We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
What Miss Mitchell Saw
Written by Hayley Barrett
Illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Published by Beach Lane Books (2019)
I don’t remember seeing this book when this came out in September. I found it while browsing through the nonfiction picture book display in the Children’s Department of our library. I like the color and design of the cover so I decided to take it home with me yesterday.
“The more we see, the more we are capable of seeing.”– Maria Mitchell
What Miss Mitchell Saw tells the story of Maria (pronounced as “Ma-rye-ah”) Mitchell, an American astronomer, educator, and activist. Born in the island of Nantucket, Maria came to know her hometown very well. She knew the ships and the shopkeepers by name. With the help of her father, Maria learned how to use a telescope.
Maria found herself captivated by the beauty of the night sky. It became a routine for Maria to “sweep the sky.” She knew everything by name – the stars, the planets, and celestial phenomena. Years later, Maria spent hours studying advanced mathematics and celestial navigation. In 1847, at the age of twenty-nine, Maria discovered a comet, which was later given the name “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” Although not the first woman to discover a comet, she wast the first American astronomer to win the Danish Gold Medal for her discovery.
“Not in vain do we watch the setting and the rising of the stars.”– Motto inscribed on the Danish Gold Medal
While I enjoyed reading the text and admired the illustrations in the book, I felt detached from the whole story of Maria Mitchell. It was a bit underwhelming for me. Nevertheless, I think What Miss Mitchell Saw is a great nonfiction picture book for children to read, and it certainly tells an inspiring story about a female trailblazer.