To culminate Women’s History Month, here’s a list of books with girl protagonists with scientific and/or detective minds:
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
12-year-old Willow Chance is a genius with an obsessive-compulsive personality and an extraordinary knowledge of nature and medical conditions who’s in need of a family.
Echo Falls Mystery Series by Peter Abrahams
13-year-old Ingrid Levin-Hill is an amateur sleuth and a budding thespian. Not surprisingly, she’s also a devoted fan of Sherlock Holmes.
Enola Holmes Mystery Series by Nancy Springer
Enola is the 14-year-old sister of much-older and famous Sherlock Holmes. Throughout her investigative adventures she proves that she’s as–if not more– intelligent, talented, and resourceful as her brother.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
11-year-old Calpurnia Tate is happiest when making scientific observations with her grandfather. Her mother, however, wants her to conform to the social expectations of the time period.
Flavia De Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley
11-year-old Flavia de Luce has an extraordinary knowledge of chemistry, a fascination with death, and a talent for solving murder mysteries.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
11-year-old Ellie Cruz’s grandfather is a scientist who has discovered how to reverse aging and has now returned to being 13. As Ellie helps him with his discovery and predicament, she becomes more and more interested in science.
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron
10-year-old Lucky has a brain full of questions, which is why she wants to be a scientist. She also wants to find her Higher Power so she can gain special insight into the uncertainties of life.
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
11-year-old Early’s father has vanished, and she, her mom, and her brother are forced to move into a homeless shelter. Early uses her talent for recognizing patterns and rhythms to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
11-year-old Ophelia doesn’t believe in things that science can’t explain. After her mother’s death, her father takes a job at a museum, where she discovers a marvelous boy who’s a prisoner of the magical and evil Snow Queen.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
14-year-old Violet is the oldest of the Baudelaire children. Her talent as an inventor helps her and her two siblings escape many dangerous situations.
Three Times Lucky and sequels by Sheila Turnage
11-year old Mo LoBeau has a wild imagination and is always up for an adventure. With the help of her best friend Dale, she starts the Desperado Detective Agency.
The Westing Game by Erskine
Tabitha-Ruth (Turtle) Wexler, one of the heirs chosen to solve the book’s mystery, is an intelligent and underestimated 13-year-old girl who excels at playing the stock market.
The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency Series by Jordan Stratford
11-year-old genius Augusta Ada Byron (better known as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer) and 14-year-old adventurer Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (better known as Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein) combine their talents and abilities and set up the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.
Wonder at the Edge of the World by Nicole Helget
13-year-old Lu Wonder has a thirst for knowledge of the mysteries of the natural world and wants to be a scientific explorer like her father. She embarks on a life-changing quest with her friend Eustace.
A Wrinkle in Time and sequels by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg, the heroine of the story, is an extremely intelligent twelve-year-old girl who has a hard time fitting in at school. Her parents are scientists and her youngest brother–with whom she has a special bond–is a genius.
Lastly, two classic series:
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by various authors
Nancy Drew is a rich, talented, and intelligent teenager who enjoys spending her time solving mysteries.
Trixie Belden Series by various authors
Trixie is a farm girl who manages to discover mysteries all around her. She solves them with the help of her brothers and friends, who together form a good-Samaritan club called the Bob-Whites of the Glen.
“There was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe — the only lady private detective in Botswana — brewed tea. And three mugs — one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need?” –Alexander McCall Smith, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency