"A finely told, beautifully illustrated biography that saves a world class scientist from obscurity." --School Library Journal, starred review"An ideal introduction to a lesser-known scientist and an important understanding about how the Earth works."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Ra l Col n, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor. Marie Tharp was always fascinated by the ocean. Taught to think big by her father who was a mapmaker, Marie wanted to do something no one had ever done before: map the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Was it even possible? Not sure if she would succeed, Marie decided to give it a try. Throughout history, others had tried and failed to measure the depths of the oceans. Sailors lowered weighted ropes to take measurements. Even today, scientists are trying to measure the depth by using echo sounder machines to track how long it would take a sound wave sent from a ship to the sea floor to come back. But for Marie, it was like piecing together an immense jigsaw puzzle. Despite past failures and challenges--sometimes Marie would be turned away from a ship because having a woman on board was "bad luck"--Marie was determined to succeed. And she did, becoming the first person to chart the ocean floor, helping us better understand the planet we call home. Award-winning author Robert Burleigh tells her story of imagination and perseverance. Beautifully illustrated by Ra l Col n, Look Up is a book that will inspire readers to follow their dreams.
- ISBN-13: 9781481416009
- ISBN-10: 1481416006
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
- Publish Date: January 2016
- Dimensions: 11.9 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Page Count: 40
- Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Charting her own course
In the opening of this spirited picture-book biography, young Marie Tharp declares her love of maps. It’s a passion that comes honestly: Her father makes soil maps for farmers, and she follows him as he draws, often holding his pads and pencils. As a result of his work, Tharp’s family travels a great deal, and her love only intensifies.
After graduating from college, Tharp is met with the limitations placed on female scientists during the 1940s. But she persists, growing curious about the terrain of the ocean floor and working with a colleague to map it using sound waves. Her research leads to the confirmation of plate tectonics.
Robert Burleigh’s writing is intimate, almost chummy. Just before he tells readers about Tharp’s discovery of the deep rift running along the mid-Atlantic ocean floor, which offered proof of continental drift, Burleigh writes simply: “But there was even more. Listen.” It’s as if he’s present with readers, drawing us in with his own wonder for her work. He knows that Tharp changed the way people looked at the Earth, no small feat indeed. And his reverence for her accomplishments makes the story even more compelling.
Raúl Colón’s illustrations accentuate Tharp’s curiosity; in many of the opening spreads, we see her from behind, always staring out—at her father at work, at a map on the wall in school and at the ocean, wondering why science wasn’t yet free of discrimination against women. After Burleigh’s charge for readers to stop and “listen,” readers find a beautiful wordless spread, showing a vessel at sea with a glimpse of what the ocean floor looks like beneath it.
It’s an inviting story of gender equality and one of science’s brightest minds.