Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson

Sandra Nickel, illus. by Helena Perez Garcia. Abrams, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4956-8
Joanne Simpson (1923–2010), the first woman to receive a doctorate in meteorology, is the subject of this profile. Enlivening simply relayed cloud facts (“Just like people, cumulus clouds are born, grow, and die. But unlike people, they exist for no longer than two hours”), Nickel threads the well-paced tale with myriad weather-related metaphors, as Simpson faces first her mother’s neglect and abuse, and later derision from men in academia. Perez Garcia’s bold strokes of vibrant gouache create dimensional compositions and occasional surreal evocations of Simpson’s life: when “the men at the university” laugh at her plans, white clouds swath Simpson’s face, as her sanguine dress pops, aptly representing her resolve. An energetic, compassionate examination of a determined researcher who left her mark on the field of atmospheric sciences. Back matter includes an author’s note, b&w photographs, and a timeline of Simpson’s life. Ages 6–9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/16/2021
Release date: 03/01/2022
Genre: Children's
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