Maria longs to be an astronomer -- wish that burns as brightly as a star. But girls in the nineteenth century don't grow up to be scientists, especially those who are needed at home. Each night when her papa sweeps the sky with his telescope, Maria sweeps the floor below, imagining all the strange worlds he can travel to from the rooftop of their Nantucket home. Then one night Maria finally gets her chance to look through her papa's telescope. For the first time, she beholds the night sky stretching endlessly above her, and her dream of exploring the comets and constellations seems close enough to touch. Loosely based on the childhood of Maria (pronounced ma-RYE-ah) Mitchell, America's first woman astronomer, and illuminated by Deborah Lanino's star-swept illustrations, here is an exquisitely told story of a girl who yearns for adventure beyond her limited circumstances, and sets out to follow her heart.
Deborah Hopkinson is the author of numerous award-winning children's books, including Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, winner of the International Reading Association Award, Girl Wonder, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award, and Apples to Oregon, a Junior Library Guild Selection. She received the 2003 Washington State Book Award for Under the Quilt for the Night. She lives in Oregon. Visit her on the Web at www.deborahhopkinson.com.