The Girl Who Drew Butterflies

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies
  • Book
  • 130 pages
  • Level: all audiences

This is a book about Maria Sybilla Merian, written for readers at the middle school level and up.  The author is Joyce Sidman, and it was published in 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  Merian was a scientist who carefully studied caterpillars, butterflies, and moths and the plants on which they fed—and she was an artist who made beautiful drawings of the creatures that she studied.  Merian wrote that “one is full of praise at God’s mysterious power and the wonderful attention he pays to such insignificant little creatures”.  While the book is primarily about Merian’s studies, the author also discusses Merian’s religion, which played a large role in her life.

From the author’s web page:

Everyone knows that butterflies come from caterpillars, right? 

Not in the 17th century, they didn’t. How would they have known? Metamorphosis took place in hidden places. There were no books describing this process, or Monarch kits to send away for. Caterpillars were considered pests, and no one connected them to the beautiful “summer birds” that sailed through the air.

Only a very sharp-eyed and persistent person would be able to uncover such an extraordinary process, and only a person with artistic skill could document it in living color.

That person was Maria Sibylla Merian. An artist at a time when women weren’t allowed to be. A scientist before there were scientists. An adventurer who journeyed far and wide in search of the truth of metamorphosis.

Dive into this fully-illustrated account of her life: bursting with art, history and juicy details. 

Click here for a preview, courtesy of Google Books.