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Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

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Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

3.5/5 (14 valutazioni)
147 pagine
1 ora
Mar 11, 2002


Award winning author-illustrator duo, Catherine Thimmesh and Melissa Sweet inspire a new generation of innovators in this fascinating celebration of women inventors from diverse backgrounds.   For fans of WOMEN WHO DARED and WOMEN IN SCIENCE.

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. What inspired these girls, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?
     Retaining reader-tested favorite inventions, this updated edition of the best-selling Girls Think of Everything features seven new chapters that better represent our diverse and increasingly technological world, offering readers stories about inventions that are full of hope and vitalityempowering them to think big, especially in the face of adversity.
Mar 11, 2002

Informazioni sull'autore

Catherine Thimmesh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including Girls Think of Everything and Team Moon, winner of the Sibert Medal. Her books have received numerous starred reviews, appeared on best books lists, and won many awards, including the IRA Children's Book Award and Minnesota Book Award. She lives in Minnesota with her family. 

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Girls Think of Everything - Catherine Thimmesh


Text copyright © 2000 and 2018 by Catherine Thimmesh

Illustrations copyright © 2000 and 2018 by Melissa Sweet

All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

Kevlar® is a registered trademark of Du Pont.

Scotchgard® is a trademark of 3M.

Snugli® is a registered trademark of Snugli, Incorporated.

LuminAID® is a registered trademark of LuminAID.

Roominate® is a registered trademark of Roominate, LLC.

The illustrations are mixed media.

Collages photographed by Hugh Brantner Photography

Cover design by Whitney Leader-Picone

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Thimmesh, Catherine.

Girls think of everything: stories of ingenious inventions by women / by Catherine Thimmesh; illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

p. cm.

Summary: Tells the story of how women throughout the ages have responded to situations confronting them in daily life by inventing such items as solar lanterns, baby carriers, and space bumpers.

RNF ISBN 0-395-93744-2 PAP ISBN 0-618-19563-7.

1. Women inventors—United States—Biography—Juvenile literature. 2. Inventions—United States—History—Juvenile literature. [1. Inventors. 2. Inventions. 3. Women Biography.] I. Sweet, Melissa, ill. II.


T39.T48 2000

609.2’273—dc2I [B] 99-36270 CIP

ISBN 978-1-328-77253-4 paper over board

eISBN 978-0-547-35052-3


For Jaimie and Simon, who invent new ways to amuse me every day


In memory of Jamien Morehouse, who invented many wonderful things


In the beginning . . .

With a push you are free—bursting into the world scrunched up and screaming. It’s a girl! the doctor announces. Or It’s a boy! And so your life began. And with those very first breaths, and in those very first moments, your health and well-being were evaluated through the eyes of an ingenious inventor: Dr. Virginia Apgar. Dr. Apgar developed the Newborn Scoring System—or Apgar score—to measure five crucial aspects of a baby’s health: color, pulse, reflexes, activity, and respiration. She recognized the urgency of identifying those newborns in need of emergency attention, and because of her innovation, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. Today, all medical professionals evaluate a new baby using the Apgar Score within minutes of birth. Right from the get-go, a woman’s inventiveness and ingenuity touched your life. But that was only the beginning.

Whether in medicine or science, household products or high-tech gadgets, women and girls invent—and their inventions surround us and affect our everyday lives. They have created cancer-fighting drugs, space bumpers, coffeemakers, and sleeping-bag coats to warm the homeless. Women have invented games and toys and computer soft-ware programs.

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago."

—Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden

Inventors create for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve heard the saying Necessity is the mother of invention? It’s true. An inventor sees a need and seeks to fill it. A long time ago, before there were record keepers or materials to keep records on, people went about their daily lives. And in doing so, they invented. According to oral tradition, as well as observations and studies conducted by anthropologists, women were responsible for some of the most fundamental and enduring innovations of all time. Because of their responsibilities within their families and communities, it appears that women were the first to invent tools and utensils—including the mortar (a heavy bowl) and pestle (a clublike hammer) to prepare food, such as flour, and botanical medicines.

They spun cotton together with flax, thereby inventing cloth. And they created the first shelters by designing and constructing huts and wigwams. It is said that women were the first to discover dyes to color cloth and tanning methods to make leather goods.

Throughout history, women have always been innovators. But their accomplishments have often been downplayed, skimmed over, or ignored altogether. In the year 1715, we have the first documented evidence of an invention by an American woman. Sybilla Masters invented a power-driven method for cleaning and curing corn based on her observations of Native American women using heavy pestles to pound the corn by hand.

Unfortunately, at that time, women were not allowed patents in their own names. In fact, women did not legally own any property whatsoever and were themselves considered to be the property of their husbands. So, for Sybilla to protect her invention, she had to settle for obtaining the patent in the name of her husband, Thomas Masters.

