Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 200,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
Register or subscribe today
Find more Classroom Connections
While STEM fields have been traditionally been dominated by white men, the titles on this list, suitable for a range of ages, center STEM workers from the margins, offering students from all backgrounds a more inclusive overview of the fields.
STEM education serves an important function in today’s classrooms. By using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts, students can investigate and develop creative solutions for real-world problems, which will prepare them for challenges and jobs that we can’t yet predict. Students deserve to get a head start in preparing for the jobs of the future. Yet the dominant voices in STEM fields have traditionally been white men. This list helps bring to light a more complete, inclusive vision of STEM researchers, giving more students the opportunity to find their place in this important field regardless of their sex, gender, race, or ethnicity. The STEM activists represented in this list are changing the narrative, allowing for more diversity in the recognition of significant contributions.
The Astronaut with a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa. By Julia Finley Mosca. Illus. by Daniel Rieley. 2019. Innovation, $17.99 (9781943147632). K–Gr. 3.
Racism, sexism, and other hardships did not keep Dr. Ellen Ochoa from living her dream of becoming the world’s first Latina in space. Lighthearted illustrations and rhyming poetry make the content manageable, age appropriate, and fun. Additional facts, biographical information, and a time line of major events further highlight Ochoa’s life and career.
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. By Helaine Becker. Illus. by Dow Phumiruk. 2018. Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $17.99 (9781250137524). K–Gr. 3.
This inspiring picture book captures Katherine Johnson’s drive and determination through her segregated childhood education to her critical leadership role supporting many NASA programs, including Apollo 13. Additional in-depth information about Johnson’s life, along with a list of sources, is included.
A Dream of Flight: Albert Santos-Dumont’s Race Around the Eiffel Tower. By Jef Polivka and Rob Polivka. Illus. by Rob Polivka. 2019. Farrar, $18.99 (9780374306618). Gr. 1–3.
This picture-book biography describes the achievements of aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, who is considered a national hero in his native Brazil. In 1901, after he persevered through multiple failures, Santos-Dumont won the coveted Deutsch Prize for piloting an airship across Paris and around the Eiffel Tower, returning in 30 minutes. Polivka’s lively illustrations convey a sense of adventure. Back matter includes a time line that contextualizes these accomplishments alongside other aviation milestones.
The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague. By Julia Finley Mosca. Illus. by Daniel Rieley. 2018. Innovation, $17.99 (9781943147427). K–Gr. 3.
This illustrated rhyming tale depicts the sexism and racial inequality that plagued Raye Montague in her attempts to become an engineer and change the way ships are designed. The book also includes a complete biography, time line, and a note from Montague.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race. By Margot Lee Shetterly. Illus. by Laura Freeman. 2018. Harper, $17.99 (9780062742469). PreS–Gr. 3.
Based on the best-selling book for adult readers, this picture book portrays four Black female mathematicians at NASA, known as “colored computers,” and explores how they overcame gender and racial barriers to succeed in their careers.
Look Up with Me: Neil DeGrasse Tyson: A Life among the Stars. By Jennifer Berne. Illus. by Lorraine Nam. 2019. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $17.99 (9780062844941). PreS–Gr. 3.
Berne’s story of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson begins with Tyson’s childhood, when his interest in astronomy was first sparked. His passion and talents eventually lead him to become director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Nam’s cut-paper and digital-collage art highlight the young boy’s enduring sense of wonder.
Mae Among the Stars. By Roda Ahmed. Illus. by Stasia Burrington. 2018. Harper, $17.99 (9780062651730). PreS–Gr. 2.
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. Mae Jemison’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first Black woman to travel in space.
Queen of Physics. By Teresa Robeson. Illus. by Rebecca Huang. 2019. Sterling, $16.95 (9781454932208). Gr. 1–3.
When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China a century ago, no one considered girls to be as smart as boys. But her parents encouraged her love of learning and science. And with her groundbreaking work on beta decay, she became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected president of the American Physical Society, and gained many other honors.
Born Curious: 20 Girls Who Grew Up to Be Awesome Scientists. By Martha Freeman. Illus. by Katy Wu. 2020. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $19.99 (9781534421530). Gr. 2–5.
