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Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

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In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas i In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities? Features women inventors Ruth Wakefield, Mary Anderson, Stephanie Kwolek, Bette Nesmith Graham, Patsy O. Sherman, Ann Moore, Grace Murray Hopper, Margaret E. Knight, Jeanne Lee Crews, and Valerie L. Thomas, as well as young inventors ten-year-old Becky Schroeder and eleven-year-old Alexia Abernathy. Illustrated in vibrant collage by Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet.


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In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas i In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities? Features women inventors Ruth Wakefield, Mary Anderson, Stephanie Kwolek, Bette Nesmith Graham, Patsy O. Sherman, Ann Moore, Grace Murray Hopper, Margaret E. Knight, Jeanne Lee Crews, and Valerie L. Thomas, as well as young inventors ten-year-old Becky Schroeder and eleven-year-old Alexia Abernathy. Illustrated in vibrant collage by Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet.

30 review for Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    Very short but with tons of information about some of the inventions of women and girls. There is also some excellent instructions on patenting inventions.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Women try the darnedest things, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes out of sheer determination to make something better. What was even more interesting to me in this book which is illustrated to appeal to women and girls with headings and sidebars lettered in pink -was how various are the amounts and worth with which women's efforts are rewarded commercially! Ever noticed that Toll-House chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag? Read this boo Women try the darnedest things, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes out of sheer determination to make something better. What was even more interesting to me in this book which is illustrated to appeal to women and girls with headings and sidebars lettered in pink -was how various are the amounts and worth with which women's efforts are rewarded commercially! Ever noticed that Toll-House chocolate chip cookie recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag? Read this book and you'll learn how it got there and what Ruth Wakefield received for selling the right to reprint her recipe. Guess how much Margaret Knight the inventor of the machine that made the first flat bottomed paper bags was worth when she died? Ever turned on your windshield wipers in a rainstorm? Mary Anderson designed the first windshield wipers but couldn't sell her invention to men. We read in Girls Think of Everything that the patent for the worthless device expired. This is the weakest bio in the book -we never learn how long she held the patent before it expired(only 17 years) or whether she made any money off it (it is implied that she didn't but that's probably not true). Even still, You'll find the answers to the questions above and more in Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women which is a visual feast for a book of its type!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda--A Scientist Reads

    This book aimed seemingly at older children is a more text heavy version of the more recently published "Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World". Some of the trivia about each featured woman is nearly verbatim. There are enough differences to make it a unique and inspiring read, particularly the difference in reading level and depth of content. While Women in Science focuses on the lives and discoveries of females in scientific fields, Girls Think of Everything has a more g This book aimed seemingly at older children is a more text heavy version of the more recently published "Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World". Some of the trivia about each featured woman is nearly verbatim. There are enough differences to make it a unique and inspiring read, particularly the difference in reading level and depth of content. While Women in Science focuses on the lives and discoveries of females in scientific fields, Girls Think of Everything has a more general focus on not just scientific discoveries but inventions in general. The author walks the reader through WHY the invention was needed, then their discovery process on HOW it actually came to be. Another distinction that gave this book bonus points, in my opinion, was not just the inclusion of the discoveries of adults, but also girls who filed for patents on their own inventions (though far fewer than the adults listed. An additional plus is a brief overview on how the patent process works, and contact information in case the inventor in your life decides to take their sketches and dreams to the next level. The front and back covers are lists of women not necessarily covered in the text, but could provide a starting point for further research into female inventors. A few other books are listed as additional reading material, and a very short sources section is also listed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lou Carolan

