On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert
comments and gorgeous illustrations of
Einstein. By Jennifer Berne. Illus. by
Vladimir Radunsky. 2013. Chronicle,
$17.99 (9780811872355). Gr. 1–3.
It’s not easy to explain Einstein’s work
to a young audience, but this fantastic
book pulls it off by providing an overview
of Einstein’s life and how his remarkable
ideas changed the way scientists think.
Radunsky’s stylized watercolors on textured papers swirl with words, numbers,
and people from Einstein’s life. The book
stresses that readers may someday answer
the questions that Einstein didn’t get to.
A Passion for Elephants: The Real
Life Adventure of Field Scientist
Cynthia Moss. By Toni Buzzeo. Illus.
by Holly Berry. 2015. Dial, $16.99
(9780803740907). Gr. 2–4.
After a childhood spent riding large
horses and observing wildlife, Cynthia
Moss’ keen eyes and curious nature served
her well when she grew up to become a
scientist observing and photographing
elephants in Amboseli National Park.
Buzzeo’s enthusiastic text—well matched
by Berry’s vibrant artwork—drives home
the connection between her lifelong fascination with animals and her career as a
Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:
Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor. By
Robert Burleigh. Illus. by Raúl Colón.
2016. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman,
$17.99 (9781481416009). Gr. 1–3.
Though she started her career in geology
and cartography at a time when women
weren’t seen as capable of being scientists,
Marie Tharp made significant discoveries,
which led to groundbreaking realizations
about plate tectonics. The enthusiastic text
and understated illustrations emphasize
Tharp’s achievements as well as the chal-
lenges of being a woman in science in an
unforgiving period. Burleigh and Colón’s
Look Up! (2013) takes a similar approach
to the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt,
another little-known woman in science.
Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries
of the Cosmos. By Stephanie Roth Sisson.
Illus. by the author. 2014. Roaring Brook,
$17.99 (9781596439603). Gr. 1–3.
Carl Sagan is best known for being a
renowned expert on the cosmos, but he
started out as just a curious kid fascinated
by the night sky, and that curiosity grew
into a career designing spacecraft, sending informative greetings to life on other
planets, and hosting a TV show to share
his boundless delight about the universe.
Sisson’s cheery, painted pages echo the
joyful tone of the text.
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria
Merian. By Margarita Engle. Illus. by
Julie Paschkis. 2010. Holt, $16.99
(9780805089370). K–Gr. 3.
This luminous, inspiring work showcases passionate young scientist Maria
Merian, born in Frankfurt in 1647,
who disproved the long-held belief that
butterflies sprang from mud through
spontaneous generation through simple
observation. Engle’s poetic, pared-down
lines, in Maria’s teenage voice, deftly fold
in scientific concepts and biographical
details, while Paschkis’ colorful paintings are an exuberant counterpoint to the
The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with
the Chimps. By Jeanette Winter. Illus. by
the author. 2011. Random/Schwartz &
Wade, $17.99 (9780375867743).
Jane Goodall’s passionate love of na-
ture began in early childhood, and that
tendency served her well in her work
in the Gombe Forest, from where her
observations of chimpanzees fascinated
the world. Winter’s elegantly simple lan-
guage has the lyrical rhythm of poetry
and emphasizes the thrill of discovery,
while the vibrant acrylic paintings grace-
fully bring to life scenes of Goodall
living and working in the dense forest.
Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?
The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell. By
Tanya Lee Stone. Illus. by Marjorie
Priceman. 2013. Holt/Christy Ottaviano,
$16.99 (9780805090482). K–Gr. 3.
Stone and Priceman combine their
considerable talents to tell the story of
Elizabeth Blackwell, who, after a childhood of exploration and considerable
toughness in the face of challenges,
fought the scorn, the sneers, and the
barriers on her way to becoming a physician. The gouache-and-india-ink artwork
is poetry in motion, and the perfect
complement to Stone’s snappy, informative text.
Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. By
Chris Barton. Illus. by Don Tate. 2016.
Charlesbridge, $16.95 (9781580892971).
Lonnie Johnson’s career includes rocket
science and NASA, but kids will be most
drawn to his best-known invention, the
Super Soaker. Documenting his perseverance in overcoming obstacles, some
stemming from prejudice he faced for
being African American, Barton and
Tate’s upbeat tribute to the inventor
emphasizes his indefatigable drive as well
as the support he received from his family. Bright, expressive illustrations bring
Johnson and his resourceful career to life.