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An inspiring account of a notable early role model who pursued a STEM career despite sexism.

A young girl’s curiosity, spurred by the whaling ships she saw near her Nantucket home, led to careers in astronomy and teaching.

This picture-book biography follows Maria Mitchell, who was born in 1818 to a White Quaker family. Encouraged by her father to research and follow her passion for science, she sought more than a life of needlework, housework, husband, and children; she learned to read the stars in the sky by using a sextant, a metronome, and a chronometer. At a young age, she repaired a chronometer for a surprised sea captain (“What could a girl possibly know of mathematics and machines?”). Her future then became limitless. Maria started her own school, became a librarian, and entered a contest to find a new comet, with a reward provided by the king of Denmark. Despite a broken telescope, which she also repaired, she won the challenge and was eventually offered a position as professor of astronomy in a women’s college in New York. This stirring account is told in an uplifting voice highlighting Mitchell’s youthful inquisitiveness and determination to expand her knowledge. Alary emphasizes that Mitchell owed her education, in part, to her enlightened father, who foresaw the talent, ambition, and drive in his daughter; a gifted teacher herself, Mitchell endowed her students with information about great scientists, mathematics, and faraway places. Textured collage art brings the text to life. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An inspiring account of a notable early role model who pursued a STEM career despite sexism. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0348-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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