    Written and illustrated by two entreprenuerial women in their own right, Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet's book, Girls Think of Everything, Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, is an inspiring look at women's little known or recognized role with inventions in medicine, science, household products and high-tech gadgets. A perfect book of trivia for older elementary students and up, readers will learn the innovative role women have played throughout history and how so many well known pro Written and illustrated by two entreprenuerial women in their own right, Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet's book, Girls Think of Everything, Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, is an inspiring look at women's little known or recognized role with inventions in medicine, science, household products and high-tech gadgets. A perfect book of trivia for older elementary students and up, readers will learn the innovative role women have played throughout history and how so many well known products evolved out of curiosity, necessity and accidents. Things like the Apgar score, disposable diapers, windshield wipers, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, Scotchguard, paper bags and drugs for the treatment of leukemia and kidney transplant rejection. The endpapers include a thorough list of creativity camps for kid inventors, a source list, and a timeline of women's inventions since 1946. A fun and eductional easy read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stormy

    Bought this book for my granddaughter. I enjoyed the dozen stories of women inventors and their everyday products: liquid paper, Tollhouse chocolate cookie recipe, kevlar, windshield wipers,Scotchgard, the Snugli, computer compiler, flat bottomed paper bag and more. Find that I'm torn in who to give the book to and may order more copies for nieces and library. It is a paperback - but such great stories. Would be good in pediatricians offices... Was nice to find that I know one of the inventors - of Bought this book for my granddaughter. I enjoyed the dozen stories of women inventors and their everyday products: liquid paper, Tollhouse chocolate cookie recipe, kevlar, windshield wipers,Scotchgard, the Snugli, computer compiler, flat bottomed paper bag and more. Find that I'm torn in who to give the book to and may order more copies for nieces and library. It is a paperback - but such great stories. Would be good in pediatricians offices... Was nice to find that I know one of the inventors - of the snugli. She and her husband are active in our Returned Peace Corps Group here in Denver as well as in Washington DC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    Cool idea, but not weighty enough to really make a difference. Some of these inventions seem so trivial (chocolate chip cookies? really?), and the overwhelming refrain of "she didn't receive any compensation for her invention, but... [she got a lifetime supply of chocolate,etc.]" got pretty depressing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ioana

    This was great but i wish it was a bit more complex and tackled more women from the lists on the first and last pages, as well as more than an honorable mention for enterprising women of color. But as an intro about kickass women it works nicely.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book offers brief overviews of 10 inventions by American women, and 2 modern day inventions by girls. The focus is on the inventions themselves rather than the women behind them and the adversities they had to overcome. Some of the inventions were really fun to read about, like windshield wipers and Liquid Paper. Other overviews were not interesting at all, like the computer compiler and Scotchgard. The main focus is inventions in science and engineering, which is so important for youth to This book offers brief overviews of 10 inventions by American women, and 2 modern day inventions by girls. The focus is on the inventions themselves rather than the women behind them and the adversities they had to overcome. Some of the inventions were really fun to read about, like windshield wipers and Liquid Paper. Other overviews were not interesting at all, like the computer compiler and Scotchgard. The main focus is inventions in science and engineering, which is so important for youth to read about and learn examples of women succeeding in these fields. The one thing that really bothered me about each of the overviews was basic information, like the year and location of the inventor, were never mentioned. The illustrations are a mix of collage and hand drawings, and are very nice and engaging (particularly the front cover). This book would be good for browsing and getting ideas of who you would like to research more in-depth for a larger project. On its own, it was too brief and (disappointingly) did not provide a lot of insight.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    With short entries, Thimmesh shares how women created ingenious inventions ranging from eminently helpful like Liquid Paper or the windshield wiper, to technically complex like the “space bumper” that protects NASA spacecraft and astronauts. The book ends with suggestions and resources to help young women start inventing on their own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    A fabulous book. It was well written in a fun manner telling of how women have been inventors forever. It tells when the first woman was allowed a patent. This is a good book for you women readers to read and know how inventive women are!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    It's true! i love this book because it talks about all the ingenious women inventions, like the chocolate chip cookie, etc. i recommend this book to anyone, but especially girls, of course.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pink STREAM

