To celebrate Black History Month, Wonder Workshop is excited to share this list of books that provide fascinating insights into the lives and accomplishments of African American individuals in a range of scientific and technological fields. These books, written for ages 6-12, are not only informative but also serve as a source of inspiration for young readers, encouraging interest in STEM and highlighting the importance of determination, creativity, and hard work.
This is list is all new for 2024!
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath, by Julia Finley Mosca, Illustrated by Daniel Rieley
This rhyming picture book tells the story of Dr. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist and inventor who overcame obstacles related to both race and gender. She became the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent.
Mae Among the Stars, by Roda Ahmed, Illustrated by Stasia Burrington
Inspired by the life of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space, this book tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. It’s a heartwarming story about dreaming big and working hard to achieve your goals.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly, Illustrated by Laura Freeman
This children’s book adaptation of the famous story features Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who worked as mathematicians at NASA. It’s a wonderful tale of perseverance and talent in the face of racial and gender discrimination.
Ron’s Big Mission, by Rose Blue and Corinne Naden, Illustrated by Don Tate
This book is about Ron McNair, an African American astronaut and physicist who famously challenged library segregation as a child. It’s an inspiring story that shows how determination and courage can help overcome barriers and make a difference.
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Don Tate
Focused on the life of Lonnie Johnson, an engineer and inventor best known for creating the Super Soaker water gun. This book is an inspiring tale of creativity, persistence, and accidental discovery.
The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologist Ernest Everett Just, by Melina Mangal, Illustrated by Luisa Uribe
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Ernest Everett Just, an African American biologist whose work was highly respected and groundbreaking, yet often overlooked. It’s a compelling read about his passion for biology and his incredible contributions to cell biology and embryology.
The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, by Julia Finley Mosca, Illustrated by Daniel Rieley
This book tells the story of Raye Montague, an African American engineer who revolutionized naval ship design. She overcame racial and gender barriers to become a groundbreaking computer scientist and engineer in the U.S. Navy.
Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist, by Ginger Wadsworth, Illustrated, by Craig Orback
This book introduces young readers to Benjamin Banneker, a self-taught mathematician, astronomer, almanac author, surveyor, and farmer. Banneker’s story is remarkable, especially considering he was a free African American during colonial times. The book covers his contributions to science and his role in surveying the land for what would become Washington, D.C. It’s an inspiring story about overcoming societal limitations to contribute significantly to science.
Black Pioneers of Science and Invention, by Louis Haber
This book is a collection of biographies highlighting the remarkable achievements of African American inventors and scientists throughout history. It showcases the contributions of individuals in various fields, including medicine, engineering, and agricultural science. Each story is a testament to innovation, perseverance, and the pursuit of knowledge, despite facing racial and societal challenges. This book is especially inspiring for young readers as it illustrates the impact of determination and intellect in overcoming barriers and making significant scientific contributions.
Garrett Morgan: Inventor of the Traffic Light and Gas Mask, by Laura S. Jeffrey
This biography is about Garrett Morgan, an African American inventor known for creating the gas mask and the traffic signal. The book discusses his life and his process of creating and patenting his inventions. It is a great example for young readers about how creativity and problem-solving can lead to life-saving inventions and innovations.