Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

Maria’s Comet

Maria's Comet

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)

Maria's Comet

author, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son
illus­tra­tor, Deb­o­rah Lani­no
Anne Schwartz Books
Atheneum Books for Young Read­ers
Simon & Schus­ter
ages 4 and up, 1999
ISBN 978–0689815010

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