    Every student memorizes “Thomas Edison found the lightbulb and illuminated mankind” or “Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and let a new era begin in the communication”. But why don’t we memorize women inventors whose inventions made our lives much easier, and led many other inventions to be done? This is evidence that girls also think, girls also invent, girls can also be inventors. You will find out inspiring stories of women inventors and their interesting creations from delicious c Every student memorizes “Thomas Edison found the lightbulb and illuminated mankind” or “Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and let a new era begin in the communication”. But why don’t we memorize women inventors whose inventions made our lives much easier, and led many other inventions to be done? This is evidence that girls also think, girls also invent, girls can also be inventors. You will find out inspiring stories of women inventors and their interesting creations from delicious chocolate chip cookies to indispensable parts of cars, windshield wipers. One of the best thing about the book is absolutely its cover picture. It is very creative and original. It shows just a few things women think about. Scissor glasses are an amazing idea. Loved it! Also, the pictures are as good as the cover picture, they are all beautiful, all interesting. By the way, as well as successful women inventors there are a few smart young girls who invented and inspired lots of people. Why wouldn’t you be one of them? At the end of the book, the author wrote the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s address and phone number. Believe in yourself and try. Even if it doesn’t happen in your first try you will succeed if you keep working. Don’t forget, when Edison made 1000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the lightbulb, a reporter asked him “How did it feel to fail 1000 times?” Edison replied “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1000 steps!”.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Panella

    "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women" is a collection of truly inspirational short stories that recognize the inventions of ambitious women who overcame unfavorable odds to impact the world. From everyday inventions such as disposable diapers, to medical inventions such as a drug to treat Leukemia, women have influenced the world in more ways than society tends to recognize. One invention that I really enjoyed reading about is the woman who invented windshield wip "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women" is a collection of truly inspirational short stories that recognize the inventions of ambitious women who overcame unfavorable odds to impact the world. From everyday inventions such as disposable diapers, to medical inventions such as a drug to treat Leukemia, women have influenced the world in more ways than society tends to recognize. One invention that I really enjoyed reading about is the woman who invented windshield wipers, which is a hardware that many automatically assume was first created by a man. In addition to the remarkable stories within this book, Catherine Thimmesh includes a timeline of each of the inventions that creates a visual for the reader. Overall, this book encourages young readers, especially girls, to always "shoot for the stars" and set high goals for themselves, even when others may be discouraging. This is a great book to incorporate into an engineering lesson. I would start my lesson with this book as a source of inspiration for my students to challenge themselves during the design task at hand. I could also see this as a book that could enlighten an entire class on the capabilities of individuals, regardless of gender, if there is a consistent discrimination issue within my classroom.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison Volz

    I read this book knowing it is a part of an upcoming curriculum adoption and was disappointed. In looking at the writing, without the other issues I have with the text, I did not find it to be very engaging. And then there is the title. Using the term "girls" when the book is about adults (other than the last 2 entries) - really? Perhaps the author and/or illustrator find the use of "girls" acceptable as a way to refer to adults, but as a woman in my 40's, I do not like to be called a girl any l I read this book knowing it is a part of an upcoming curriculum adoption and was disappointed. In looking at the writing, without the other issues I have with the text, I did not find it to be very engaging. And then there is the title. Using the term "girls" when the book is about adults (other than the last 2 entries) - really? Perhaps the author and/or illustrator find the use of "girls" acceptable as a way to refer to adults, but as a woman in my 40's, I do not like to be called a girl any longer. There is an overall lack of diversity in who is represented in this text as well. There was a brief mention of Madame C.J. Walker in the introduction and the inclusion of Valerie L. Thomas (whose illustrated portrait makes her look Caucasian) albeit she was the last adult inventor in the text. This book can be used to teach students critical literacy skills about whose stories are included and whose are left out and issues related to gendered language.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    The first woman to be awarded a patent for her invention was Mary Dixon Kies, in 1809: a process of weaving straw with silk or thread. Women in the U.S. were inventing products, gadgets, etc. much earlier than that, but were not allowed patents in their own name. Now this book aims to introduce young readers to the innovative female minds that brought them such wonders as paper bags (Margaret E. Knight), windshield wipers (Mary Anderson), and chocolate chip cookies (Ruth Wakefield). And perhaps The first woman to be awarded a patent for her invention was Mary Dixon Kies, in 1809: a process of weaving straw with silk or thread. Women in the U.S. were inventing products, gadgets, etc. much earlier than that, but were not allowed patents in their own name. Now this book aims to introduce young readers to the innovative female minds that brought them such wonders as paper bags (Margaret E. Knight), windshield wipers (Mary Anderson), and chocolate chip cookies (Ruth Wakefield). And perhaps they will be inspired by Becky Schroeder who, at 12, became the youngest girl to receive a patent! -Sara Z.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    After reading this book, I purchased it for my granddaughter for her 9th birthday. Catherine provides a great overview of how each woman used her particular skills to create something useful. Each woman was focused on a problem she wanted to solve. The reader learns persistence and creative problem-solving can generate some useful, and often economically rewarding, innovations. The reader learns to value an "I can figure it out" attitude!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amber Marshall

