A gorgeously written novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.
Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.
More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.
Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.
Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us.
Jeannine Atkins is the author of several books for young readers about courageous women, including Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math, Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis, and Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters. Jeannine teaches writing for children and young adults at Simmons University. She lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at JeannineAtkins.com.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 20, 2016)
Length: 208 pages
Grades: 5 and up
Ages: 10 - 99
Lexile ® 970L
The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
* “Vividly imagines the lives of three girls who grew up to become famous for their achievements in science. . . . Atkins has a knack for turning a phrase. . . . Science is woven through the narratives, but within the fabric of the characters’ daily lives and family struggles. . . . each of these three perceptive portrayals is original and memorable.”
– Booklist, starred review
“Evocative and beautiful. Highly recommended for fans of poetry about the natural world and the lives of real people.”
– School Library Journal
* “Distinguished for both content and elegance. . . . Readers are lured in by strong openings and vivid storytelling. . . . With each chaptered poem a gem in its own right, this collection will appeal to poetry lovers as well as awakening scientists.”
– BCCB, starred review
“Atkins guides readers through the themes that connect the women’s scientific quests, from a boundary-pushing desire for knowledge . . . to the satisfaction they find in their work.”
– Horn Book
“Inspirational and informative, Atkins shows how pursuing one’s passion for science, math, or any field considered nontraditional is worth the risk.”
– Kirkus Reviews
Awards and Honors
CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)