Born Curious: 20 Girls Who Grew Up To Be Awesome Scientists

S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Feb. 2020. 128p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534421530.
Gr 3-5–Freeman shares 20 short biographies of women scientists—from geologists and molecular biologists to mathematicians and all the disciplines in between. The author finds a common thread between all of them: They were born curious. But it wasn’t enough to simply be born curious. These scientists had obstacles and challenges to overcome. Each woman dealt with societal barriers that could have derailed their studies. Geochemist Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) overcame poverty and sexism. Physicist Shirley Ann Jackson (born in 1946) was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at MIT, Jackson started the Black Student Union and became a passionate advocate for equal education, which continues to define her life’s work. The biography of Iranian mathematician and professor Maryam Mirzakhani (1977–2017) highlights the struggle of surviving a war and living with a terminal illness. Readers will learn that intelligence is only one factor of success and that hard work and persistence are also required.
VERDICT These stories may help motivate readers to channel their curiosity into deeper scholarship and become the next generation of inspirational women of science and math.

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