Written by: Catherine Thimmesh
Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet
For ages: 9-13 years
Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Inventions, Historical Figures, Feminism, Global Community.
Summary: This book is designed for elementary students, to learn more in-depth about women inventors. Covering inventions like Scotchguard, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, and the Illusion Transmitter, the book is illustrated with colorful collaged artwork to accompany the stories. Each story is around two and a half pages long, with a full-page picture and a few other small pictures interspersed. There are also small facts written in bold, hot pink cursive about the inventions themselves such as what the packaging facilities of the Snugli looked liked, or how many lives have been saved by Kevlar bulletproof vests.
This book’s design really meshes educational with creative! The stories are more detailed for older readers, but still short enough to be readable in a few minutes during a short car ride, waiting for an appointment, or before bed. The stories are exciting rather than just dry and academic. In the back of the book is the address for the US Patent Office, as well as sources and more information about the inventors featured. This is a great YA book to inspire both future inventors and artists alike!
- Which of these inventions have you used before?
- Did you know the origin story of how the invention came to be?
- Do you think being an inventor sounds like a fun job?
- What do you think might be challenging about trying to design something that’s never been seen before?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Think about something you use on a regular basis. Do you know who invented it? Learn more about them. Are there any books written about them? If not, write one of your own!
- What is something that would make your or someone else’s life easier, but it hasn’t been invented yet? Draw up some plans and make a prototype. Will your product work, or is it back to the drawing board?
- Get in touch with an engineer or inventor in your area. Skype them or have them visit your classroom! Learn about what it takes to design products and all of the steps to have them be released into the market/into use.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. Her newest book, Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled, explores the scientific sleuthing that paleoartists continually perform to make sure they’re accurately representing dinosaurs in their paintings and illustrations. Madam President, a New York Times notable book, was recently updated to reflect recent advances for women in politics, including Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency. Catherine’s previous books, Girls Think of Everything and The Sky’s the Limit, have been translated into Korean and Chinese. Girls Think of Everything won the 2001 IRA Children’s Book Award, was a Children’s Book of the Month Best Nonfiction Book 2000, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and a Smithsonian Notable Book 2000 (amongst other honors). The Sky’s the Limit won the Minnesota Book Award in 2002, was a Smithsonian Notable Book 2002, and an Outstanding Science and Social Studies Trade Book for Children 2002. The author lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with her husband and two children.
Melissa Sweet has illustrated over 100 books as well as many toys, puzzles, games for eeBoo. Her work has been in magazines, on greeting cards and as drawings on her living room walls. She has written four books: Carmine: A Little More Red, a New York Times Best Illustrated book; Tupelo Rides the Rails; Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, a Sibert Award winner (for informational books) and a NCTE Orbis Pictus winner (for nonfiction). Her most recent book, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, was a New York Times Best Seller and garnered an NCTE Orbis Pictus award. Melissa has illustrated three books by author Jen Bryant: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams; The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, both garnered Caldecott Honors. A Splash of Red: The Art of Horace Pippin, was a Sibert Award and Orbis Pictus Award winner.