Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian
The discovery of this book was the highlight of my week. In the middle ages, the thought of the time was that butterflies (or summer birds) sprang to life from the mud. Because people did not understand them, they considered them evil.
Enter thirteen year old Maria Merian who challenges this idea--despite the fact that she is a girl and the risk of being accused of witchcraft if others found out what she was doing.
She collects larva, watches them throughout their life cycle and makes careful drawings of what she sees. She discovers that they don't spring forth from the mud and she does not believe they are evil or something to be feared.
Looking for more inspiring biographies? Try these:
In the Belly of an Ox: The Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton
Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle