Her Eyes on the Stars: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer
by Laurie Wallmark; illus. by Liz Wong
40 pages; ages 8-12
Creston Books, 2023
theme: biography, Women in STEM, comets
Night after night, Maria and her father climbed the stairs to her magical world – their rooftop observatory.
This is a story about Maria Mitchell and how she fell in love with astronomy. At the age of 18 she took a job as a librarian – one of the few jobs open to women, writes Laurie. Eleven years later, Maria is the first American to discover a comet.
What I like about this book: I like the narrative style; Laurie seamlessly slides facts into the story, like details of how Maria determined that what she saw was really a comet. I like how the story shows Maria’s work opening up possibilities for women to study astronomy. And I love that back matter includes Maria’s Rules of Astronomical Observation – which are good rules for applying to any endeavor. There’s also a timeline, glossary, and handy information for observing solar eclipses.
After reading, I had One Question for Laurie:
Me: What made you want to write a book about Maria?
Laurie: When I first started to research and write my book about Maria Mitchell, there was only one trade book published about her. And that book was closer to historical fiction based on her life rather than a true biography. I felt the need to tell a factual story about her life. Even forgetting her many achievements as an astronomer, maybe her biggest accomplishment was encouraging future generations of women to enter the field.
Sky-Watching Beyond the Books:
Watch a solar eclipse. An annular eclipse happens Oct. 14, 2023, and will be visible in the US from Oregon to Texas. Check out information here. The next total eclipse visible in the US will be April 8, 2024. You can read more about it and find maps for what cities lie in the path here.
Planning to view an eclipse? Do it safely. Here’s how you can make a viewer from a cereal box.
Go comet hunting! You may have a chance to see a brand-new comet in October 2024. Check out this article from Earth Sky.
Laurie is a member of #STEAMTeam2023. She has written tons of biographies about women in STEM including these two which I have reviewed on this blog: Numbers in Motion and Code Breaker, Spy Hunter.
You can find out more about Laurie at her website, http://www.lauriewallmark.com/
Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Because this book appeals to older kids, on Monday we'll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the author.