Asfia Jamal
31 FANTASTIC ADVENTURES IN SCIENCE: WOMEN SCIENTISTS OF INDIA by Nandita Jayaraj and Ashima Freidog. Illustrations by Upasana Agarwal Designer: Devangana Dash Penguin, 2019, 128 pp., 399.00
November 2020, volume 44, No 11

This book can be celebrated alongside the historic win of Nobel Chemistry Prize 2020 by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A Doudna. Extracted from the Feminist Science Media Project,, 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science: Women Scientists of India is a book comprising brief biographies of inspiring contemporary scientists working in diverse fields of science research.The nature of their research is crucial to Indian context of agriculture, industrial waste, health care, environment conservation, mental health, natural disaster, gender gap in science, and our universe. The book points to women’s struggle, caste hierarchy, gender binary, and white supremacy in the field of science. It specifically focuses on Indian reality. Though, to reach to a larger audience of children in India, this book might require extra effort in translating it in different languages at a subsidized price.

The book jacket itself is a gripping story, which would not let readers skip the book at a library or store. Once you pick it up, it’s well crafted design lets you easily hold the structure of the book and comprehend the narrative style. If you have read or seen Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women released in 2016, full page colour stylized portraits will be an instant flashback. The beautiful work done by Upasana (the illustrator), who has put life into these portraits with her dreamy colour palette and Devangana whose ability to create design which binds this book in a harmony has to be registered here. It can be an exciting guest in a science class and be used as a read aloud where the front two pages of the story present engaging visuals to hook reader’s attention. The structure of the stories frames 5-6 paragraphs with eloquent syntax, medium size font and a light background colour. The stories talk about courage, strength, inspiration and aspirations of these women scientists in a simple, yet playful narrative style.

Continue reading this review