A budding birdwatcher…an imaginative inventor who never stops trying to do better…a distractible, list-making middle-grader…a mystery-solving team made up of a girl and her dog. What do all these stories have in common, you ask? They’re all STEAM-themed books featuring young girls of color! If you know a reader who is an aspiring scientist or detective or inventor, these books are wonderful mirrors to remind her how much she can accomplish with a little enthusiasm and determination.

Bird Count

Bird Count
Written by Susan Edwards Richmond
Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Young Ava is ready to participate as a “citizen scientist” in the Christmas Bird Count, and she gets to record the tally this year. Using her eyes and ears and the birding ID techniques she’s learned, Ava eagerly identifies and counts the birds she and her mother observe on their assigned route around the town. This informative story is the perfect book to introduce young readers to birdwatching. The text offers simple explanations of the identification methods used by birdwatchers and clear descriptions of bird habitats, and a section in the back provides more information about the birds featured in the book and the Christmas Bird Count.

Izzy Gizmo

Izzy Gizmo
Written by Pip Jones
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Izzy Gizmo’s inventions are marvelous, magnificent―and they often malfunction. But when she finds a crow with a broken wing, she just has to help! Izzy tries again and again to build a new pair of wings, but nothing is working. And that makes Izzy really cross! Can Izzy overcome her failures? Or is her friend destined to live as a crow who can’t fly? Izzy’s story is a feisty tale of determination, ingenuity, and friendship, that’s sure to capture the imaginations of aspiring young inventors.

King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats

King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats
Written by Dori Hillestad Butler
Illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Kayla made peanut butter treats for Jillian’s new puppy Thor. But now the treats are missing. What does Kayla know? ―There are three treats missing. King was in the kitchen. King’s breath doesn’t smell like peanut butter. What does King know? ―There’s an intruder in the house.  How will they solve the mystery?

With simple, straightforward language and great verbal and visual humor, the King & Kayla series is perfect for newly independent readers.

Nina Soni Former Best Friend

Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
Written by Kashmira Sheth
Illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky

Nina Soni is a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl who tries as hard as she can, but still somehow she forgets about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery—and thus a great project! After many lists and lots of shredded red cabbage, Nina may be on track with an awesome science experiment, but with little sister Kavita’s birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina might have too much to keep track of.