April 2 Birthday: Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

Maria Merian, scientist

April 2, 1647-Jan. 13, 1717

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Henry Holt, 2010)

Although Europeans during the Middle Ages thought insects were evil, Maria Merian thought them beautiful and harmless. Through careful observation and study she eventually proved metamorphosis was a natural process. Written in first person, Merian’s account of her quest for truth during her thirteenth year is transformative.

The Academy of Natural Sciences shows the different stages of the life of a butterfly.