Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Collective Biography
What did you like about the book? Six short biographies (about ten pages each) of ground-breaking women of science are presented. All were born in the first two decades of the twentieth century between 1906 and 1922. Though they represent widely differing fields and accomplishments, all overcame gender-based obstacles to pursue a career as a woman scientist. They are: Katherine Coleman Johnson (NASA mathematician), Eugenie Clark (underwater research), Gertrude Elion (Nobel Prize for pharmaceutical research), Marie Tharp (first cartographer to map the ocean floor), Florence Hawley Ellis (archaeologist), and Eleanor Margaret Burbidge (astronomer). Though Lawlor provides anecdotes about situations the women faced in their male-dominated fields, such as women astronomers who were denied access to specialized telescopes so that “male astronomers would not be bothered by wives or families,” her main focus is on presenting the women’s contributions and showing how they inspired those who came after them.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Captions under the photographs were written in script so small as to be almost illegible. Also, books with all black and white photos like this one tend to be a tough sell.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to middle school science teachers for use to inspire their students and for middle school report writing.
Who should buy this book? Middle school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve with Collective Biographies.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Top half of the pile if the topic interests you.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 5/21/17