Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt Pioneering Woman Astronomerby Robert Burleigh (Author), Raul Colon (Illustrator)
When there is a will..
Little Henrietta Leavitt loved to gaze up at the stars. Night after night, she would sit on her porch and wonder “How high is the sky?” Its vastness, its wonderful bigness fascinated her. She wanted to know everything about the sky.
So when she grew up, she decided to study Astronomy. Most of her classmates and teachers were male. But this didn’t bother Henrietta. She wanted to follow what she loved.
After Henrietta graduated, she found a job working in an observatory. The observatory was the place where people came to study stars. But Henrietta’s job was to work alongside other women in a small room for long hours recording and measuring and calculating. Their job was to work, not think. But Henrietta had other ideas.
Each day, after her regular work, Henrietta peered through her magnifying glass at the tiny star dots on the photographs taken. What did she see? What were the stars saying?
Henrietta quickly learned new words, read about great astronomers such as Galileo and Copernicus. She looked at the stars for many long hours. She could still see them when she closed her eyes!
Day after day after day she looked and looked and looked. Until slowly she started to see something different between those tiny star dots. She found that some very bright stars blinked more slowly than the less bright stars! What could this mean? So she started making a careful chart. Patiently she kept working, checking and observing until she was sure that she had found a pattern!
And when she laid out her ideas and theories to the head astronomer, he was amazed! “Yes, I am an astronomer!” she thought to herself. It was indeed a breakthrough!
This is the amazing true story of the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt. In the age where women were expected to “work, not think” Henrietta in her quite confident manner, found a way to work as an astronomer would. Her breakthrough lead to some spectacular discoveries such as measuring distances beyond our Milky Way galaxy!
Through soft, warm and glowing illustrations, the author/ illustrator duo does an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the sky as well as gentle character of Henrietta. This lovely picture book is a great read for any girl or boy who feels challenged or limited in what they seek out to do.
This is an excellent picture book biography for inspiring young minds!