Working women have made critical strides in the workforce in the last few decades, but there’s one sector where gender inequality has yet to be fully addressed: STEM. While women across every industry have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove their worth, those in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics positions face an even more intense layer of gender-based discrimination.
One of the key culprits of this disparity? The ratio of men to women in these fields. Often discouraged from pursuing science and math-related passions at a young age, girls with natural knacks for the subject might never get the chance to pursue what might be their calling.
Is your little girl already deeply curious about how the world works? Nurturing her love of learning now to help her battle the expectations of others later in life.
Here are the top 5 children’s books to inspire little girls who love science, in order of reading level:
Charlotte the Scientist Finds a Cure
This adorable picture book by Camille Andros tells a story of bravery and persistence with the cutest possible heroine: a budding bunny scientist who wants to save the forest she calls home. Perfect for aspiring scientists between the ages of 4-7, Brianne Farley’s colorful illustrations make this STEM-focused story digestible for even younger readers.
Charlotte, our bunny heroine, is determined to find a cure when the animals in her forest fall ill, and no one else can find a way to help them. With help from family and friends, she uses some serious medical science to solve the mystery. Even with other forest scientists don’t take her findings seriously, she continues working hard to find a cure.
With on-the-nose scientific themes, little girls who dream of wearing a lab coat and goggles will have a ball watching Charlotte save the day. Her persistence, brains and confidence are exactly what they’ll need to keep dreaming big about what they’ll one day discover.
A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon
The true story of mathematician Katherine Johnson is one so compelling, you’re probably already familiar with her fascinating career and activism thanks to the hit film Hidden Figures. Equally as beloved, this kid-friendly version of her story has been named an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, included on the NSTA Best STEM Books list and listed in Bank Street College’s Best Books of the Year.
Katherine’s story is so deeply inspiring because of how many hurdles she had to overcome. As a black scientist, she stood out in a time when african-americans were hardly allowed basic rights, let alone allowed to work at NASA. Plus, most women at the time could only become teachers, nurses or secretaries.
While parents might already know how remarkable this is, your little girl’s imagination might just run wild with Katherin’s story in hand. If Katherine’s work put men on the moon despite discrimination, what can’t your daughter do?
Ideal for kids from preschool through age eight, this smarty-written autobiography features charming illustrations that’ll keep little girls turning each of the 40 pages with glee.
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
Wu Chien Shiung’s list of accolades is so extensive, it could inspire a scientist of any age. In fact, famous scientists in her day did admire her deeply – Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer obsessed over her groundbreaking research on beta decay, and Newsweek magazine at the time crowned her the Queen of Physics. She even became the first woman to instruct at Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, and the first scientist to ever have an asteroid named after them while still alive.
Despite her complex research and intense legacy, this children’s book is digestible for kids five years and up. Lovely pastel sketches and creatively placed text make this deeply inspirational story fun for any little girl to read.
Wu Chien Shiung overcame discrimination to truly change the world forever. Perhaps your daughter will feel inspired to leave her own legacy!
Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women: 15 incredible inventions from inspiring women!
Full-size illustrations and humorous details make this one a total page-turner. With fifteen short stories and whimsical artwork, little girls aged 5-7 will obsess over the women scientists featured in this book.
From car heaters to dishwashers to lifeboats to maritime flares, so many of the 20th century’s key inventions are thanks to women who dared to think outside the box. The histories behind fifteen creations critical to modern life are featured in this book, each one of them credited to women inventors.
But their path to innovation was far from easy – whether they had to disguise themselves as men, work ten times as hard as their male counterparts to prove their worth, or convince doubters why their inventions mattered, there’s lots to learn from these short, punchy anecdotes.
Maybe your little girl has an idea that’ll change the world. The lessons in these pages might just help her make those dreams a reality.
Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Built the Brooklyn Bridge
Did you know that the engineering miracle that became the Brooklyn Bridge was only possible because of a woman named Emily Roebling? Author and illustrator Rachel Dougherty unapologetically spills the beans on one of the greatest engineering secrets of all time in this 40-page picture book.
Perfect for first or second-graders ready to level up their reading, this down-to-earth narrative tells the story of the woman married to the Brooklyn Bridge’s chief engineer. When he began to lead the 14-year project, his wife Emily insisted he teach her every detail of the new engineering technique he planned to use, no matter how dangerous the construction was.
When he became too sick mid-construction to lead the project, Emily did the unthinkable: she supervised every aspect of the math, science, and engineering herself.
A story of bravery and leadership, this inspiring tale will have your little engineer dreaming of building a landmark of her own.