Recently, Donna Strickland won the Nobel Prize in Physics. It turned out she was only the third woman to win the prize in 117 years. Who was the first? It was Marie Curie, who also later won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. That is an incredible achievement.
Let’s celebrate women scientists in the fields of physics and chemistry with the picture book biography Marie Curie by Demi.
Marie Curie was a pioneer as well as an amazing scientist. As discussed above, in addition to being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she also was the first person to win a second Nobel prize. She discovered not only one, but two elements, plus coined the term “radioactive.” Although we don’t hear as much about her, Marie Curie’s daughter Irène Joliot-Curie was also a scientist and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, the year after her brilliant mother died of leukemia.
Demi is both an illustrator and an author. Her multimedia and watercolor illustrations have a glowing quality that is so appropriate for the biography of the scientist who is known for having purified radium, an element which glows. The gold lettering of the title on the cover adds to the luminescent effect. Note: One scene includes a stylized depiction of Curie’s husband’s death (he was run over by a horse and carriage in the street.) It might be disturbing to some sensitive younger readers.
The no-nonsense text reveals many details of Curie’s life. The vocabulary level and subject matter pushes this to the older range of picture book readers (7-8 years.) The back matter includes a timeline and glossary.
Marie Curie is a wonderful resource for young people who enjoy reading about history and science. Share a copy today and see a child’s face light up.
Be sure to pair the book with some fun hands-on science.
Suggestions for Related Activities:
- Check out all the science experiments from the Growing With Science Chemistry Week.
- For older kids, see if you can find the two elements discovered by Marie Curie — radium and polonium — the interactive periodical chart of the elements at Scientific American.
- Explore the #NationalChemistryWeek hashtag on Twitter for many links
- Want to learn more about Marie Curie and others like her? Try our growing list of children’s books abut women scientists.
This title was nominated for a 2018 Cybils award in the Elementary and Middle Grade Nonfiction category.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years (see review)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (February 20, 2018)
Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books. Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.