Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer

By Sarah B. Pomeroy and Jeyaraney Kathirithamby

Science and art combine in this captivating, lushly illustrated biography of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), one of the world’s first entomologists, who was also a botanist, naturalist, and celebrated artist. 

This fascinating STEAM title begins in 1660 when, at the age of thirteen, Merian began her study of butterfly metamorphosis—years before any other scientist published an accurate description of the process. Later, she and her daughter Dorothea ventured thousands of miles from the Netherlands to the rain forests of South America seeking new and amazing insects to observe and illustrate.

Years after her death, Merian’s accurate and beautiful illustrations were used by scientists, including Carl Linnaeus, to classify species, and today her prints and paintings are prized by museums around the world. More than a dozen species of plants and animals are named in her honor.

Preview the introduction and first chapter of Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer and explore educational resources, including discussion questions.

Interest Level: Ages 10 and up | Lexile® measure: 1150L | Genre: Middle-grade nonfiction | Themes: Science and art, natural history, entomology, South America, exploration, women’s history, 17th-century European history, STEAM

Classroom Resources

Maria Sibylla Merian’s Work