    This is a snack, or maybe an appetizer. The inside covers list a ton of other women inventors to research if this gets you interested. It's targeted to a younger audience and it's pretty accessible. A quick read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    It was fun to read this book and learn about a few awesome inventions made by women. Definitely I would recommend it to middle grade kids.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    this is how I learned that a woman invented windshield wipers. (tbh, I have no idea when I read this, I'm just making up a date. It feels like it was 2015. I should re-read this one.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    LauraW

    I enjoyed this book, but it would be even better if it had included more. The fly-leaf lists of women inventors were really nice.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shiloah

    We loved learning about inventions by women with brief sketches of why they invented what they did. Many of these inventions still profit and bless us today.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Perla Cristal

    Pure inspiration for girls and not so girls, about how we, women have influenced all areas of life and human creation. ❤️ Lovely gift for a little girl.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    Fabulous book on how things came to be through inventions by women through curiosity and even mistakes! One example was the Chocolate chip cookie! Really enjoyed reading this!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Natasa Tzavara

    Very interesting, a gift from someone who believes in me. Totally recommended!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Pitchford

    This book is written by Catherine Thimmesh, and beautifully illustrated by Melissa Sweet, two empowering women. This biographical book is an inspiring look at women's little known or recognized role with inventions in medicine, science, household products and high-tech gadgets. This books is perfect for learning small bits of information that isn't normally taught in the classroom. It is also very inspirational for young girls to read about empowering women and their impact on history. Readers w This book is written by Catherine Thimmesh, and beautifully illustrated by Melissa Sweet, two empowering women. This biographical book is an inspiring look at women's little known or recognized role with inventions in medicine, science, household products and high-tech gadgets. This books is perfect for learning small bits of information that isn't normally taught in the classroom. It is also very inspirational for young girls to read about empowering women and their impact on history. Readers will learn the innovative role women have played throughout history and how so many well known products evolved out of curiosity, necessity and accidents. Things like the Apgar score, disposable diapers, windshield wipers, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, Scotchguard, paper bags and drugs for the treatment of leukemia and kidney transplant rejection. Even though this is an educational read, the illustrations included on each page make the information much more interesting to learn about. Each woman is carefully drawn beside her historical information along with pictures of what they have invented or impacted. This book would be great for older elementary readers, just because the book is information based, therefore there is a lot of text per page, but the information is interesting and captivating, making it easier to read and process.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I loved this book! It is an inspiring collection of biographies on how multiple women came up with their ideas and how they made their dreams possible. Inventions ranging from everyday use to more complex ideas. Such as, the Apgar score, disposable diapers, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, Scotchguard, paper bags , Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, windshield wipers, the Snugli, computer compiler, flat bottomed paper bag, drugs for the treatment of leukemia and kidney transplant rejection and more. Th I loved this book! It is an inspiring collection of biographies on how multiple women came up with their ideas and how they made their dreams possible. Inventions ranging from everyday use to more complex ideas. Such as, the Apgar score, disposable diapers, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, Scotchguard, paper bags , Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, windshield wipers, the Snugli, computer compiler, flat bottomed paper bag, drugs for the treatment of leukemia and kidney transplant rejection and more. The stories seem to hold a lot of value and seem to be credible. This book would be perfect for motivating kids to do what they want and that no dream is unreachable! I loved that the endpapers had a list of camps for kids to express their creativity, it also has a timeline showing the inventions since 1946, as well as a source list for the biographies. The art is a beautiful collage done by Caldecott honor artist Melissa Sweet. She uses vibrant and bright colors that really catch the readers eye!