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Marti

3 Ways DRAGONFLY GIRL Encourages Girls In STEM

It challenges stereotypes

The clever protagonist in Dragonfly Girl, with a head for math and science, is a high school girl. Not only that, she’s a high school girl who wants to be liked, to wear nice clothes, to go to dances and be part of a friendship group just like any other girl.

Her best friend, also interested in science, is a popular, pretty and much admired by everyone – especially boys.

When Kira meets other adult scientists, there is an even distribution of men and woman.

By presenting a diverse group of girls and women as scientists, Dragonfly Girl challenges what educator Carly Berwick describes as “the persistent subconscious images of male mathematicians and scientists that…may be one explanation why girls enter STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – at dramatically lower rates than boys.” 

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, girls and boys perform similarly STEM related subjects on standardized tests. However, larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income.” from lower income families were less likely to take advanced science courses. In part, the disparity is due to a perception of who belongs in sciences. In Dragonfly Girl, the main character is the daughter of a single parent with a chronic, critical illness. When (eventually) she gets an after-school job in a laboratory, some of her young colleagues are women of color. 

It shifts perceptions about who belongs in science

According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, girls and boys perform similarly STEM related subjects on standardized tests. However, “larger gaps exist between students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds or family income.” from lower income families were less likely to take advanced science courses. In part, the disparity is due to a perception of who belongs in sciences. In Dragonfly Girl, the main character is the daughter of a single parent with a chronic, critical illness that means the family is in debt. In the course of the book, not only does the heroine meet women in science but also men and women of color in science.

It may even raise girls’ test scores

Studies show that giving high school girls images of female scientists resulted in higher performance by these students. For example, this study showed that  “female students had higher comprehension after viewing counter-stereotypic images (female scientists)” in their textbooks and study materials.Studies show that giving high school girls images of female scientists resulted in higher performance by these students.

Coming February 2021

Dragonfly Girl is about a troubled high school girl with a gift for science who discovers a “cure” for death and ends up embroiled in an international rivalry.

Wait…a cure for death? As in, the dead come back to life? Yes, but we aren’t talking zombies (sorry…I like a good zombie story as much as anyone). And we’re not talking about those who’ve been buried for centuries. Not the dead dead.

But say a person was dead a few hours ago or even a few days ago…yes, there’s hope there! And the process, which as I wrote the book began to feel more and more real to me, is called “post-death recovery”.

You’d think that discovering a cure for death would be a good thing, but it doesn’t work out that way for Kira, at least not at first. She’s in trouble  from the moment she arrives on the page, with school problems, money problems, family problems, and a big lie that sends her hurdling toward danger.

Dragonfly Girl is published in February 2021 but Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins USA

Advance Praise for Dragonfly Girl:

DRAGONFLY GIRL is unlike any other book I have read. The plot is taut and devilishly cunning, the science behind the story is brilliantly researched, and the writing pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last page. You’ll find yourself aching for the heroine’s hardships at first, before suddenly being whisked off into a heart-thumping adventure that will leave you breathless.THIS BOOK SLAPS.

—Jess Q Sutanto, author of DIAL A FOR AUNTIES & her YA debut, THE OBSESSION

DRAGONFLY GIRL is a uniquely smart book. Readers will be challenged and delighted, as I was, by its originality. Invest some time in DRAGONFLY GIRL and let author Marti Leimbach take you on a surprising and thrilling ride. 

— Michael Grant, bestselling author of the Gone Series

As someone who believes that recent events have greatly highlighted the importance of science in our lives, I loved Dragonfly Girl. Can there a better way to nudge young people toward the sciences than to introduce them to Kira Adams, who may only be a senior in a San Francisco in high school, but has already demonstrated the potential to become a brilliant and gifted scientist? When Kira is introduced to the deceptively ruthless world of big money scientific discovery at an awards ceremony in Stockholm, she has no inkling of how soon her own remarkable discovery will thrust her almost irretrievably into that world’s murky depths.  A kidnapping, a journey across Russia while imprisoned on a train, and a life or death showdown in Moscow ensue. Marti Leimbach has written an intriguing and thrilling novel that could very well entice young people to take a closer look at careers in science, while entertaining them along the way with astonishing facts. Just wait until they learn what the Australian brown falcon does to flush out its prey.

—Todd Strasser, bestselling author of THE WAVE and FALLOUT