Illustrator: A Collective
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
If asked to name STEM careers many of us will immediately form a mental image of an astronaut, maybe even a paleontologist or zoologist, but few of us are likely to imagine many of the careers explored in Everyday Superheroes Women in STEM Careers (2019). These careers include virtual-world creator, cartographer, environmental lawyer, and machine learning engineer. This book provides a much-needed look at a variety of science, technology, math, and engineering jobs as well as women’s contributions to them.
The writers behind the text, Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneidman, do a great job bringing STEM careers to life, and illustrating their practical dimensions. Even more, each career is discussed through a woman contributing to it! The women, who are pioneers in their respective fields, are beautifully diverse. For instance, Dr. Wanda Diaz Merced is an astronomer who developed a technique for turning visual data into sound files when she became blind due to illness. This allowed her to continue her research into gamma-ray bursts. Twenty-six dynamic careers are explored in enough detail to encourage reader interest without being overwhelmingly text heavy.
I really appreciate the questions posed to readers throughout the book. For instance, after describing the work of a virtual-world creator, the authors pose a question to readers: “What problem could we solve with VR? Think of a problem and draw a picture of the solution in your VR world.” This prompts readers to actively imagine themselves participating in STEM fields while practicing critical thinking and problem-solving skills integral to most professional fields.
The book closes with a wonderful glossary and brief list of recommended texts to pair with Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers.
Accessibly written and formatted this engaging read is sure to appeal to a variety of young readers and will become a staple of many kindergarten through third grade classrooms!
I would have loved to see racial and ethnic information explicitly discussed instead of presented only through rather cartoonish illustrations. Identifying this information for readers would have provided another access point for identification.
Overall, this is a wonderful and wonderfully teachable text! It can easily complement school activities focused on STEM, biography, or careers. The writing is straight-forward and accessible for newer independent readers. Because the descriptions of careers and women professionals can stand alone, sections can be read aloud for younger learners who lack the attention span to focus on the book cover-to-cover.
I highly recommend Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers for personal and classroom use. It brings the often hidden world of STEM to life, and shows how integral it is to our everyday lives, while highlighting important contributions of amazing women STEM superheroes!