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Girls In Science – Meteorology – Cool Women Who Weather Storms Review by Lori Hooten

Karen Bush Gibson
Girls In Science – Architecture – Cool Women Who Design Structures
Elizabeth Schmermund
Nomad Press
2456 Christian Street
White River Junction, Vermont 05001

Throughout time, girls have struggled to find role models in science. This series – Girls In Science – showcases women in various roles who are standouts in their fields of study. There are several titles in the series from meteorology and architecture, which this review focuses on, to marine biology, aviation, coding, and more.

Each book follows the same basic layout – a chapter on the field of science and three chapters on three different women who have stood out in their field or have made advancements and discoveries. The books include sidebars throughout with additional information, definitions, or ideas that are important. Many have QR codes that can be used to take the reader to a website to learn more. If a QR code reader is not available, the websites are listed in the back of the book so the reader can still find the websites to learn more. In addition to the main biographies, there are shorter ones also. At the end of the book there are questions for each chapter and a time line of important events in the field.

Meteorology: Cool Women Who Weather Storms is written by Karen Bush Gibson. Geared towards 9-12-year-olds, this book takes a look at the various aspects of meteorology and how weather impacts lives. The introduction defines meteorology and its place in our day-to-day lives, as well as introducing the three women that will be discussed later in the book. The chapter on the history of meteorology covers the tools of the field, definitions, scientific concepts important to the field, application of the science, and more.

Then each of the three women who are featured are covered: Kelly Cass; Bianca Hernandez; and Pamela Heinselman. Each of the feature biographies covers the childhood of the woman and how she became interested in meteorology. Her education and employment are also covered. Kelly Cass is a broadcast meteorologist. She has a focus on severe weather and through her biography we learn a lot about the types of severe weather, as well as the harder parts of her job. Bianca Hernandez works for the National Weather Service in the weather forecast office and has made a difference by becoming an important part of predicting and planning for weather disasters. Pamela Heinselman is a research meteorologist has spent many years working in various part of the field that deal with predicting and warning of possible weather issues, particularly tornadoes. She has also invested her resources in helping others get an education and a start in the field.

Architecture: Cool Women Who Design Structures is written by Elizabeth Schermund. This book delves into the history of architecture and the stories of three women in the field. Beginning with the earliest known buildings in Jericho and moving forward, the history of architecture and influences on the field are covered. From the Greeks and Romans, through Impressionism, all the way up to modern day buildings and Frank Lloyd Wright, there is a helpful look at how architecture moved through the ages. The sidebars throughout the book cover such things as mini-biographies, the tools used, the ACE mentoring program, and cool careers. There are also ask & answer boxes throughout to help guide the students into thinking deeply about what they are reading.

The three women covered in this book are Patricia Galván, Farida Abu-Bakare, and Maia Small. Patricia Galván is an architect who enjoy overseeing the construction of buildings from early planning and drawings to their development and completion on construction sites. She has worked with both small and large firms, on both small and large projects. Working hard and pressing forward to always learn more are emphasized in her biography. Farida Abu-Bakare states “We must be the diversity we seek.” This is who she is, seeking to move forward in a field that does not readily accept women, especially women with a non-Caucasian background. She is making great strides and her biography showcases a never-give-up attitude that brought her to a job in one of the most prestigious architecture firms in Canada. Maia Small is an architect and urban designer for the City of San Francisco. She has had many positions from large and small firms to teaching architecture to owning her own firm. She has found her calling, though, as part of the Planning Department as an urban designer, helping the city of San Francisco to grow at a comfortable and sustainable pace while maintaining and developing policies that benefit the city.

These two books, along with the others in the series, do a wonderful job of highlighting the diversity of many fields of science. They focus on the variety of jobs within each field, the history of the field and the rewards of working hard to achieve these positions. This series is one that will benefit many young readers and can broaden our views. Whether just reading for fun or using as supplemental learning resources, these books are packed full of encouraging and helpful information.

—Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2017