The Sky's the Limit: Stories of Discovery by Women and Girls

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They study the night sky, watch chimpanzees in the wild, search the beach for rare fossils, and wander into dark caves. And as they explore, they become discoverers. Young and old, they are women and girls who discover the origins of counting and writing, Stone Age cave art, mysterious matter in the universe, and how a puddle of water can be sanitized when heated by the sun. Here is a tribute to the findings and revelations of these remarkable women and girls. Here are discoveries that open our eyes to what they ...
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Overview

They study the night sky, watch chimpanzees in the wild, search the beach for rare fossils, and wander into dark caves. And as they explore, they become discoverers. Young and old, they are women and girls who discover the origins of counting and writing, Stone Age cave art, mysterious matter in the universe, and how a puddle of water can be sanitized when heated by the sun. Here is a tribute to the findings and revelations of these remarkable women and girls. Here are discoveries that open our eyes to what they can accomplish, and to the astonishing world in which we live.

Presents brief accounts of the work of a variety of women scientists in such fields as astronomy, biology, anthropology, and medicine.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathleen Odean
This unusually attractive informational book melds well-written text and jazzy collage illustrations. The topics include the Mars rover, the creation of Sojourner, and Mary Leakey's discovery of a hominid skull nearly two million years old. The book closes with advice on inventing and includes useful Web sites, a list of further reading and a timeline of women's discoveries.
Publishers Weekly
The team behind Girls Think of Everything again pairs up for The Sky's the Limit: Stories of Discovery by Women and Girls by Catherine Thimmesh, illus. by Melissa Sweet. The enlightening volume, designed like a scrapbook with collage elements, drawings and photos, places well-known women, such as author Beatrix Potter and behaviorist Jane Goodall, alongside lesser-known figures such as Denise Schmandt-Besserat, who discovered the "roots of writing," and contemporary teens, eighth gra-ders from Spokane, Wash., who in 1997 developed an environmentally sound solution to the local farmers' allergic complications, arising from their annual burning of the bluegrass fields. Back matter includes a list of organizations, Web sites, quotes, bibliography, a timeline of women's discoveries and an index. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
For centuries, women's contributions to society have been overlooked, but that omission is being corrected in many ways. This collection highlights a variety of women discoverers from the well known, including Jane Goodall and Mary Leakey, to budding pioneers, such as eleven-year-old science-lover Katie Murray. The clear, understandable language makes even difficult concepts fairly easy to grasp. Sweet's collage-like illustrations make the book appear to be the notebook of one of the many discoverers, and readers will pore over these drawings and charts long after they have finished the text. The information and visuals flow together, giving readers a vivid picture of the remarkable discoveries made by these notable women in just a few pages or paragraphs. Especially impressive is the final chapter that focuses on the discoveries of young girls, including Murray. Many young girls, who care enough about the world around them that they turn to science for answers, are profiled here. These uplifting stories are sure to inspire girls of all ages to check out the end of book, which suggests ways that they too can become great discoverers. This book is a recommended purchase for middle school and public libraries. Index. Illus. Charts. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Houghton Mifflin, 80p,
— Shari Fesko
Children's Literature
You've heard of Jane Goodall and Mary Leaky, but did you know a woman named Donna Shelley invented the micro-rover that explored Mars, or that Beatriz Potter drew scientific drawings of plants and fungi before she ever dreamed up Peter Rabbit? Catherine Thimmesh introduces us to more than a dozen women and girls who "unleashed their curiosity and forged their own paths to discoveries." Several of the youngest women featured made important discoveries as part of school science projects, including a 14 year old girl who used the sun to kill bacteria in otherwise undrinkable water and an 11 year old who became curious about lead levels in tempting-looking vegetables grown in lead-contaminated soil. The stories are inspiring and fascinating for a wide range of ages, complimented by equally intriguing collages by Melissa Sweet. Each illustration is a busy collection of drawings, journal logs, notes and memorable quotes¾"As human beings we thrive on astonishment"¾(Jean Fritz), and always