NONFICTION

Ocean Speaks: How Marie Tharp Revealed the Ocean’s Biggest Secret

Tundra. Jun. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735265080.
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PreS-Gr 2–This is a sweet picture book biography with a strong feminist message. Marie Tharp worked as a geologist and oceanographic cartographer at a time when women were not particularly welcome in the field. When her male colleagues put her on desk duty, she analyzed the data they gave her and created the first map illustrating the mid-Atlantic Ridge, part of Earth’s longest chain of mountains. Despite her colleague’s disbelief, she stood behind her work. Jacques-Yves Cousteau even sent his cameras deep into the ocean to prove her wrong, but instead, he validated her map. Hickey’s blue-soaked illustrations are whimsical and energetic, perfectly complementing the succinct text. Despite the short word count, this book is packed with information and effectively conveys the gravity and impact of Tharp’s work and the obstacles she faced. Back matter adds factual weight to the narrative and provides valuable context for readers. The majority of people are depicted with light skin; the racial demographics of the field at the time are not addressed.
VERDICT A wonderful introductory biography of a woman changing the world from behind the scenes. Recommended as a general purchase for public and school libraries.

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