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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1150L (What's this?)
  • Series: Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
  • Paperback: 137 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802852645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802852649
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9?With a smoothly flowing and lively style, this biography introduces readers to the 19th-century astronomer. Well-chosen, primary-source quotations and quality black-and-white photos add authenticity to the text, and contribute greatly to the author's objective and comprehensive description of Mitchell's accomplishments. This is not a straightforward chronological biography. The first chapter sets the stage, describing Mitchell's native Nantucket; comments about her as a adult; and fills in facts about her childhood. Gormley then goes on to describe her subject's later life and career. A 16-page centerfold features black-and-white photos of Mitchell, her friends, family, and colleagues. Students who are researching women scientists, 19th-century astronomers, or the education and enlightenment of women will find this biography helpful.?Phyllis Graves, Creekwood Middle School, Kingwood, TX
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 8^-12. This fine biography details the life of America's first female astronomer, who was born in 1818 on Nantucket. Gormley explores Mitchell's early years, her struggles with the Quaker doctrines with which she grew up, her discovery of the comet that was named after her, and her careers as a librarian and astronomy instructor. Known for her honesty as well as her nonconformity, Mitchell comes across here as a great seeker who truly loved God and sang his praises. She did not regard the Christian faith as an unwavering walk to a glorious home in heaven but as a sometimes painful journey to personal authenticity. Her story is an important contribution to women's history and offers encouragement to young women considering astronomy as a career. Shelley Townsend-Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

I decided when I was 9 that I'd grow up to be a writer. It only took me 30 years to achieve my dream! My daughters gave me my first good idea: "Write a story about a girl who can fly." I followed their advice, and MAIL-ORDER WINGS became my first book.
Since then, I've written many fiction and nonfiction books about things that interest me: dinosaurs, friends, magic wishes, presidents, time travel, ancient Rome, volcanoes, aliens, and people who follow their dreams.
Writing is hard work, but I get a lot of support. My daughters and my husband still encourage me and inspire me. My dog nudges me out into the fresh air to take walks. And my two cats sit on my desk while I write, editing by stepping on the computer keys.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David C. Jones on November 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Maria Mitchell: The Soul of an Astronomer" is a must read biography for all Middle Schoolers. Maria Mitchell herself is probably one of the least known, of all the important people of the 19th century. Hopefully, that's going to change with several biographies (including this one) recently released, and a documentary film in the works. Taught by her father, she was more than just the first professional woman astronomer in the United States. She was the first woman AND American to be awarded the gold medal, for discovering a telescopic comet, from the King of Denmark; the first woman allowed into the Vatican Observatory, and the first woman AND person to be a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"Maria Mitchell: The Soul of an Astronomer" takes you through her life beginning as a young girl growing up on Nantucket, assisting her father with the computations of ship chronometers for the local sailers, to her worldwide fame after her comet discovery in 1847, to her leadership as the first woman Professor of Astronomy (at Vassar College). This biography is targeted at 6th through 8th graders but is a great read for adults as well. Thoroughly researched, the book includes many photos of all the key people and places involved in her life and includes all the sources used.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Patrick Killough VINE VOICE on June 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Go to Nantucket Island, as I did earlier this month as a tourist, and ask the enthusiastic staff at the Visitor's Center for material on local heroine, astronomer Maria (pron. mah-RYE-ah) Mitchell (1818 - 1889). And you will be sent off well briefed to the library where she worked, to the homes where she lived and be introduced to an ever growing bibliography about America's first professional woman astronomer.

Astronomy displays two kinds of practitioners, people like Tycho Brahe who look and look and record and record, and the Keplers, Galileos, Newtons and others who also spin explanatory theories of what makes the heavenly bodies of the universe behave as they do. Maria Mitchell was definitely a Brahe, not a Newton. She discovered a comet in 1847 and won a major prize for it. But she was also a competent mathematician and knew and grew with all the evolving theories of astronomy. And all these things plus observational skills she taught from 1865 onward to young women as the first professor of astronomy and mathematics at brand new Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Maria Mitchell was born Quaker and lived and died a skeptical Unitarian. She was an outspoken supporter of women's rights to education, to practice professions and to be politically active. She was in her day as important in the women's movement as her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whom her girls at Vassar met of an evening at Maria's sitting room at the foot of the college telescope.

Maria Mitchell loved astronomy, scoffed at "star gazing." If a belief was popular, she said, it could not be scientific. Reason and logic were her bedrock values. In this she resembled the later Russian-American writer Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982).
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By Lindy on October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maria Mitchell is one of those amazing characters in American history that very few people have ever heard of. Her story is fascinating, not just because Mitchell was such an unusual, pivotal figure at the dawn of American science and American higher education for women, but because her life tells us so much about what our country - in terms of social values and practices, prejudices, and changing expectations - was like in the mid- to late-19th century. While there is a longer, more comprehensive, more scholarly biography of Maria Mitchell (by Renee Bergland) available, this book is relatively short, easy and enjoyable to read, and is suitable for youngish readers as well as adults.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jarik25 on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great biography! For anyone really not just young adults which I think that is how it is listed. The two books I have read in astronomy biographies all have one thing in common. Which is: William Herschel. "Whose the greatest man who ever lived?" And their kids all will reply: William Herschel. I enjoyed the biography on Caroline Herschel very much it is called: The Georgian Star which I have read about two years ago. This book tells about Maria Mitchell meeting their beloved Herschels. Her birth,family, religion, her shunning, her views, her gold medal for finding Comet 1874 VI(I think that's the number) a.k.a-Comet Mitchell, her interest in Double Stars, her trip to Europe, and life at Vassar College for women, and then her death. This book is a great reminder of what it takes to be an astronomer endurance, hard work, perseverance, loneliness, stubbornness, and determination plus a lot of computer knowledge...okay, maybe they didn't have that back then. But in today's world, computers are computers, add astronomy to the mix, and it is an entire new universe out there.
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