cover image What Miss Mitchell Saw

What Miss Mitchell Saw

Hayley Barrett, illus. by Diana Sudyka. Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8759-7

A bright-eyed baby peers up from a star-studded swaddle; the baby will become one of history’s most famous female astronomers, Maria Mitchell. Born in 1818 to a family of Nantucket Quakers, Mitchell earned international renown for discovering a comet in 1847, winning the King of Denmark’s gold medal and besting male claimants to the prize. Barrett focuses on Mitchell’s life up to that moment, emphasizing her persistence (“Schoolwork did not always come easy, but she studied with determination”) and her environment (“celestial phenomena that arched overhead like a whale’s sparkling splash”). Sudyka’s watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations show stars gleaming from the ocean depths and inching up a woman’s hem; Mitchell herself is swept aloft by their beauty and power. Notes on the subject’s path-breaking career close the book. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)