Dynamic Book Duos: Women in STEM

Please welcome authors Songju Ma Daemicke and Marta Magellan to Dynamic Book Duos– a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with coordinating educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s Dynamic Book Duos pairing focuses on women in STEM.


Both Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria written by Songju Ma Daemicke and illustrated by Lin and Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor, Primatologist written by Marta Magellan and illustrated by Clementine Rocheron are part of the SHE MADE HISTORY series from Albert Whitman & Co. Specifically, both are picture book bios of women in STEM: one, a Cuban-American primatologist who helped save an endangered species, and the other about a Chinese scientist who discovered a cure for malaria. Both scientists faced many obstacles but persisted and made a difference in our world.

Book 1: Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria

Tu Youyou had been interested in science and medicine since she was a child, so when malaria started infecting people all over the world in 1969, she went to work finding a treatment. Trained as a medical researcher in college and healed by traditional medicine techniques when she was young, Tu Youyou started experimenting with natural Chinese remedies. The treatment she discovered through years of research and experimentation is still used all over the world today.

Book 2: Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor, Primatologist

First as a young girl in Miami in a house filled with animals, then as a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, nothing was quite wild enough for Mireya Mayor. Even when she traded her pom-poms for sturdy boots in the wilds of South America, and later as the first woman wildlife TV reporter for National Geographic, things were still too tame. Finally in Madagascar, she manged to get the Prime Minister to set up a protected national park for a species of lemur she discovered, assuring that the habitat for the little lemur would for a long time to come, remain quite wild enough.


Activities for Tu YouYou’s Discovery:

Click the link below to take you to the author’s website book page. Then, scroll down to the section for Tu Youyou’sDiscovery and click on the “Teaching Activities” button to download the teacher’s guide.

Activities for Just Wild Enough:

Click the link below to take you to the author’s website book page. Then, scroll down to the section for Just Wild Enough and click on the “Teachers Guide” link to download the teacher’s guide.

Activities for Both Books:

1)   Study the two books. What are the similarities and differences between these two books?

2)   What kind of research did Tu Youyou, a pharmaceutical chemist, do? What kind of research did Mireya Mayor, a primatologist, do? If you were a scientist, what kind of scientist would you be?

3)   What made them choose their professions? During their life work and research, what characteristics helped them to succeed? 

4)   What are the achievements of Tu Youyou andMireya Mayor? How do their contributions continue to impact the world?

5)    Explore parks, your backyard, and even a farmer’s market to find plants and animals that Tu Youyou and Mireya Mayor worked with.  Sweet wormwood, the subject studied by Tu Youyou, is related to herbs such as tarragon. Explore a farmer’s market to find one of these herbs. In a park or even in your backyard, find the kind of animal Mireya Mayor used to look at under a magnifying glass, just like a scientist: beetles, worms, and anything safe you can find and examine in your area.



THE primatologist legend Jane Goodall with Mireya Mayor Primatologist holding Just Wild Enough!

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu