Lasky, Kathryn

She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer

(3) K-3 Illustrated by Julianna Swaney. Born in Scotland in 1857, Fleming faced many obstacles in her life but a curious mind kept her focused on "decod[ing]...the secrets of the universe." After moving to Boston with her new husband (who then disappeared), she worked as a maid for the Harvard College Observatory's director. Eventually, she became one of the observatory's "human computers"--women whose work "laid the groundwork for twentieth-century astronomy." Lasky includes context for the women's accomplishments: they had to use data collected by male astronomers because women were considered too fragile to use the telescope. Astronomical concepts might challenge some, but overall, the text is accessible. Swaney's inviting mixed-media illustrations capture Fleming's tenacious spirit. A short timeline, glossary, and bibliography are appended.


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