Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Children's Bookshelf: Girls Solve Everything - April 11, 2022


Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World written by Catherine Thimmesh and illustrated by Melissa Sweet puts forth a fascinating group of women who have made a difference world wide. The sixteen mini biographies are very well told and stress long term business solutions.

Jan Chen, working on a project in Design Thinking at Stanford University in 2008, went on to start a company with three other students that eventually solved the problem of being unable to keep premature babies warm in developing countries that relied on incubators. Their new approach was a cloth baby warmer that did not require electricity.

Wangari Maathai, a biologist in Kenya, developed a strategy to stop deforestation in her country that was causing problems with the land, water supply, crops and livestock. In 1977, as a member of the National Council of Women of Kenya, she started planting trees. Through her organization some fifty-one million trees have been planted!

Australian Doris Taylor noticed that many seniors like herself and others who could not leave the house needed some way to get nutritious and fully “ready to eat” dinners to stay healthy. She came up with Meals on Wheels in 1953------ available today in many countries such as Canada and the United States.

The mixed media illustrations for each story capture the essence of the solved problem by way of an array of terrific visuals including drawings, posters, maps, charts, scenes and slogans from the imagination of illustrator Melissa Sweet.

Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World written by Catherine Thimmesh and illustrated by Melissa Sweet will talk directly to readers 10 -14 years of age. The back material offers a Glossary of Business Terms from action plan and affiliate to venture capital and Wall Street ( Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2022).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for Girls Solve Everything

This book discusses sixteen stories about problems world-wide and the creative business thinking that solved them. Had you ever heard of any of these stories before reading this book? Take another look. Which story was your favorite? Why? Now, compose a statement about why you like this story in particular. Perhaps you could read your statement to your family at the next dinner table discussion and show them the book.

Each biographical story revolves around a unique problem in the world. The solving of that problem is presented not only in words but also in illustrations. Enjoy the fascinating illustrations in this book by going back over them to find these items: bandages, blue boots, crackers, seedlings, a bunny with a rattle, a tape measure, a red telephone, palm trees, a large pear, a spool of thread, a lightbulb and a food truck.

Study the illustration on page 13. What is the significance of the word interconnected?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.