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    I got this book through my local library because I was quite taken with Melissa' Sweet's illustrations in River of Words. Certainly her artwork is subsumed by Timmesh's text, which in and of itself is most interesting. Sweet's most vibrant piece is on the book cover itself, and it's a standout collage. Did you know that it was a woman who invented windshield wipers? Young folks need to know that women are fabulous when it comes to invention, (I think Frank Zappa called his band the Mothers of Inv I got this book through my local library because I was quite taken with Melissa' Sweet's illustrations in River of Words. Certainly her artwork is subsumed by Timmesh's text, which in and of itself is most interesting. Sweet's most vibrant piece is on the book cover itself, and it's a standout collage. Did you know that it was a woman who invented windshield wipers? Young folks need to know that women are fabulous when it comes to invention, (I think Frank Zappa called his band the Mothers of Invention for a reason~)and this book shares that fact. Timmesh is matter of fact in her brief biography of women inventors, but occasionally throws in a bit of whimsey. She underscores that women can invent, and that they give credit to members of their team. Check out this Mother Jones article about men and their capacity to share: http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is a wonderful collection of short stories about female inventors. The inventions range from simple, everyday items like chocolate chip cookies and windshield wipers to technologically complex items like space shields and illusion transmitters. We took our time reading this book, reading only one or two stories each night and we often discussed how we used the items or how creative it was for the women to have thought of it in the first place. The mixed media illustrations are an interestin This is a wonderful collection of short stories about female inventors. The inventions range from simple, everyday items like chocolate chip cookies and windshield wipers to technologically complex items like space shields and illusion transmitters. We took our time reading this book, reading only one or two stories each night and we often discussed how we used the items or how creative it was for the women to have thought of it in the first place. The mixed media illustrations are an interesting mesh of technical drawings and specifications along with other collaged items. They complement each narrative nicely. We really enjoyed reading this book together.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    The invention stories were interesting because they focus on women and young girls who have seen a need and invented something to fill the need. Girls will enjoy knowing that they can make a difference and will be encouraged to go ahead and try, not stop because they are "just a girl." I especially liked reading about the Snugli's invention. I bought one in 1980 and still have it! I enjoyed carrying my first baby around in it. It felt like I was still pregnant, but I could peek inside and see my The invention stories were interesting because they focus on women and young girls who have seen a need and invented something to fill the need. Girls will enjoy knowing that they can make a difference and will be encouraged to go ahead and try, not stop because they are "just a girl." I especially liked reading about the Snugli's invention. I bought one in 1980 and still have it! I enjoyed carrying my first baby around in it. It felt like I was still pregnant, but I could peek inside and see my little Evy, something I had wanted to do for 9 months. She loved it, too!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Zebrowski-Wray

    We used this in combination with a story in our basal reader on Thomas Edison. My students loved learning about women inventors. Most had stated that they weren't aware of a single woman inventor, but could list at least 5 male inventors that had influenced their modern lives. This is a great book to use as a jump off point to guide students into research projects based on women in this book. I had borrowed this from our public library, but my students loved it so much that it ended being a purc We used this in combination with a story in our basal reader on Thomas Edison. My students loved learning about women inventors. Most had stated that they weren't aware of a single woman inventor, but could list at least 5 male inventors that had influenced their modern lives. This is a great book to use as a jump off point to guide students into research projects based on women in this book. I had borrowed this from our public library, but my students loved it so much that it ended being a purchase for our classroom library!

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