Book Recommendations

International women in Science day book recommendations.

So the 11th of February is International women in Science day and I thought it would be fun to go through and celebrate some amazing books about women in STEM and more specifically Science. It’s going to be a mix of both picture books, because they can be enjoyed by everyone, and some adult books. So let’s go! 

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world. Full of striking, singular art, this collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary. The women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Get the book on Bookshop.org

Mae Among the Stars

by Roda Ahmed, Stasia Burrington (Illustrator)

When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. She wanted to be an astronaut. Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.” Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

by Laurie Wallmark, Katy Wu (Illustrator)

“If you’ve got a good idea, and you know it’s going to work, go ahead and do it.” The picture book biography of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science. Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English,” and throughout her life succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly is “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys.

Get the book on Bookshop.org

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

by Julia Finley Mosca, Daniel Rieley (Illustrator)

If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin—one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe! The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin is the first book in a brand new educational series about the inspirational lives of amazing scientists. In addition to the illustrated rhyming tale, you’ll find a complete biography, fun facts, a colorful timeline of events, and even a note from Temple herself!

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

by Claire L. Evans 

Women are not ancillary to the history of technology; they turn up at the very beginning of every important wave. But they’ve often been hidden in plain sight, their inventions and contributions touching our lives in ways we don’t even realize. Author Claire L. Evans finally gives these unsung female heroes their due with her social history of the Broad Band, the women who made the internet what it is today. Learn from Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, who wove numbers into the first program for a mechanical computer in 1842. Seek inspiration from Grace Hopper, the tenacious mathematician who democratized computing by leading the charge for machine-independent programming languages after World War II. Meet Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler, the one-woman Google who kept the earliest version of the Internet online, and Stacy Horn, who ran one of the first-ever social networks on a shoestring out of her New York City apartment in the 1980s. Evans shows us how these women built and colored the technologies we can’t imagine life without. Join the ranks of the pioneers who defied social convention and the longest odds to become database poets, information-wranglers, hypertext dreamers, and glass ceiling-shattering dot com-era entrepreneurs.

Get the book on Bookshop.org

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong—and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story

by Angela Saini

From intelligence to emotion, for centuries science has told us that men and women are fundamentally different. But this is not the whole story. Shedding light on controversial research and investigating the ferocious gender wars in biology, psychology and anthropology, Angela Saini takes readers on an eye-opening journey to uncover how women are being rediscovered. She explores what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, revealing an alternative view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.

Get the book on Bookshop.org

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

by Rachel Swaby

In 2013, the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit, and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were, Who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light? Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals these 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats. 

Get the book on Bookshop.org

The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last

by Azra Raza

With the fascinating scholarship of The Emperor of All Maladies and the deeply personal experience of When Breath Becomes Air, a world-class oncologist examines the current state of cancer and its devastating impact on the individuals it affects — including herself. In The First Cell, Azra Raza offers a searing account of how both medicine and our society (mis)treats cancer, how we can do better, and why we must. A lyrical journey from hope to despair and back again, The First Cell explores cancer from every angle: medical, scientific, cultural, and personal. Indeed, Raza describes how she bore the terrible burden of being her own husband’s oncologist as he succumbed to leukemia. Like When Breath Becomes Air, The First Cell is no ordinary book of medicine, but a book of wisdom and grace by an author who has devoted her life to making the unbearable easier to bear.

Get the book on Bookshop.org


All the books I spoke about can be found on this list here. I am an affiliate. 

Find ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement here and ways to support theaters in the UK during these tough times here.

Check out my last blog post here where I talked about Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andy Lane and maybe consider subscribing to my newsletter on the right. You can even buy me a coffee here.

Find your local independent bookshop here and check out Bookshop.org here, a website that directly helps independent bookshops, or Hive to find ones that deliver, shops need your support now more than ever.