Look Up!: Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer

( 1 )

Overview

Henrietta Levitt was the first person to discover the scientific importance of a star’s brightness—so why has no one heard of her? Learn all about a female pioneer of astronomy in this picture book biography.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born on July 4, 1868, and she changed the course of astronomy when she was just twenty-five years old. Henrietta spent years measuring star positions and sizes from photographs taken by the telescope at the Harvard College Observatory, where she ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$13.41
BN.com price
(Save 21%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (20) from $2.98   
  • New (15) from $2.99   
  • Used (5) from $2.98   

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (NOOK Kids Read to Me - No Edition)
$12.99
BN.com price
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.

Overview

Henrietta Levitt was the first person to discover the scientific importance of a star’s brightness—so why has no one heard of her? Learn all about a female pioneer of astronomy in this picture book biography.

Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born on July 4, 1868, and she changed the course of astronomy when she was just twenty-five years old. Henrietta spent years measuring star positions and sizes from photographs taken by the telescope at the Harvard College Observatory, where she worked. After Henrietta observed that certain stars had a fixed pattern to their changes, her discovery made it possible for astronomers to measure greater and greater distances—leading to our present understanding of the vast size of the universe.

An astronomer of her time called Henrietta Leavitt “one of the most important women ever to touch astronomy,” and another close associate said she had the “best mind at the Harvard Observatory.” Henrietta Leaveitt's story will inspire young women and aspiring scientists of all kinds and includes additional information about the solar system and astronomy.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Pamela Paul
Good picture books about women and science are as welcome as women who work in the sciences: what better way to motivate observant little girls with scientific leanings?…Colón's artwork is dreamily atmospheric, full of wide-open spaces that evoke the vastness of the universe and intimate portraits that suggest the inner workings of the scientific mind.
Publishers Weekly
Burleigh (George Bellows: Painter with a Punch!) investigates a woman astronomer who made a significant discovery in the 1900s when most women in her field “were human ‘computers.’ Their job was to record. And measure. And calculate. The women were expected to ‘work, not think.’” Henrietta Leavitt didn’t comply. Working at the Harvard College Observatory, she closely observed photographs of stars and uncovered a way to measure their true brightness, paving the way for others to measure even greater distances to the stars. Burleigh’s narrative is simultaneously succinct, descriptive, and appealing: “When she closed her eyes, she could still see the star dots, dancing across the inside of her eyelids.” Working in his familiar warm, glowing style, Colón (Annie and Helen) uses colored pencils and watercolors to create feathery-textured illustrations. Some images of Leavitt at work are rendered in muted beiges and greens, which make the night sky scenes shine all the brighter with their vivid royal blues and brilliant points of white light. An afterword about Leavitt and her discovery, glossary, bibliography, and other resources round out this attractive picture-book biography. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Burleigh (George Bellows: Painter with a Punch!) investigates a woman astronomer who made a significant discovery in the 1900s when most women in her field “were human ‘computers.’ Their job was to record. And measure. And calculate. The women were expected to ‘work, not think.’ ” Henrietta Leavitt didn’t comply. Working at the Harvard College Observatory, she closely observed photographs of stars and uncovered a way to measure their true brightness, paving the way for others to measure even greater distances to the stars. Burleigh’s narrative is simultaneously succinct, descriptive, and appealing: “When she closed her eyes, she could still see the star dots, dancing across the inside of her eyelids.” Working in his familiar warm, glowing style, Colón (Annie and Helen) uses colored pencils and watercolors to create feathery-textured illustrations. Some images of Leavitt at work are rendered in muted beiges and greens, which make the night sky scenes shine all the brighter with their vivid royal blues and brilliant points of white light. An afterword about Leavitt and her discovery, glossary, bibliography, and other resources round out this attractive picture-book biography. Ages 4–8.

Burleigh introduces Henrietta Leavitt, a nineteenth-century woman determined to study astronomy at a time when “almost all astronomy teachers and students were men.” Although she graduated from college and secured a job in an observatory, Leavitt was confined to working with a group of other women doing calculations of star positions in photographs taken by male colleagues. Careful observations, however, led Leavitt to discover minute changes in the apparent brightness of certain stars over time, which in turn led to methods of determining how far a star is from Earth. This is a useful overview of a lesser-known scientific contributor, and Burleigh as usual writes with smooth clarity. ... A collection of end matter includes quotes about the stars, brief notes about Leavitt’s life and discoveries and about other early female astronomers, a glossary, and a compact list of websites and titles for more exploration.

When Henrietta Leavitt graduated from Radcliffe College in 1892, women were not seen as potential

scientists. Still, she accepted a rather tedious job measuring the positions and sizes of stars in images

photographed using the Harvard College Observatory telescope. Besides measuring and note-taking, she

analyzed the records on certain stars that appeared to blink on and off. Her discovery that the time between

blinks indicated both the star’s brightness and its distance from Earth led to the realization that the

universe was much larger than previously thought. Focusing on the life of the mind, the text is

contemplative and the illustrations are understated. In childhood, Leavitt is shown gazing at the night sky;

as an adult, her most active endeavor is a sedate walk. Still, the writing celebrates her achievement, and the

lovely artwork, set outdoors at night or indoors by day, includes yellow, tan, and white elements that are

luminous within the dimly lit scenes. A worthy picture book with informative back matter that will help

children understand Leavitt’s challenging times as well as her achievement.

