Evelyn Cheesman, the first woman to take charge of the Insect House at the London Zoo, is the subject of Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist: The True Story of a World-Traveling Bug Hunter! This charming picture-book biography by Christine Evans and illustrated by Yasmin Imamura (published in 2019), explores Cheesman’s global adventures. It also inspires children and adults to be like Evelyn and “do it anyway”.

When you’re finished reading Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist, ask kids these comprehension questions:

  • What kinds of insects resided in the Insect House when Evelyn took over, and
  • What did she want to be when she grew up? And what career became her passion? How did Evelyn’s career evolve?

For this special book, we have two fun Rosie Reads activities to share!

First, in the spirit of Evelyn’s evolving career, have kids interview a woman in their lives and ask about her career path. What did she want to be when she was a child? Has that dream changed over the years? How did her experiences in school and college impact her journey? If kids need inspiration, be sure to check out our Rosie Talks interviews (click “interview” in “types” when you search). Our program participants interview real women in STEM and serve as awesome examples!

Second, ask kids to think about the messages society and culture send about what girls “should” and “shouldn’t” do or be. Evelyn faced this constantly in her life, and her answer was always to just “do it anyway.” What should girls “do anyway” to challenge today’s stereotypes? Start a list, and make sure you keep it as a source of inspiration!