We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
A great deal has been written about the life of revolutionary scientist, Marie Curie. This recently published one by Demi in 2018 is a worthy addition to the growing stack of biographies about this amazing mind.
Written and Illustrated by Demi
Published by Henry Holt & Co. (2018).
ISBN: 1627793895 (ISBN13: 9781627793896)
Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
Demi’s portrayal of Maria Salomea Sklodowska begins from her birth in Warsaw, Poland on 07 November 1867. While I have read a few of “Manya’s” biographies (Marie Curie’s family’s nickname for her), I didn’t know that her mother used to be a principal of a school for girls and her father a Math and Physics Teacher.
Her story was one marked by persistence, passion, and perseverance. At a time when Polish people were controlled by the USSR and women not allowed to go to university, Manya dreamed of studying in the Sorbonne, a famous university in Paris, where she can continue her learning.
Since both she and her older sister can not afford to go to Paris at the same time and pursue their education, Manya sacrificed and worked while her sister Bronya finished her studies, under the condition that Bronya would do the same once she has completed her education. The arrangement worked – so well, in fact, that Manya – known as Marie when she moved to Paris – was awarded not one but two degrees: the first one in physics and the second one in mathematics – just like her father who teaches both subjects.
What I found to be particularly compelling in this narrative was how Marie was able to balance being a wife, a young mother, and a researcher all at the same time. When her husband, Pierre Curie died in a tragic and unfortunate accident, she also took over his position as a Professor at the Sorbonne, thereby becoming the first female professor in the University.
The controversial parts of Marie’s life, specifically her relationship with the married scientist Paul Langevin, was not mentioned in this children’s book – and the fact that her scientific discoveries were put into question because she was deemed ‘amoral’ and ‘scandalous.’ However, older readers may want to read Lauren Redniss’ biography of Marie and Pierre Curie here.
I have written a review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie – A Tale Of Love And Fallout here.
These two books will be a good pairing, especially for more mature readers.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – United States of America (Demi is from the US)