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32pp, color

9in x 11in
Juvenile Nonfiction: Biography

March 2023







Age Range:



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"As a child, Maria Mitchell accompanied her father to their home’s rooftop observatory, where they could view the night sky through a telescope. Born in 1818, she became fascinated by solar eclipses and adept at using and repairing the tools necessary for making astronomical measurements. Once, when her father was away, a whaling ship’s captain relied on 13-year-old Maria to repair his marine chronometer, a vital tool for navigation, and she succeeded. In 1847, Mitchell became the first American ever to discover a comet. Two years later, she was employed as an astronomer. Later, she taught astronomy at Vassar College and encouraged many of her students to pursue careers in the field. Wallmark’s earlier picture books on women’s contributions to STEM fields include Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (2015) and Hedy Lamarr's Double Life (2019). Wong’s appealing illustrations are orderly in composition and subtle in their use of color. An interesting addition to the current book’s back matter is a brief section listing Mitchell’s “Rules of Astronomical Observations.” A pleasing, informative introduction to Maria Mitchell."

— Booklist

"Synopsis: Now famous as "the lady astronomer", Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 - June 28, 1889) became a professional astronomer, an unheard of achievement for a woman in the 19th century. She was the first woman to get any kind of government job when she was hired by the United States Naval Observatory. Then as the first woman astronomy professor in the world, Maria used her position at Vassar College to teach young women to set their sights on the sky, training new generations of female astronomers. Her story inspires all of young girls (and boys!) to reach for the stars.

 Critique: With the publication of "Her Eyes on the Stars: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer" by biographer and storyteller Laurie Wallmark and artist/illustrator Liz Wong, young readers are treated to the picture book biography of a young girl who spent hours studying the stars. Discovering a comet as a young woman, Maria won an award from the King of Denmark for being the first person to discover a new comet using a telescope. "Her Eyes on the Stars: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer" is specially recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library picture book biography collections for children ages 8-12."

— Midwest Book Review

Her Eyes on the Stars:

Maria Mitchell, Astronomer

By Laurie Wallmark

Illustrated by Liz Wong

NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book

In the mid 19th century, Maria Mitchell was not only among the first women to discover a comet, she was the first American to do so.

Maria became a professional astronomer, a first for an American woman. She went on to teach a generation of young women at Vassar College how to set their sights high. Mitchell's passion for the stars shines in Laurie Wallmark's dynamic text and Liz Wong's glowing art.

"Exactly the sort of story Mitchell deserves — inspiring, full of charm, and a rich window into astronomy's past"

— Asa Stahl, astrophysicist and award-winning author of The Big Bang Book

"Captivated by the movements of the planets, comets, and stars from an early age, young Maria Mitchell would spend her nights atop the roof with her father learning how to use sky charts and the astronomical tools of the time. After viewing a partial eclipse, Mitchell’s childhood stargazing blossomed into her life’s passion. At 18, Mitchell became a librarian, one of the few professions available to women, and spent years teaching herself the complex mechanics of the sky’s movements. With this hard-fought expertise, she became the first American to discover a comet in 1847; this led to her becoming the first female professional astronomer and later, the first female professor of astronomy in the world. Wallmark charts this ascent with a colorful narrative that would certainly complement classroom curricula focused on STEM discoveries and trailblazing women in science. Wong’s illustrations are rich with 19th-century details ...this is a good addition to the field of STEM biographies."

— School Library Journal

"The inspirational story of the first female professional astronomer in the United States.

This engaging account focuses on 19th-century scientist Maria Mitchell’s passion for astronomy, her determination, and her achievements, among them her prizewinning telescopic comet discovery; her work on the Nautical Almanac, essential for navigation; and (after years as a librarian, self-educated in mathematics) her eventual position at Vassar College, where she taught women for more than 20 years—the world’s first female astronomy professor. The concise, clear text provides comprehensible explanations of her successes, though it does leave out some details, such as her family background, her unusual education, her founding of a girls school, and her involvement in the abolitionist movement. The annular eclipse that Maria regrets missing in 1831 at age 12 forms one bookend, deftly recalled near the end, when, missing another in 1885, she observes not a ring of fire but “another powerful ring—a ring of women”: her diligent students. The fine-line illustrations are equally spare but add just-right details, like a maritime chronometer and the book-lined Nantucket Atheneum, where some people of color can be seen. The astronomer’s hard work, delight at confirming her comet discovery, and pleasure in teaching are apparent in her facial expressions and body language. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will guarantee this trailblazing scientist her place among the stars. (Maria’s rules of astronomical observation, glossary, types of solar eclipses, timeline, selected bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 6-9)"

— School Library Journal

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