Tuesday, March 14, 2023

STEM Tuesday and Women's History Month

I know, I know. I should have more picture books in the library, but that is never going to happen. There's very limited space (I have one shelf devoted to them), they are very expensive, and the ones I have don't circulate. Also, (she mumbles into her sleeve) I don't like to read aloud. A few of my teachers get picture books from the public library, and they have such a great collection. This batch arrived from Calkins Creek and are all really good, so if you DO have picture books in your library, definitely look into these. 

When my daughters were young, this was just the sort of book my best friend would get them as gifts. We tried to concentrate on STEM women, and since they both went into accounting and finance, perhaps it was a good strategy!

Hannigan, Kate and Green, Sarah (illus.) 
Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine: Josephine Cochrane's Bright Invention Makes a Splash
March 14th 2023 by Calkins Creek
Copy provided by the publisher

Josephine Cochrane was an inquisitive woman who was born in 1839. She identified a problem: women had to spend too much time washing dishes. She worked to solve it, even after her husband passed away and she had to support her family. With the help of a mechanic, she eventually came up with a system similar to the one still used today, and filed the patent for it. She worked diligently to market it, but although restaurants and businesses were interested, it didn't really catch on for home use. She died in 1913 just as a wide range of labor saving household appliances were being adopted in homes. 

Kate Hannigan has a strong interest in women's history, and I enjoyed her The Detective's Assistant. I didn't know about this story, and was glad to learn about a female inventor well before even my grandmother's time. There are good notes about other inventors as well, and a nice notes at the end giving more information about Cochrane. 

Thimmesh's Girls Think of Everything is my go to collective biography for female inventors, but this is a great addition to books about women inventors like Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Wallmark and Chu, In the Bag!: Margaret Knight Wraps It Up by Kulling, and Robinson's Out of the Shadows: How Lotte Reiniger Made the First Animated Fairytale Movie.

Lower, Jan and Reagan, Susan. The Brilliant Calculator: How Mathematician Edith Clarke Helped Electrify America 
March 14th 2023 by Calkins Creek
Copy provided by the publisher

I was unaware of the work of Clarke, who showed an aptitude for math and science early on. Of course, she started out teaching physics at a girls' school and math at a college, but she was so talented that she was soon working as a computor to help with problems with new electrical lines. She even constructed a tool to help with calculations. I love reading books about women who were not really allowed to do things... but did them anyway. Ths has good notes at the end, a timeline, a glossary, and brief descriptions of other women scientists to investigate. The illustrations of Clarke were somehow very appealing to me.  This is a great book to add to lists about women in science, like Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by Teresa Robeson, Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating, What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett, and Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker.

Woelfle, Gretchen. A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress
February 7th 2023 by Calkins Creek
Copy provided by the publisher

Jeannette Rankin is one of my favorite political figures-- what a phenomenal trailblazer! I was really hoping that she would be chosen to appear on the $10 bill. This was a great picture book about her life that included a great timeline as well as notes and a few photographs. The illustrations are very appealing, and this would be a great read aloud. There are a growing number of books about trailblazing women politicians. What I would LOVE is a fictionalized biography of Rankin, like the ones that Caroline Meyer does!

DeLems, Caitlin and Jay, Alison. Pitch Perfect and Persistent!
February 7th 2023 by Calkins Creek
Copy provided by the publisher

Born in 1867, Amy Cheaney Beach displayed from an early age an unusual talent for memorizing tunes perfectly in pitch, as well as skills in playing the piano. Her mother was uncomfortable with the idea of her daughter performing in public, so forbade her from playing the piano for a long time. A sympathetic aunt convinced her to let Amy play, and she quickly started composing songs. In her teens, her mother thought that public performing might help her find a husband. It did, but it also brought her to national prominence. She continued on in a long career of composing, performing, and teaching. There are good end notes, a timeline and glossary, and selected bibliography. The illustrations are strongly reminscent of the folk art portraits popular when Beach was young, and there is even a pattern of crazing overlaid on them, which looks really cool. Having grown up with some similar portraits in my parents' dining room, I have to say that I've never been a fan of the style when the eyes are practically near peoples' ears, but that's a me problem. Also, when looking up the term "crazing", I found out that I should probably stop using my Pfaltzgraf Yorktowne teapot. Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:53 PM EDT

    These reviews are fantastic!