What is this book about?
Maria longs to be an astronomer and imagines all the strange worlds she can travel to by looking though her papa’s telescope. One night Maria gets her chance to look through the telescope. For the first time, she sees the night sky stretching endlessly above her, and her dream of exploring constellations seems close enough to touch.
In this story, inspired by the life of Maria Mitchell, America’s first woman astronomer, “viewers will find the cobalt-blue nights, lit with constellations that make imaginary (and actual) pictures in the sky, every bit as attractive as Maria does.
“The author plants the seeds for Maria’s later accomplishments (the first professor of astronomy at Vassar; a co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Women) in the first-person narrative: “Each constellation is a patchwork of stories/ passed down from the beginning of time.” Lanino (The Littlest Angel) augments this powerful image with an equally potent rendering of Maria’s rooftop communion with the stars, her eyes wide as the celestial configurations illuminate the sky. The artist closes the distance between earth and stars with the warmth and softness that permeate each illustration. This lilting story, combined with closing notes on both Mitchell and astronomy, will likely ignite further interest in its passionate protagonist.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The well-structured story is fanciful and rich in poetic imagery that will work well for reading aloud. The construct of childhood dreams leading to adult achievement is appealing, as is the portrait of a strong, likable girl knowing her own mind. Children will find the homey detail of supportive family satisfying. The concluding author’s note highlights the subject’s later accomplishments and explains several astronomical terms used in the narrative. (School Library Journal)
author, Deborah Hopkinson
illustrator, Deborah Lanino
Anne Schwartz Books
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Simon & Schuster
ages 4 and up, 1999