|She caught the light : Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer|
Author: Lasky, Kathryn
This is the inspiring true story of Williamina Stevens Fleming and her lifelong work to decode the secret language of starlight as well as help map out parts of outer space.
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/20)
School Library Journal (12/01/20)
Booklist (+) (12/01/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 12/01/2020 Gr 1–3—This picture book biography chronicles the career of Williamina Stevens Fleming (1857–1911), who was a white Scottish scientist. Her groundbreaking work, which classified the spectra of stars recorded on the telescope of the Harvard College Observatory, was a major contribution to the science of astronomy. The text emphasizes Fleming's early signs of curiosity, her frequent questioning, and her ultimate fascination with the stars. Readers follow her growth and development from her marriage, the disappearance of her husband, and her work as a maid. Her job as a maid for Professor Pickering and his wife Elizabeth led to her career in astronomy. Pickering, who was the director of the Harvard College Observatory for studying stars, and his wife recognized Fleming's intelligence and gave her a chance to replace one of the professor's male assistants, who was making mistakes in his mathematical calculations. As one of several women hired by the observatory as "human computers," Fleming classified the spectra of stars as recorded by the observatory's telescope. She also discovered a "stellar nursery," a place where stars are born, within the Orion constellation. When Fleming was appointed curator of astronomical photographs in 1898, she became the first woman to receive an official title at Harvard. Includes an author's note, a time line, and a bibliography. VERDICT A compelling story and a fine addition to STEM studies.—Myra Zarnowski, City Univ. of New York - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 12/01/2020 *Starred Review* In this account of resilience and academic passion, astronomer Williamina Stevens Fleming steps out of the scientific shadows as she becomes the first woman with an official title at Harvard University. Lasky tracks Fleming’s progress from little Scottish “Mina,” eager to understand the science behind early photography, to her immigration to the U.S. and eventual work in spectrometry, and it’s a remarkable journey. After the disappearance of her husband, a pregnant Fleming found housekeeping work in the home of Harvard College Observatory’s director, where she impressed him and his wife with constant questions and obvious intelligence, leading to her becoming an indispensable academic assistant and expert in spectrometry. At a time when women weren’t even allowed to use a telescope (they might catch cold in the drafty observatory!), Fleming carved out a place in the male-dominated environment, was appointed curator of astronomical photographs, and advocated for other women in science in the nineteenth century. The terrific text is educational as well, combining compelling story with tidbits of scientific information. Swaney's soft, striking digital illustrations are a mix of watercolors, gouache, and colored pencils, sweetly detailing Fleming’s story and the wonders of the night sky. Back matter includes a time line, glossary, bibliography, and meaningful author’s note. An inspiring introduction to an overlooked and incredibly important life. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.