Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers

(1 customer review)


What does it take to change the world? This book provides inspiring, in-depth stories of more than 25 diverse American inventors and entrepreneurs from Colonial times to the present. Richly illustrated with photographs in color and black-and-white, Inventors, Makers, Barrier Breakers focuses on the process of invention, its joys and frustrations, social progress, and the obstacles each inventor had to overcome.

Author: Pendred Noyce
Age Range : 12+
Grades: 7+
SKU: N/A Category: Product ID: 15987

Book Details:

  • ISBN: Hardcover: 9781943431427/Paperback: 9781943431434
  • Genre: Children's Nonfiction/Science & Nature/Biography
  • Page Count: 300
  • Age Range: 12+
  • Grades: 7+
  • Lexile Level: 1030
  • Pub Date: 01/10/2018


Penny Noyce is a doctor, educator, writer and publisher. She studied biochemistry at Harvard and medicine at Stanford, then completed a residency in internal medicine in Minnesota. She moved to the Boston area, where she practiced at a community health center for several years. From 1993-2002, Penny helped lead a statewide math and science improvement effort called PALMS in the state of Massachusetts. She gradually withdrew from medical practice to focus on her education work and on raising her five children.


From 1991-2015, Penny helped lead the Noyce Foundation, established in honor of her father, Robert Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel. The foundation focused on improving science education nationwide, especially by supporting afterschool science. In 2016, this work led to the establishment of STEM Next, a nonprofit that supports out-of-school science clubs and programs across the country. One initiative of STEM Next is the Million Girls Moonshot, seeking to help a million girls build, event, and gain an engineering mindset.


Penny has served on the boards of numerous non-profits, includingthe Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy, TERC, the Libra Foundation of Maine, the Concord Consortium, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications and the AAAS public Outreach Committee. For five years, she served on the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.


As her older children set off for college, Penny began writing for middle-grade children. She has written seven books in the Galactic Academy of Science series along with four other novelfor ages 9-13. Besides novels, she has written one picture book about science explanations(The Book of Wrong Answers) and nonfiction books on bridges, inventors, and historical women of science.She is working on her first graphic novel and is helping to lead an NSF-funded project that teaches kids in afterschool settings about epidemiology and data, using her novel The Case of the COVID Crisis.

“This collection profiles both famous and lesser-known American inventors, entrepreneurs, and scientists from the 18th century to the present day, covering the social and historical contexts of their work. Among the well-known individuals included are Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, and George Washington Carver. Women given chapters of their own are: Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C.J. Walker, who made millions thanks to their African-American hair care products and business initiatives; Gertrude Elion, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist and daughter of Jewish immigrants; Grace Hopper, who broke barriers both in the Navy and the world of computer programming; and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a scientist of Indigenous and Latinx descent who has done groundbreaking work in the treatment of diabetes. Some chapters offer an overview of particular topics, such as the inventions of enslaved and free blacks, food products, and popular games and toys. The most recent inventor covered is Elon Musk. A final section entitled “What About You?” encourages readers to be innovators, explicitly calling attention to the tremendous diversity (across many dimensions) of the individuals profiled…”
– Kirkus Reviews

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