March is Women’s History Month and today I’m reviewing books that highlight the contributions of women in STEM. I paired these books because they both deal with medical discoveries that were vital to understanding the COVID-19 pandemic.
theme: women’s history, medicine, nonfiction
Never Give Up: Dr. Kati Karikó and the Race for the Future of Vaccines
by Debbie Dadey; illus. by Juliana Oakley
40 pages; ages 5-10
Millbrook Press, 2023
By the time the morning sun shone on the reed roof of Kati’s one-room home in Hungary, she had already fed the chickens, collected eggs, and been chased by a rooster.
Kati learned about animals at home – but at school she learned about science. And when the teacher showed the class how to use a microscope to see cells, Katie was hooked. She wanted to be a scientist! She attends science camps, competes in the Science Olympics, conducts research in mRNA, and begins asking whether (and how) mRNA might be used to help fight disease. Her experiments fail, and people question whether her idea is going anywhere. But Dr. Kati doesn’t give up and eventually has a breakthrough that leads to…
- The founding of Moderna
- A job at BioNTech
- And the work that went into creating the COVID vaccine
What I like about this book: it is timely! It shows the additional hurdles women in STEM fields face in their research. And, we learn that Dr. Kati isn’t finished. Now she wants to find out if mRNA can cure or prevent other diseases! Back matter includes timeline of Kati’s life, steps to making a vaccine, glossary, source notes, and suggestions for further study.
June Almeida, Virus Detective!: The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus
by Suzanne Slade; illus. by Elisa Paganelli
40 pages; ages 6-9
Sleeping Bear Press, 2021
June’s favorite days were school days.
She couldn’t wait to get to class – especially science, which she loved. But with no savings, she had to get a job instead of attend college. So she applied to work at a hospital, where she used a microscope to examine cells from sick people.
Using an electron microscope, she created pictures of viruses and their antibodies. One of those viruses looked like a blob with tiny dots circling it like a crown – she had discovered coronavirus.
Back matter includes more biographical information about June, and some photos of her working with an electron microscope, as well as a timeline of her life. Turns out that discovery of human coronavirus was published in 1967! Seems like ancient history, and yet so important to recent medical science.
Beyond the Books:
Do you know any women who are doctors or are doing research in medicine?
If you could find a cure for a disease, what would you cure?
Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website
Because these books appeal to older readers as well, we’ll be over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, too. That happens at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle
, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copies provided by the publishers.