Science in the Summer

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Science in the Summer

STEM Picture Book Biographies

Let’s get scientific! One of the best ways to get excited about science, technology, engineering, and math is to read about pioneers in STEM fields. Biographies are a great place to start! Whether you’re dreaming of becoming an astronaut, excited about biology and DNA, or just curious about coding, these biographies are a great source of information and inspiration!

Note: All titles are linked to their physical copies, and many are available as library e-books with OverDrive and its app Libby. 

Women in Science: Rachel Carson by Anne Rooney, illustrated by Isabel Lundie

Learn all about Rachel Carson, her work as a marine biologist, and her famous book, Silent Spring, in this busy biography! Full of illustrations, facts, and vocabulary words, this book is great for late elementary school readers looking to learn a lot about Carson!

Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Felicita Sala

Should you bring a crocodile to school? Probably not, but Joan Proctor did, and that was very on brand for the woman who would spend her life researching and exploring reptiles. Learn about Joan and her special work with the Komodo dragon in this classic biography of a woman in STEM. 

When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T.Rex by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Diana Studyka

From young, curious girl to paleontologist, follow Sue Hendrickson on her journey to finding a dinosaur! This prose-heavy book is all about the value of curiosity, adventure, and never giving up, and Sue Hendrickson’s discovery of her T.Rex, named Sue, is a great addition to the library of any Dino lover. 

In the time of COVID-19, this picture book biography of June Almeida, who helped discover the first human coronavirus, is a must read. It’s a tale of overcoming, scientific adventure, and perseverance and is great for young scientists interested in biology and the human body!

Celebrate Wu Chien Shiung, a Chinese scientist with a love for physics, who helped unlock the secrets of the atom, which makes up everything from you and me to trees and beyond! This biography explores her upbringing, her descent into scientific pursuits, and her work to be recognized, though she never won the Nobel Prize. 

Darwin’s Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution by Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Harry Tennant 

This large, lushly illustrated biography of Alfred Russel Wallace is perfect for the young adventurer looking to learn more about the search for evolution. This book is full of instruments of explorations, maps, and animals, and young readers will enjoy reading this on their own or with the help of an older reader!

Dive deep down under the sea in this uplifting story about a young Marie overcoming societal expectations for girls and taking up science. Ultimately, Marie’s fascination with the earth and its oceans would lead to her discovery of a big blue mystery that would change science forever!

Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Let’s go to space! In this illuminating children’s biography of a "hidden figure," you can learn all about Katherine Johnson, a pioneering NASA “computer” who helped save Apollo 13 and the moon landing! Learn about Johnson’s life, her work at NASA, and her lasting legacy in this picture book!

Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil DeGrasse Tyson by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrated by Frank Morrison 

Explore the universe with this biography of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, from his boyhood fascination with the Hayden Planetarium to his earliest experiments and onto his impact on modern science. This is a wordier biography, perfect for elementary and middle school readers looking to learn a lot about Tyson, but who already have some familiarity with planets and space. 

The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Lisa Anchin

Explore science and medicine in this classic picture book biography of Jonas Salk. Especially as we think about the importance of vaccines, this story of Salk’s upbringing and his search for a polio vaccine is ultra-timely. This biography covers Salk’s life as well as his most famous scientific moments and is great for kids with some scientific exposure but always looking to learn more!

And if reading about these STEM pioneers piques your young reader's interest, be sure to check out related Read Feed list Women in STEM