to be taken seriously in a field where women were not welcome. The text shows Blackwell as a determined and adventurous child. The anecdotes from her childhood may encourage readers to see a bit of themselves in her. The playful and colorful illustrations and fun text will delight young readers while imparting an important message.

Computer Coders

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code was written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu. This story follows Grace Hopper as she revolutionized computer coding. Through colorful and engaging illustrations and an upbeat tone, the author and illustrator take readers through the life of Grace Hopper. The story spans from her adventures taking apart clocks as a child, through her impressive career in the Navy. The quotes from Grace peppered throughout the story and the interesting anecdotes from her life make this a fun read aloud that inspires!


Margaret and the Moon was written by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Lucy Knisley. The book follows Margaret Hamilton from her early life as a girl who loved numbers and problem solving, to the woman who wrote computer code that helped US astronauts get to the moon. The cute illustrations portray Margaret as a young girl who is accessible and easy to relate to.

Young readers may find a connection to their own desire to solve problems in the world around them, no matter how big or small. I love the addition of real photos of Margaret throughout her life. I also enjoyed how the author talked about her father’s part in fueling her interest and her desire to study all the math that she could.

Studying the Stars

Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer was written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón.  This book follows Henrietta Leavitt as she ponders the size of the universe and makes important discoveries about the stars. The soft illustrations that accompany the text make the night sky pop on the page. They encourage the reader to have the same sense of wonder that Leavitt felt while gazing at the sky. This book not only encourages kids to pursue their interests, but also may make them look at the night sky a little differently. 


Caroline’s Comets: A True Story by Emily Arnold McCully tells the amazing story of Caroline Herschel, the first woman officially paid for her scientific work and employed as a scientist. Together with her brother, they built a revolutionary telescope for the time period and discovered multiple nebulae, galaxies and comets. The text is full of interesting tidbits and information, but is written simply enough for kids to enjoy. The book also includes a bibliography, timeline of the events in her life and a glossary of important terms.

Studying the Oceans

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea : Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor was written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raúl Colón. This story introduces readers to Marie Tharp, the female scientist who mapped the ocean floors. Her groundbreaking work helped scientists to understand how the Earth works. She used her lifelong love of maps to change the way that science looked at the oceans and the Earth.

The author tells the story from Tharp’s point of view. This style makes it easy for readers to be drawn in by her enthusiasm. The text is accompanied by soft watercolor illustrations which show her as a young girl working alongside her father, as well as a confident adult working with other scientists.  

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist was written by Jess Keating and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. Follow along with Eugenie Clark as she discovers the fascinating fish and sharks that live in the ocean, and decides to dedicate her life to learning everything she can about them. The story opens on Clark as a young girl, and follows as she ignores the naysayers and pursues her passion. While others see sharks as scary, she was enamored with them. The playful illustrations and easy text make this a great book for encouraging young kids to follow their dreams and pursue what interests them.

Do you have a favorite book about women in STEM? Share in the comments below!


10 comments on “10 Women Who Changed the World of Science

  1. I love this! As a women going into engineering, I think it’s so important to start encouraging girls at a young age that STEM fields can be dominated by women also! Thank you for this list!

    • I’m so glad you like it! I definitely want my daughter to understand that she can do anything. Her godmother is an engineer, so I’m grateful that she also has real world examples of women in STEM careers. She’s only two, but she likes to quote a line from the Patricia Bath book listed above that “Anything boys can do, girls can do too!”

  2. I’ve never seen these books before. I’ll be adding them to my resource list. I teach enrichment classes for homeschoolers, and these would really be a great addition to the curriculum.

  3. These books are amazing. We have the book about Temple Grandin and I really want to get the second book i that series for my daughter. My daughter actually reviewed the Temple Grandin boom and my blog and the author saw the review. My daughter was so very happy!

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