As a writer, I really enjoy visiting schools and sharing science tips and facts about our planet. So I find it interesting that research shows that girls lose interest in STEM subjects in school, and women are underrepresented in STEM jobs. Books are a great way to learn about STEM topics because they provide science topics in a more accessible, fun, and personal way.
With that in mind, here are 10 inspiring STEM girls in teen literature you might want to know more about…
1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Based on the traditional Cinderella fairy tale, this dystopian novel takes place in futuristic Beijing, at a time when nations are building new empires. The protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg who is also an extremely talented mechanic; collecting scrap and repairing robots. Cindy’s step-sister died after contracting the plague, and Cinder’s stepmother blamed her stepdaughter and handed Cinder over to the research center. Here, Cinder works with Dr. Erland to study her unique physiology. She is a stubborn cookie; resourceful, resilient, intelligent and compassionate.
The novel focuses on two great things – the beautiful friendship between Maddie and Queenie, two women during World War II, and their skills in engineering and aviation. Not only are they very loyal to each other, but they are also committed to their profession. At a time when women were usually encouraged to stay home and support war efforts from afar, they celebrated their ingenuity and aviation skills by joining the military and doing their part. Elizabeth Wayne’s second novel, A Rose Under Fire, also celebrates women’s ingenuity through the character “Rose Justice.” Ross was an 18-year-old U.S. Air Force auxiliary pilot who was captured by the Luftwaffe during a flight in France in 1944.
3. Carrie Harris has bad taste in boys
Kate Grable. What a girl! Dedicated student and medical advisor to the school football team. She’s intuitive and good at holding the ball (no pun intended!) While at school, Katie found a used syringe in the coach’s office and wasn’t happy with his vague explanation of injecting his team with vitamin B12. The players start showing strange symptoms, and Katie soon realizes her school is in big trouble.oh nothing also Seriously, just a bad thing about meat-eating zombies. Katie must rely on her medical and scientific expertise to develop an antidote. She has a tough job at hand, but for someone like Kate, it’s no big deal.
4. Higher Geometry by Sharelle Byars Moranville
America in the 1950s, rock generation; when the rules were broken, rebels had a reason, and most women were still encouraged to be housewives. hold up. Not Anna Conway. Anna is a natural in math, and she’s ready to shake, rock, and roll the conventions of the times before heading off to college. And Anna’s love, Mike, who is supportive but doesn’t really want her to leave for college. She falls in love with him, and Ana must work out her own equation of life and calculate her future.
5. Gretchen McNeill 3:59
Josie Byrne and her scientific dreams lead to a double life. For Josie, life as a teenager has been pretty rough so far. Her parents were divorcing, she was struggling with her physics class at school, and she felt increasingly estranged from her boyfriend. However, when she closes her eyes at night, she dreams of polar life. Someone who is exactly like herself but better, and…she dreams of Jo. Josie and Joe realize they are doubles living in parallel universes, overlapping every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Josie is interested in another life, but there’s a chance she’ll be trapped there when the portal seals. Thankfully, she has a sharp, analytical brain because she definitely needs that to hit a home run. Maybe her next physics class won’t be that hard after all!
6. Laurie Halse Anderson’s Catalyst
Kate Malone calls herself a science and math geek. Meticulously planned her life. She’s on top of it all; methodically handling her boyfriend, her parents, her work and school life. Her life was on the verge of changing when she applied to MIT and eagerly awaited their response. Science and technology are her life and dedication, but she soon discovers that things change as suddenly and rapidly as the Big Bang.
Willow Chance, a genius, a gardener, a reader, a nature lover with a keen interest in medicine, oh, she loves to count by 7! She is a lonely little thing who can only communicate with her beloved adoptive parents without reservation. Suddenly, Willow’s world is turned upside down when her parents tragically die in a car accident. However, this is not a disaster story, Willow’s resilience and keen curiosity helped her through her grief, and this book is truly a true celebration of her unique and systematic understanding.
8. The Evolution of Jacqueline Kelly’s Calpurnia Virginia Tate
Eleven-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate is a natural, er… naturalist. Her interest in science and the natural world began when she realized that the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard were much bigger than the green ones and she wondered why. Curious and greedy for the facts of the world around her, Calpurnia became a willing student and absorbed the knowledge of her loving grandfather. This book is about evolution; insects and species, the evolution of women at the turn of the century, and Calpurnia herself growing from teenage to teenage girl. (psst…green grasshoppers are not easily camouflaged by yellow grass and are eaten before they have a chance to grow!)
Alice Jones, math genius and detective. What a cool combination? ! This installment of the Alice Jones series is perhaps the greatest and loveliest celebration of bright and curious girls, science, math, and friendship. Alice and her partner Sammy are investigating the case after a scientist allegedly goes missing after Dr. Learner invents an invisibility suit.
10. Wayward: 52 Women Who Changed Science and the World by Rachel Swaby
Well, it just had to be included.I know, I know, it’s not novelit doesn’t celebrate a character either, but it’s a must-read because it celebrates all (or at least tries to cover all) role models of today’s aspiring female scientists, and does fit any “exceptionally smart and inspiring when it comes to breaking the mold” Part of the list of STEM girls.
Headstrong covers Nobel Prize winners, major innovators, and lesser-known scientists who impact us every day and have a huge impact on the scientific community. This book meticulously details the intrepid thinkers and doers of the centuries and charts their journey from conception of scientific thought to method and discovery. It’s a scientific fact guaranteed to make a new generation pick up a lab coat, screwdriver, calculator or laptop!
Christiane Dorion is a children’s author and sustainability education expert. She will be taking part in a Scotland friendly children’s book tour during British Science Week. Sponsored by Scottish Friendly Assurance and organised by the Scottish Book Trust, this tour visits schools in Scotland and England to inspire a love of reading, writing and illustration.