I always liked the tale of Cinderella, but by the time I could read on
my own, I looked for stories of real people who sometimes felt out of
place but ended up somewhere amazing. I especially like reading about
girls who weren’t given great chances, but through faith and hard work,
rather than wands and fairy godmothers, made a mark on the world.
These days I often write poetry, which asks us to pay close attention
to language and may bridge nonfiction and fiction. I enjoyed
contributing to the Poetry Friday Anthologies
edited by Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell, which
help make it easy for teachers to fit poetry into the week. It was fun
to write biographical poems for The Poetry Friday Anthology for
Science, but later I wanted to write more than could fit on one page.
That desire led me to compose a series of poems about girls whose
early love of science led them to important discoveries.
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science celebrates three
girls born in three different centuries who went on to do
groundbreaking work. Most of the poems show Maria Sibylla Merian, Mary
Anning, and Maria Mitchell at about thirteen years old, when their
commitment to studying plants and animals, fossils, and the night sky
deepened. The final poems in each series present the highlights of their extraordinary careers.
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound.
Resources for readers and educators
Read the Finding Wonders Timeline.
Learn how to write a historical poem with Researching a Way into a Poem - with Poetry Prompts.
Download the Questions for Readers about Finding Wonders by Jeannine Atkins
Poet to Poet interview about Finding Wonders. Read now...
Kirkus Reviews Interview. Read now...
Finding Wonder in the Process. Read now...
Conversation about Women, Poetry, and Science at Booklist. Read now...
Teaching Authors Interview. Read now...
Finding Questions and Wonders: at the Poem Farm. Read now...
Fictional Introductions to Remarkable Real-Life Women from School Library Journal. Read now...
Golden Kite Honor Book Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators
A Junior Library Guild Selection
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon
Nerdy Book Club a Best Poetry and Novels in Verse
Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices 2017
Booklist Lasting Connections
Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year 2017
“In the scramble for STEM curricular materials that celebrate the
contributions of women scientists, Atkins’ offering of three extended
free-verse biographical poems is distinguished for both content and
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred
review, Read review...
“Evocative and beautiful. Highly recommended for fans of poetry about
the natural world and the lives of real people.”
“Vividly imagines the lives of three girls who grew up to become
famous for their achievements in science. . . . each of these three
perceptive portrayals is original and memorable.”
“Although the work of these three women is now part of the scientific
canon, the book allows readers to share in the initial drama through
slow reveals that give emotional weight to the importance of their
"Inspirational and informative, Atkins shows how pursuing one’s
passion for science, math, or any field considered nontraditional is
worth the risk."