Girls and Women in STEM

Molly and the Mathematical Mystery

Over the years, there have been some inspiring and important women working in science, technology, engineering and maths. Here we highlight amazing non-fiction about real women’s achievements and compelling fiction showing girls and women being brilliant in STEM areas of life.

Picture books

  • Stargazing for Beginners

    Author: Jenny McLachlan
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 12+

    Meg's dreamed of being an astronaut since she was seven. This novel achieves a delicate balance between light-hearted fiction and thoughtful exploration of the pitfalls of being female, smart and good at science.

  • A Dinosaur Ate My Sister

    Author: Pooja Puri Illustrator: Allen Fatimaharan
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Genius inventor Esha Verma is on the brink of winning the Brain Trophy, when she accidentally sends her sister back to the age of the dinosaurs. Funny and fast-paced STEM adventure.

  • I, Ada

    Author: Julia Gray
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 12+

    Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the world's first computer programmer, but did you know she also had a part to play in the history of computer technology? This fictionalised memoir of an important historical figure is smart, funny, and totally relatable.

  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

    Author: Rachel Ignotofsky
    Publisher: Wren & Rook
    Interest age: 7-12
    Reading age: 7-12

    The 50 women profiled in this book are leaders in their fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Thoroughly inspiring and informative, in a fun and stylish illustrated format: a must for every child.

  • The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day

    Author: Christopher Edge
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10+

    On Maisie's birthday, she finds that her family have disappeared and her house is being consumed by darkness. A brilliant introduction to physics wrapped inside a great story.

  • Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson put Astronauts on the Moon

    Author: Helaine Becker Illustrator: Dow Phmiruk
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    The fascinating story of Katherine Johnson, who yearned to know about numbers and the universe, and ended up calculating the flight paths to the moon despite numerous obstacles. An inspiring picture book for children to dream big and work hard. 

  • Design a Skyscraper

    Author: Hilary Koll and Steve Mills
    Publisher: QED
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 8+

    Alice the architect leads you through the process of building a skyscraper.

  • Marie Curie and her Daughters

    Author: Imogen and Isabel Greenberg
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Did you know that Marie Curie was the single mother of two daughters, Irene and Eve, one of whom would later get a Nobel Prize, just like her mother? The story of a family of remarkable women, this is a truly fascinating and inspiring read.

  • Molly and the Mathematical Mystery

    Author: Eugenia Cheng Illustrator: Aleksandra Artymowska
    Publisher: Templar
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Molly is a curious explorer and finds that her bedroom is just the beginning of a fantastic journey through a mysterious house which she must navigate by solving mathematical puzzles. A great introduction to mathematical concepts for older primary readers.

  • Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code

    Author: Laurie Wallmark Illustrator: Katy Wu
    Publisher: Sterling Publishing
    Interest age: 5-12
    Reading age: 8+

    The inspiring story of Grace Hopper: someone who revolutionised computer science and used her sparky sense of humour to make up the term “computer bug”. A great read for children in need of inspiration when it comes to science and maths.

  • The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

    Author: Fiona Robinson
    Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Fiona Robinson’s beautifully blue book about the life of 19th-century born Anna Atkins is an inspiring testament to a father’s commitment to his daughter’s education, and to her passion for the natural world. Young nature lovers will be inspired by Anna’s story.

  • Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor

    Author: Patricia Valdez Illustrator: Felicita Sala
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    This amazing and deeply inspiring story of a largely unknown scientist – and pioneer of the care of Komodo dragons – is a fascinating read, beautifully illustrated. 

  • Ruby Redfort: Catch Your Death

    Author: Lauren Child
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10-12

    The third in the Ruby Redfort series, Catch Your Death is another great instalment of the popular crime mystery series which, as with all the books, features extra code and science-related content at the end.

  • Work It, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

    Author: Caroline Moss Illustrator: Sinem Erkas
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 8+

    A beautifully written and illustrated book about the inspiring life story of Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, from the wonderful Work It Girl series. 

  • City of Rust

    Author: Gemma Fowler
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 10-14
    Reading age: 9+

    Engineer Railey and her bio-robotic gecko Atti dream of winning the big drone races - but when a bounty hunter comes looking for them, they're forced to flee into Earth's trash-filled atmosphere, finding themselves in a race against time to save the world...

  • In the Key of Code

    Author: Aimee Lucido
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Emmy is in a new city and new school and has just discovered computer coding. But why are people in class keeping secrets? This verse novel brilliantly combines poetry, music and coding with a coming-of-age story and a celebration of girls in STEM. 

  • Space Blasters: Suzie Saves the Universe

    Author: Katie & Kevin Tsang Illustrator: Amy Nguyen
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6-8

    Suzie’s invention has sent her into space! Can she and the spaceship crew solve the mystery of the missing moons? Pacy and exciting, this young chapter book is perfect for newly confident readers.

  • The Matilda Effect

    Author: Ellie Irving Illustrator: Matthew Jones
    Publisher: Corgi
    Interest age: 8-12
    Reading age: 8-12

    Matilda loves science and wants to be an inventor. When she discovers that her grandma was an astrophysicist who didn't get any credit for discovering a planet, they go on an adventure to change things.

  • Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor

    Author: Lucy Brandt Illustrator: Gladys Jose
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Inventor Leonora Bolt has never left the remote island she lives on with her pet otter and an eccentric housekeeper! When a young castaway washes ashore, she begins to learn all about the mainland - which is in terrible danger. Can Leonora and her friends save it?

  • Lightning Mary

    Author: Anthea Simmons
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Lightning Mary tells the true story of Mary Anning, a Victorian fossil expert, whose discoveries of the ichthyosaur contributed to changes in scientific thinking about the history of the earth. A brilliant read.