Movies, plays, and books about pioneering women in STEM are now receiving main stream attention. Take, for example, Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson, and Dorthy Vaghan who stole the show in the film, Hidden Figures. Recently our local theater featured the play Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson based on the life of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. It is an exciting trend.
In the same vein, today we’re highlighting the new children’s book, Always Looking Up: Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Louise Pigott and Alex Oxton.
Known affectionately as the mother of the Hubble Telescope, Nancy Grace Roman was passionate about studying space from an early age. However, she had problems with her vision and and gender stereotypes got in the way of her goal. She learned how to work hard and be persistent to overcome the obstacles, then used those skills to drive the Hubble telescope project to success.
Author Laura Gehl has the science background — with a PhD in Neuroscience — but she also totally understands young readers. The text is lively and includes the right amount of detail. For example, when the Hubble Telescope began sending back data from space, expectations were high.
“But the first images were blurry. And hopes plummeted like a falling meteorite.”
She uses a space-related term to playfully invoke the emotions of the scientists during this crisis.
Louise Pigott and Alex Oxton express Nancy Grace’s passion for space with imaginative illustrations, particularly the deep blue and black panoramas of the night skies. The art also evokes the loneliness and isolation she must have felt at times.
The back matter is also well done. It includes an “Author’s Note” and an extensive “Timeline” of Nancy Grace Roman’s life from 1925 to her death in 2018 at 93 years old.
Always Looking Up is sure to inspire budding astronomers and historians alike. Investigate a copy today!
- Download the free Curriculum Guide full of STEAM activities at Laura Gehl’s website.
- Look for video interviews with Nancy Grace Roman like this one:
– Explore Hubble Telescope Images at NASA
For even more about pioneering women, see our growing lists of children’s book biographies:
Age Range: 5 – 7 years
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company; None edition (October 1, 2019)
Disclosure: The book was provided by Blue Slip Media for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.