In writing biography, it’s tempting to start at your subject’s birth and finish at your subject’s death. But usually that’s not the structure that will best tell the story.
In this biography of an astronomer, the book starts with her gazing at the stars as a child and wondering about them. We see her work to learn the answers to her questions, and the book concludes as she publishes an academic paper to answer those questions. The beginning and ending relate directly to the story Burleigh’s telling. Sure, a lot of Leavitt’s life is left out, but the book feels complete because it tells one story, beginning to end.
The book is a great look at a girl growing up to be a scientist. The extensive back matter profiles other female astronomers as well.
Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon. Simon & Schuster, 2013.