Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds and soil. Lab Girl is a beautifully written tribute to plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility and passion that drive every scientist. Warm, luminous and compulsively readable, this memoir vividly demonstrates the mountains that we can move when love, friendship and work come together.
Books for Younger Readers
For grades 5 and up (ages 10+)
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery and Temple Grandin
Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History… and Our Future! by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl
For preschool to grade 4 (ages 4-9)
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbably Life of Paul Erdös by Deborah Heiligman and LeUyen Pham
Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca Hirsch and Mia Posada
Ada Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and April Chu
Book Club Discussion Materials and Recipes
Book club meetings aren’t just about the book. Sharing food and drinks adds to the fun! We’ve found some great recipes to enhance your discussion of Lab Girl. Try some and impress your guests! Special thanks to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel food editor and committee member Nancy Stohs for finding all of the food references in the book, locating appropriate recipes, cooking them, photographing them and tasting them for us.
Book Club Recipes for Lab Girl
What to serve at a book club discussion of Lab Girl? Food doesn’t really factor into Hope Jahren’s story.
Plant foods are a natural, considering the focus of her research. But that doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to a big bowl of salad greens…
Let’s dig a bit deeper (pun intended). Think roots, leaves and seeds.
If you’re serving a full meal, you could roast up a pan of root vegetables.
For an easy snack, simply open a bag of root veggie chips.
Kale Chips (Updated). Of course.
And there’s nothing wrong with a big bowl of salad! Toss some assorted greens with roasted beets, some goat cheese, oranges or other favorite ingredients and top it with sunflower seeds for all three plant parts in one dish.
Or make a jellyroll cake and decorate it with chocolate frosting to resemble a log, à la buche de Noel (meringue mushrooms optional). We call our recipe the Log of Life cake.
Or bake up a batch of Mixed Seed Clusters and sprinkle it on servings of ice cream.
You can never go wrong with wine at a book club gathering, no matter what the book. Or try one of these science-y or plant-themed cocktails:
- Madison Sveum – Mac & Cheese
- (tie) Antonia Arney – My Anxiety Journey and Jordan Lawless – Coming of Age – Which Age?
Honorable mention (Elementary category):
VISUAL ARTS CONTEST
- Sarah Hunt-Frank
- Charmaine Rabishaw
- Lilly Frank
- Lilly Frank
- Kate Pluta
- Sophia Sherry
- Sofia Konkol