MARIE'S OCEAN has been selected a BEST STEM BOOK OF 2021 by the NSTA and a 2021 NOTABLE SOCIAL STUDIES TRADE BOOK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by the NCSS.
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.
Kirkus Reviews describes MARIE'S OCEAN as "A winning combination of lyric description, accessible explanation, scientific history, feminism, and accomplishment."
School Library Journal says: "James provides a deep dive into the STEM concepts and the detailed process that Tharp employed to show the world what lies at the bottom of our oceans. Highly recommended for public and school libraries."
The Horn Book says: "...This empowering, accessible account of Tharp's career serves as a reminder that "sometimes it's hard to convince people to believe something new" –and shows readers precisely how the groundbreaking Tharp did just that."
Marie Tharp said about her groundbreaking work, "I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities." I felt similarly when embarking upon my journey to tell her tale. Tharp's life story is fascinating. She was the first person to map the ocean floor and discovered the largest geological feature on earth; a rift valley which encircles the entire globe. Her astounding discovery supported the theory of continental drift which led to the unifying theory of plate tectonics. It was not an easy road, and Marie struggled to receive the credit she deserved for her discovery. From Marie Tharp's earliest childhood dreams all the way to her defining achievement, this is the story of one of earth science's greatest hidden figures.
Would you consider Marie Tharp an unsung hero?
Yes, I would consider Marie Tharp an unsung hero. The very moment I stumbled upon the story of Marie Tharp I was fascinated. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know anything about her once-in-a-lifetime discovery of the Mid-Ocean Ridge and Rift Valley, the largest geological feature on Earth. I grabbed my notebook and pen and dove into months and months of research to create MARIE’S OCEAN for young readers.
How did Tharp's gender affect how people took her discoveries?
When Marie Tharp discovered the V-shape in the profiles she created from thousands upon thousands of echograms from the tracks of multiple ships, her observation was dismissed as “girl talk” by her colleague, Bruce Heezen. She went on to prove him wrong. The V-shape was indeed a rift valley and demonstrated the possibility that one continent, Pangaea, separated into the seven continents as Dr. Alfred Wegener, explorer and meteorologist, had hypothesized.
What do you think Tharp's greatest accomplishment was?
Marie Tharp had many accomplishments, not least her ability to earn a graduate degree in geology in the 1940s at at time when scientific careers were largely unavailable to women. Her greatest accomplishment was her discovery of the largest geological feature on Earth, the Mid-Ocean Ridge and the Rift Valley. She revolutionized the world of geological thinking and fast-forwarded the development of the unifying theory of plate tectonics.
Why do you think educating the youth about Ms. Tharp is important?
I admire Tharp’s independence of thought and fearlessness. She was brave and confronted the scientists who dismissed her discovery because it challenged their preconceived ideas. Marie’s maps of the ocean floor made it clear that it isn’t a scientist’s job to make things the way one wishes them to be, they simply are as they are.
Dr. Dawn Wright is the first person of African descent to explore the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point on Earth's seabed, 35,876 below the surface. That's deeper than the 29,000 foot peak of Mt. Everest is high. Dawn's goal along with the Nippon Foundation -GEBCO is to successfully map the whole ocean floor by 2030. Presently, only one quarter has been successfully mapped in detail. Way to go, Dawn! Please click here and learn more about the beauty of our magical oceans with Deep Sea Dawn.
Want to map the ocean like Marie and Dawn! Click here to get your school learning the tools of the trade with esri School Mapping Software for Grades K-12/ArcGIS for schools.