Chapter Books, Nature Study

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks

I was pretty tickled to discover Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: The Lives of Six Pioneering Naturalists, written by Jeannine Atkins. It includes short biographies of Maria Merian, Anna Comstock, Frances Hamerstrom, Rachel Carson, Miriam Rothschild, and Jane Goodall. Since we’re using Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study as a key science text this year, it was a real treat to be able to introduce my daughters to her by reading something about her life.

Her story is, like the others in this book, an inspiring one that testifies to the impact passion, determination, and conviction can have on the world. Here we learned of her fascination with insects, as well as her intelligence and achievement as one of the first women to attend Cornell University and, later, become a faculty member. We also learned how her Handbook of Nature Study came about, and some of the obstacles she overcame in writing it.

This is classed as a Young Adult book, but my daughters are 7 and 10 and they had no problem with the chapters we read together. (I haven’t read all of them yet, but with the completion of each one we’ve read they’ve immediately wanted more.) If you have a budding naturalist (particularly a female one), this is a great book to know about.

5 thoughts on “Girls Who Looked Under Rocks

  1. One of the greatest female American naturalists was Gene Stratton-Porter. Are you familiar with her books Girl of the Limberlost, Freckles, Laddie, and Song of the Cardinal? Laddie is especially good for a read-aloud for homeschooling families as it takes place through the eyes of a young girl (some say it is autobiographical of Gene herself).

  2. I’ve heard of ‘Limberlost’ but didn’t have any idea of what it was about. Thank you! — This sounds like an author I’d like to get to know.

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