"Wonder Women of Science" by Tiera Fletcher and Ginger Rue, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport (Candlewick Press, March), ages 9-12, 208 pages, $19.99 hardback.
STORY: The subtitle of this exciting middle-school nonfiction book is "Twelve Geniuses Who Are Currently Rocking Science, Technology, and the World." Fletcher, a rocket scientist, collaborated with Rue, a writer, to interview 12 scientists — 13 if you include Fletcher. She's working on sending humans to Mars.
The women talk about their work, their childhoods and how they became the stars they are. They highlight their fears and failures, but in an uplifting manner, conveying the message that young people can and should pursue a dream regardless of other people's notions or how hard it is to succeed.
For example, Evelyn Galban, zoo neurologist, failed to get into veterinary school twice. And she failed her board exams twice.
Grumps complain that the word "genius" is overused, but readers will be impressed by the women and by the cool jobs available to people who study science, technology, mathematics and engineering. Rocket scientist isn't the half of it. Galban gives MRIs to cheetahs. Mareena Robinson Snowden is featured in a Marvel comic book. Sara Seager looks for signs of life-supportive atmospheres on exoplanets. Teresa Woodruff's work allows girls who survive cancer to become mothers when they grow up. Cierra McDonald improves the Xbox.
The book ends with a glossary, 16 ideas for activities that will feed ambition, suggested reading and an index; and Candlewick has posted a teaching guide with a worksheet, questions for discussion and ideas for projects: see arkansasonline.com/419wonder.
Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.