Nearly one hundred years would pass before an American woman’s invention would legally be recognized as her own. Mary Dixon Kies has the honor of holding the first U.S. patent ever awarded to a woman in her own name. Mary created an innovative process of weaving straw with silk or thread, primarily for use in ladies’ bonnets. She was awarded a patent in 1809, just as straw bonnets were becoming extremely fashionable.

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  • (3/5)
    The book was really good. Since my subject matter is science I wouldn’t use it in my class. I would suggest its use in seminar for girls to help build up their self-esteem. The book tells you about many inventions and ideas that women have come up with. The illustrations are also very good and keep you interested in the book.
  • (2/5)
    This is a book about the the different stories of igenious inventions by women. this book shows that women invented things such as, wind shield wipers, school desks, medical syringes, washmitt, and chocolate chip cookies. This book does not have many pictures in it and it full of text. I think that it wouldn't hold someone's attention for a long time unless this book was specifically read to research one of the female inventors. It gets boring after a while although it was intersting.
  • (5/5)
    Not only did I love this book because it's all about how girls can be a part of the STEM portion of the world, but also because it gives empowerment and recognition to the women who have changed the world with their brilliant minds. It also gives really awesome explanations of how each woman went from having an idea to making it a reality and what inspired them to do so. Super inspirational book for young girls who love science!
  • (4/5)
    great inventors
  • (4/5)
    This book contains brief and informational descriptions as well as pictures and collages of 12 women and their inventions. It shows the ingenious of women and often the difficulties they faced while developing their ideas. I thought this book could be very empowering for young inventors, especially for young girls. There is even a short description at the end about the importance of patenting and how to do it.
  • (5/5)
    Including improvements in NASA space technology and the creation of Kevlar, white out, and the Barbie Doll, this engaging book highlights women and girls' creativity and resourcefulness to solve everyday problems and create enduring innovations. By featuring many well-known inventions by less-sung female inventors, this book expands young readers' knowledge of women's contributions to many fields, including industry, medicine, technology, leisure, childcare, and more. The text also acknowledges young girl inventors, such as ten-year-old Jeanie Low, inventor of the Kiddie Stool in 1992. Illustrations in mixed-media collage by award-winning artist Melissa Sweet add vibrancy and spirit to the text. Readers will be drawn in by Sweet's imaginative portraits of the book's subjects, then amazed by the feats of these women and girls. For a wider representation of women's achievements and diversity in age and background, educators and librarians can use this book to expand lessons on women's history, as well as the book's extensive citations and resources lists.
  • (5/5)
    I am always trying to find books that also highlight the contributions of women to our history. This is one such book. Some of the inventions highlighted include: chocolate cookies, windshield wipers,kevlar that goes inside bullet-proof vests, liquid paper, scotch guard, paper bags and more! Nice illustrations and pull quotes.
  • (3/5)
    A lot of interesting inventions by women over the last centuries. This book could encourage pupils to think creatively and show that women has contributed a lot in our current life-style.
  • (3/5)
    Highlighting about 15 female inventors from the last half of the 19th century until today, Catherine Thimmesh provides biographical information for each of the selected women as well as a description of her inventive process and some of the inventor's advise for others. The last two girls to be so honored were children at the time of their inventions and the book concludes with the words "Now its you're turn!" followed by the postal address of the U.S. Patent Office. Obviously meant to be inspirational and catalytic for
  • (4/5)
    Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh So I may have mentioned before that I love a good anthology, particularly of the contributions of women in history. The point is not that men haven't done great things that we deserve learning about but that they aren't the only ones who have. Despite hardship and opposition, women have invented lots of things, some that we couldn't live without today and others that are so common, I didn't even realize that it used to be a problem.

    This book takes just about an hour to listen to. It has some women I was already familiar with (like my hero, Admiral Grace Hopper) and others that were new (Margaret Knight invented the machine that makes paper grocery bags, they had to be made by hand and were expensive before that).

    If you want to see some more great anthologies of women making history, I have a shelf dedicated to them.
  • (4/5)
    Usually I find non-fiction for children dry. Not this one! Illustrations were little works of art, and stories were compelling. I haven't checked accuracy, but the research seems thorough and the bibliography and appendices are of value. Endpaper notes have lots more inventions that didn't get stories. Teachers could readily have children do one of two projects - 1. verify a story or 2. write a story about one of the other inventions. Best for ages 8 up.
  • (4/5)
    This book gives the story of 12 women / girl inventors and their inventions that changed the world. From chocolate chip cookes to Kevlar, this book can inspire boys and girls alike to think like an inventor - to ask questions and think outside the box. It is very informative but also gives a good look into the how and why of these inventions.
  • (4/5)
    What do chocolate chip cookies, windshield wipers, Liquid Paper, and flat-bottomed paper bags all have in common? They were all invented by women. This book gives a fascinating glimpse into some of the many products that were invented by women. Each entry is 2-4 pages long and accompanied by neat collage-ish illustrations. The brief entries keep things interesting and source notes and further reading suggestions are included at the end. The endpapers include lists of other inventions by women, organized by year. A surefire hit for women's history month or any inventive young girls.