Breaking Through the Clouds

The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson

by Sandra Nickel & Helena Perez Garcia (Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 8, 2022)

When Joanne Simpson was a girl, she sailed her boat beneath the puffy white clouds of Cape Cod. As a pilot, she flew her plane so high, its wings almost touched them. And when World War II began and Joanne moved to the University of Chicago, a professor asked her to teach Air Force officers about those very clouds and the weather-changing winds.

As soon as the war ended, Joanne decided to seriously study the clouds she had grown to love so much. Her professors told her to go home. They told her she was no longer needed. They told her, “No woman ever got a doctorate in meteorology. And no woman ever will.”

But Joanne was stubborn. She sold her boat. She flew her last flight. She saved her money so that she could study clouds. She worked so hard and discovered so much that—despite what the professors said—she received a doctorate in meteorology and changed everything we know about weather today.

“An energetic, compassionate examination of a determined researcher who left her mark on the field of atmospheric sciences.” —Publishers Weekly

Awards & Lists

Breaking Through the Clouds was named a 2023 Children’s Favorite by the Children’s Book Council and a Rise Honoree for 2023 by the American Library Association.