Freeman shares 20 short biographies of a diverse group of women scientists from the past and present. Each woman dealt with societal barriers that could have derailed her studies. Women profiled include physicist Shirley Ann Jackson, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Iranian mathematician and professor Maryam Mirzakhani. Readers will learn that intelligence is only one factor of success and that curiosity, hard work, and persistence are also required.
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner. By Janice N. Harrington. Illus. by Theodore Taylor III. 2019. Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins Creek, $18.99 (9781629795584). Gr. 2–5.
Born in 1867, Charles Henry Turner was a groundbreaking Black entomologist and teacher. Taylor’s bright, cheerful cartoon illustrations complement the upbeat tone of the text, which depicts Turner intently studying ants or butterflies.
Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM. By Tonya Bolden. 2020. Abrams, $19.99 (9781419707346). Gr. 5–8.
Bolden explores the stories of more than 50 Black women in STEM throughout history. Including pioneers from the past and the trailblazers of the twenty-first century, this book describes how race and gender affected their careers and how their contributions benefit us today.
Madam C. J. Walker Builds a Business. By Rebel Girls. Illus. by Salini Perera. 2019. Timbuktu Labs/Rebel Girls, $12.99 (9781733176194). Gr. 2–5.
This lightly fictionalized account follows Sarah Breedlove’s journey as the first free-born child in her family to America’s first female self-made millionaire with a thriving hair-care business. Full-color illustrations highlight seminal scenes from Breedlove’s life. A closing activity encourages readers to imagine their own unique product, with accompanying advertising and elevator pitch. See also Dr. Wangari Maathai Plants a Forest in the same series.
Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet. By Elizabeth Rusch. Illus. By Teresa Martinez. 2019. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580895811). Gr. 1–4.
Growing up in Mexico, Mario Molina loved exploring the world around him and performing experiments. As an adult he discovered that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer. Vibrant, imaginative illustrations depict Molina’s childhood interest in science and convey the urgency of his discoveries.
Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist. By Sylvia Acevedo. 2018. Clarion, $17.99 (9781328526908). Gr. 5–8.
No one expected a Mexican American girl in the 1950s to become a rocket scientist for NASA. But as a Girl Scout, Acevedo found peers who shared her love of science and role models who fostered her confidence and independence. This inspiring memoir is a celebration of resilience and a testament to the importance of fostering girls’ dreams.
Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson. By Katherine Johnson. 2019. Atheneum, $17.99 (9781534440838). Gr. 4–7.
Johnson’s autobiography illustrates the impact that racism, school segregation, and poverty, as well as a passion for learning, had on her early life. In her determination to become a mathematician, she triumphed as she proved herself to NASA engineers and became instrumental to the first U.S. space flights.
Sweet Dreams, Sarah. By Vivian Kirkfield. Illus. by Chris Ewald. 2019. Creston, $17.99 (9781939547316). Gr. 2–6.
One of the first Black women to be awarded a U.S. patent, Sarah E. Goode had the idea to develop space-saving furniture for poorer customers. Through trial and error, she kept working on her invention until she succeeded. A time line of other women patent holders includes Mary Anderson (who received a patent for windshield wipers in 1903) and Madeline Turner (who received a patent for a fruit press in 1905).
Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team. By Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran. Illus. by Dow Phumiruk. 2019. Harper, $17.99 (9780062907721). Gr. 2–5.
This true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand is based on Sornhiran’s firsthand reporting of the event. Dow Phumiruk’s illustrations bring the setting and details to life.
Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done. By Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser. 2017. Harper, $17.99 (9780062472502). Gr. 6–10.
Two teen girl programmers show how they got started in coding and pushed through barriers to create their viral video game “Tampon Run.” This conversational and relatable book shows authentic problem-solving and provides students with the inside scoop on what life is like for women in STEM industries.
Women Aviators: 26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys. By Karen Bush Gibson. 2013. Chicago Review, $12.99 (9781641604031). Gr. 7–10.
This anthology profiles 26 women aviation pioneers, including Bessie Coleman, who became the first African American with a license in 1921, and Catherine Cheung, the first Asian American in 1932. Each short biography begins with an introduction and a photo and highlights the ways female aviation students had to overcome the mistaken beliefs that they were not strong enough or intelligent enough to fly airplanes.
Sonja Cole, a former school library media specialist, is the author of Booktalking around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9–14 (2010).
Register or subscribe today