an official looking stamp of curiosity. The author's mission is to highlight women's discoveries that "have helped to define the world in which we live," and to also spark that sense of discovery in every new reader. The varied accomplishments, short and lively chapters and informative presentation in The Sky's the Limit may do just that. 2002, Houghton Mifflin,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A sequel to Girls Think of Everything (Houghton, 2000), this book describes 20 discoveries in such fields as astronomy, biology, anthropology, paleontology, and medicine. They range from Beatrix Potter's observation that lichen consists of algae and fungi to student Rachael Charles's science project that produced safe drinking water from a puddle exposed to reflected sunlight. The majority of the individuals featured are British or American, and only a few, such as Jane Goodall and Mary Leakey, are easily found in other such compilations. A couple of the profiles do not fit in neatly as "discoveries": NASA program manager Donna Shirley led the team that designed and produced the Mars rover Sojourner and artist June Moxon and a friend designed, built, and pedaled a kinetic sculpture coast-to-coast across the United States. Contact information is provided for three organizations and science competitions, and a substantial "Further Reading" section also lists two films. Black-and-white photos of most of the women are included. Sue Heinemann's The New York Public Library Amazing Women in American History (Wiley, 1998) profiles more individuals and is more detailed. Amelie Welden's Girls Who Rocked the World (1998) and Michelle Roehm's Girls Who Rocked the World 2 (2000, both Beyond Words) emphasize inventors, discoverers, adventurers, entertainers, and activists. However, this title, with its readily digestible size and delicately colored, mixed-media illustrations resembling pages from field notebooks, is an attractive package. Like scientific discovery itself, it leads to more questions and indicates further paths to explore.-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Repeating the inspired formula of Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women (2000), Sweet's exuberant collages add both information and visual energy to lively profiles of more than a dozen female adults or children who have Found Something Significant. Along with such usual suspects as Mary Anning (dinosaur fossils) and Jane Goodall (tool-using chimpanzees), Thimmesh includes less-familiar figures, conducting personal interviews with each of her living subjects. Among them are astronomer Vera Rubin, whose "dark matter" theory is revolutionizing our ideas about the universe; archaeologist Denise Schmandt-Besserat, who identified a surprising precursor to writing in ancient Middle Eastern sites, and Anna Sofaer, who identified among Chaco Canyon petroglyphs a complex Anasazi calendar. Not everyone here is a trained scientist, or for that matter, even out of junior high. The last section is given over to six students with inventive science projects, from a low-tech method of turning puddles into safe drinking water, to proof that vegetables grown in city lots can contain dangerous levels of lead. Though, oddly, only the living are listed in the table of contents, and an account of June Moxon's trip across the US in a foot-powered kinetic sculpture doesn't really fit the premise, Thimmesh makes a convincing case for the idea that the thrill of discovery is a feeling anyone can have. She closes with an array of resources to help young readers get off the stick. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)
From the Publisher
"Sweet’s exuberant collages add both information and visual energy to lively profiles of more than a dozen female adults or children who have Found Something Significant… Thimmesh makes a convincing case for the idea that the thrill of discovery is a feeling anyone can have." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"The lively design and the mixed-media collage artwork is a creative delight, and the intricate ink-and-watercolor borders, inventive paintings, and childlike pictures will draw readers in. The best thing about the book, however, is Thimmesh's sparkling writing style, which celebrates women's curiosity and skill." Booklist, ALA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618494897
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her family.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 6
Chapter 1 To obtain knowledge of, as through observation or study
It Sure Is Dark Out There 10
Let's Start at the Very Beginning 14
The Little Rover That Could 20
Tools in the Jungle 25
Chapter 2 To be the first to find, learn of, or observe
Biggest, Baddest, Best 32
The Longest Day of the Year 37
My, What Big Teeth You Have 41
On the Road Again 47
Chapter 3 A desire to know or learn
Get the Lead Out 54
Up in Smoke 58
Drinkable Puddles 61
Your Turn 64
Sources 65
Further Reading 66
Timeline 68
Index 72
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