The Quantum Leap Shelfie Challenge is a program of Indiana Humanities' Quantum Leap initiative, which explores the spirit of possibility and problem-solving that occurs when we bridge the humanities with science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. 

Below are 10 of our favorite books about women and girls in science. Read five, tell us what you think and we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card—perfect for finding your next favorite book. 

Download and print this brochure (PDF).

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Calpurnia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, Callie explores the natural world around her, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. (Fiction) 

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins

This novel in verse tells the stories of three girls—Maria Merian, who unlocked the secrets of metamorphosis; Mary Anning, who collected fossils that unlocked the secrets of ancient history; and Maria Mitchell, who was determined to find a new comet—in different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists. (Fiction in Verse) 

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer. Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far? Eleven-year-old Ellie’s world is knocked askew when one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth? (Fiction) 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

There’s a reason it’s a classic. Considered one of the first science fiction and horror stories, Mary Shelley’s story of a mad scientist and his creation turns 200 in 2018. What many don’t know is that it was written by a teenage girl—Shelley was 17 when she started writing the book! (Fiction) 

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women  Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Read the unbelievable true story of the African American female mathematicians, known as “human computers,” who helped America win the space race, even as they battled prejudice and segregation. (Non-fiction)

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

This action-packed account tells the story of the three greatest primatologists of the 20th century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves. (Graphic Non-fiction)

Radioactive! How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World by Winifred Conkling

In the 1930s, Irene Curie and Lise Meitner unlocked the secrets of the atomic age, with their research on artificial radioactivity and nuclear fission. Yet they were too often overlooked and pushed to the edges of their male-dominated field. This thrilling and suspenseful book finally tells the story of these two ground-breaking women. (Non-fiction)

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar proto-computer programmer and daughter of Lord Byron. This graphic novel imagines what would have happened if Babbage and Lovelace had managed to turn their theories into reality… (Graphic Novel)

Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helgut

This adventure story follows Lu, the daughter of Charles Wonder—world-traveling scientist and discoverer of Antarctica—as she and her friend, a runaway slave named Eustace, jump aboard a whaling ship bound for the icy continent to save keep her father’s precious collection of artifacts safe. (Fiction) 

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. This book shares the stories of brilliant, brainy women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors. (Non-fiction)