FINDING WONDERS by Jeannine Atkins


Three Girls Who Changed Science
Age Range: 10 - 14
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The verse biographies of three pioneering women who made their marks on science.

Atkins here introduces young readers to three women who bucked convention and distinguished themselves in scientific disciplines at times in history when females were expected to engage in domestic pursuits. German-born Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), who defied the then-accepted notion of spontaneous generation and discovered how caterpillars become butterflies, is still considered one of the foremost entomologists of her day; Brit Mary Anning (1799-1847) discovered the first ichthyosaur and was the first person known to make a living selling fossils; and Maria Mitchell (1818-89) discovered a comet in 1847 and went on to become the first woman in the United States to work as an astronomer. Though they were born in different centuries and lands, Atkins adroitly employs spare yet lyric poems to imagine the similar development of these path-breaking white women, whom she imagines taking the leads of their fathers in cultivating their curiosity and having the courage to believe that: “Discoveries are made / by those willing to say, Once we were wrong, / and ask question after question.” Atkins takes the license verse grants to “fill in what disappeared” from what remains of her subjects’ childhoods, creating captivating fictionalized portraits.

Inspirational and informative, Atkins shows how pursuing one’s passion for science, math, or any field considered nontraditional is worth the risk. (author’s note, bibliographic essay, bibliography) (Verse historical fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6565-6
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2016


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