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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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

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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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.


From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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