Booklist
When Henrietta Leavitt graduated from Radcliffe College in 1892, women were not seen as potential
scientists. Still, she accepted a rather tedious job measuring the positions and sizes of stars in images
photographed using the Harvard College Observatory telescope. Besides measuring and note-taking, she
analyzed the records on certain stars that appeared to blink on and off. Her discovery that the time between
blinks indicated both the star’s brightness and its distance from Earth led to the realization that the
universe was much larger than previously thought. Focusing on the life of the mind, the text is
contemplative and the illustrations are understated. In childhood, Leavitt is shown gazing at the night sky;
as an adult, her most active endeavor is a sedate walk. Still, the writing celebrates her achievement, and the
lovely artwork, set outdoors at night or indoors by day, includes yellow, tan, and white elements that are
luminous within the dimly lit scenes. A worthy picture book with informative back matter that will help
children understand Leavitt’s challenging times as well as her achievement.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Burleigh introduces Henrietta Leavitt, a nineteenth-century woman determined to study astronomy at a time when “almost all astronomy teachers and students were men.” Although she graduated from college and secured a job in an observatory, Leavitt was confined to working with a group of other women doing calculations of star positions in photographs taken by male colleagues. Careful observations, however, led Leavitt to discover minute changes in the apparent brightness of certain stars over time, which in turn led to methods of determining how far a star is from Earth. This is a useful overview of a lesser-known scientific contributor, and Burleigh as usual writes with smooth clarity. ... A collection of end matter includes quotes about the stars, brief notes about Leavitt’s life and discoveries and about other early female astronomers, a glossary, and a compact list of websites and titles for more exploration.
Booklist
When Henrietta Leavitt graduated from Radcliffe College in 1892, women were not seen as potential

scientists. Still, she accepted a rather tedious job measuring the positions and sizes of stars in images

photographed using the Harvard College Observatory telescope. Besides measuring and note-taking, she

analyzed the records on certain stars that appeared to blink on and off. Her discovery that the time between

blinks indicated both the star’s brightness and its distance from Earth led to the realization that the

universe was much larger than previously thought. Focusing on the life of the mind, the text is

contemplative and the illustrations are understated. In childhood, Leavitt is shown gazing at the night sky;

as an adult, her most active endeavor is a sedate walk. Still, the writing celebrates her achievement, and the

lovely artwork, set outdoors at night or indoors by day, includes yellow, tan, and white elements that are

luminous within the dimly lit scenes. A worthy picture book with informative back matter that will help

children understand Leavitt’s challenging times as well as her achievement.

Kirkus Reviews
Burleigh weaves imagination and information to sketch the life of a female scientist and illuminate her achievements. Henrietta Swan Leavitt, born in 1868, was a graduate of Oberlin and of the school that would become Radcliffe. Her interest in astronomy led her to work for many years in the Harvard Observatory. Although women were prevented from taking part in many facets of academic exploration, Leavitt made a major discovery within the parameters of her assigned work. Though little is known of his subject's life, Burleigh posits an early interest in the stars that may help to engage young listeners. The conversational text moves quickly, taking readers from dreamy child to dedicated researcher. Sophisticated vocabulary and complex concepts, as well as the variety of supplementary information Burleigh provides, from quotations about the stars to brief information about other female astronomers, suggest that this would be most useful as supplemental material in a science curriculum. Colón's watercolor, pen and pencil illustrations extend the text as, for example, when the sideways glances of Leavitt's college peers effectively convey just how unusual her interests and accomplishments were for the time. They also capture the fascination and beauty of starlight, seeming almost to twinkle at times. The current educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (aka STEM) will likely increase interest in biographies about women's achievements in these fields. An artful and inspiring effort. (quotations, afterword, author's note, glossary, Internet resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416958192
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 582,323
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; and Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan.

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2014

    This book is a children's biography of Henrietta Leavitt, who wo

    This book is a children's biography of Henrietta Leavitt, who worked at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. She made an important astronomical discovery that allows us to accurately calculate the distance to a certain type of star that varies in brightness in a regular way, wherever it may be.

    Henrietta Leavitt is one of my favourite astronomers so I was delighted to discover this book existed. However, on reading the book, I found it characterised by sloppiness and lack of attention to detail.

    The explanation of Leavitt's work is sufficiently unclear that it will only be undestood by those who already know what she did. The explanation is simplified to the point where it is wrong. Children are unlikely to understand Leavitt's work.

    The assertions that adult Leavitt enjoyed reading the biographies of famous astronomers and that she liked "to repeat to herself her favourite 'sky-words': asteroid, cosmic dust and eclipse' are odd. No mention of these habits is made in other biographies and information about Leavitt's personal life is sparse. Whilst the former habit is plausible, the latter is peculiar and I was left wondering whether this is a little-known fact or an invention of the author.

    The page devoted to Leavitt's education is misleading. The illustration depicts Leavitt the lone female in class of men. Zeal to explain the difficulties that women in general encountered in getting an education and pursuing careers in astronomy masks the fact that Leavitt graduated from an all female college.

    The illustrations condemn the mediocre text. They are characteristed by lack of fidelity to the science they are trying to depict. The picture of the telescope at the Harvard Observatory seems to be suspended from the wall by means of a single metal bar, not attached to the floor by a complex steering mechanism as it should be. On the page that describes Leavitt looking at the Big Dipper, the stars in the picture are not the Big Dipper. Why not? The double page spread inserted part way through the story with the portaits of Copernicus and Galileo and sketches of various galaxies and planets is entirely superfluous and intrudes on the story like an ad break.

    I intended to buy this book for many of the young children in my family to introduce them to Leavitt. However, the book is so poor I will not be giving it to any of them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)