Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World is a delightful illustrated book by Rachel Ignotofsky. It tells the stories of famous and not-so-famous women through history who all shared their love for science, such as Ada Lovelace, Wang Zhenyi, Marie Curie, Lillian Gilbreth and Jane Goodall.
I got it because I liked the illustrations, thinking it would be a children’s book trying to convince little girls they should study a STEM career. But it surprised me with its rich content and, most of all, with its spirit of team work and curiosity. I liked how the author encourages the readers to think of men and women as equal parts of our population, with the same inquisitiveness that moves us all to find answers and with equally clever minds.
“Women make up half of our population, and we simply cannot afford to ignore that brain power -the progress of humankind depends on our continual search for knowledge.”
Each woman in this book is featured in a two page spread. One page comes with a beautiful illustration of the scientist, a few doodles depicting her work and a famous quote -by her, or about her-. The second page has a short biography, one or two paragraphs explaining her most important achievements and cute illustrations with fun facts surrounding the page.
The information included is enough to inspire boys and girls, children and adults alike since, I think, it’s always awesome to find stories about passionate people who overcame the obstacles put in their way. And though this book does not push the ‘you should work in STEM and be a feminist’ message I expected, it makes it clear that most of these women were overlooked because of their gender and that we should remember them and celebrate their achievements. I think the author also tried to provide lots of examples of physicists, engineers, biologists and mathematicians -and more- from different nationalities, so they could be serve as role models for girls on the fence about being scientists. This book would definitely cheer them up and would inspire boys and girls to have an equal amount of heroes and heroines.
For an adult this book does not provide enough information. It only offers a couple of paragraphs for each work or invention and I had to pause my reading repeatedly to look up Wikipedia articles in order to satisfy my curiosity. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since I actually learned a lot and this is an educational book aimed at children after all. I think it would definitely make a great coffee table book though –that’s the purpose I’ll give it-. I believe it could inspire conversation in an original way.
I would recommended Women in Science as a gift for eleven year old kids and older. Younger children would enjoy it too if they read it with and adult, since the vocabulary and small fonts might be too difficult for them. I think these younger kids especially would love the little illustrations and the infographics explaining the lab equipment and glossary. I would also recommend it for adults studying a STEM career, women interested in science and any fan of illustrated educational books.
Images credit: rachelignotofskydesign.com
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