Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Scienceby Published 20 Sep 2016
|Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science.pdf|
|Publisher||Atheneum Books for Young Readers|
Three biographies in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.
Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.
More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.
Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.
"Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science" Reviews
A delightful little book that brings the stories of three girls who changed science to life. I wasn't blown away by this, but am definitely glad I read it and learnt about what these brave girls did.
Told in prose, this is an important middle-grade read about three young ladies who defied what others told them they had to do and committed their lives to science and discovery. Based around three very real women, we are told about how Maria Merian refused to believe the lies about moths and discover where they really came from, combining her love for art in the process. We see how Mary Anning worked relentlessly despite her family's hardships to uncover fossils of some never before seen prehistoric beings. We watch as Maria Mitchell takes her love for the night sky and excels through life and never stops seeking answers.
This is important for young readers because the lack of women in science, despite how important they have been through history. As STEM programs grow, so should the women's roles in scientific discoveries.
I also loved how this combined art and science, showing that you don't have to give up one for the other.
Ack, no, it's not a "novel in verse." It's three short non-fiction biographies, each told in a series of narrative poems.
It's very good. The poems are poetry: they're not chunks of text broken up into lines as many of the books that claim to be novels in verse are. Rather, they have a lovely cadence, and resonant metaphors, and they do things like draw a parallel between what the girl is struggling with and what her subject of study experiences.
I have read other works about Merian and Anning and found these bios to be sufficiently inclusive of the important information about their lives, but of course a lot was left out. I admit I'd never heard of Mitchell, but I similarly felt sufficiently satisfied by the story of her family influences etc.
Actually, I'm going to edit the world novel out of the book description....
Oh, and recommend this book to educators, families, and independent readers.
This was a very cool and interesting book about ladies in science! I liked the prose form and what I learned. Very interesting!
Finding Wonders is a beautifully and creatively written middle grade story exploring the lives of 3 girls who are curious, love questions and the world around them, and are persistent in pursuing their love of science and scientific inquiries. Each makes important scientific contributions, and I loved reading about them and the context of their lives. I’m not sure middle grade students will read slowly enough to appreciate the beautiful prose and nuance/subtlety of language.
The author ensures that the girls exhibit some modern feminist thoughts that struck me as the author’s agenda rather than something girls in that era would usually think. However, these thoughts might provoke good conversation. For example: “But she hates embroidery, its worth measured by the smallness of stitches. A needlewoman trains her eyes to stay cast down while hiding knots and boredom, committing herself to the circumference of a lap.”
An interesting extension read for adults might be The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe ..... which is a fictionalized biography of the first African American woman (passing as white) to attend Vassar (same college where Maria Mitchell in Finding Wonders was a professor).
Finding Wonders is an interesting, creative, and worthwhile read. It makes me eager to read all the untold stories!
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