Nonfiction – Marie Curie

Marie Curie, even decades after her death, continues to be an inspiration to young scientists everywhere. Not only was she the first woman to win a Nobel prize, she continues to be the only scientist to win a Nobel Prize in two separate categories (Chemistry and Physics). It is no wonder, then, that books for children about her life are numerous.

Kathleen Krull’s addition to Marie Curie biographies is extremely readable and kid-friendly. She uses stylistic techniques more often found in children’s fiction – such as using incomplete sentences as a device to indicate emphasis – making the book accessible to many readers who might otherwise look askance at a nonfiction title. Adults may or may not approve of this choice, but most children will probably give it a hearty thumbs-up.

The biographical information is accurate and complete. This is not a white-washed picture of a famous scientist. Information about scandals is included (nothing too salacious, just rumors of a possible relationship after she was widowed.) The focus is squarely on the science, with explanations of why Marie’s discoveries were so important. Marie as a humanitarian is also a theme, with information on the ways in which Marie tried to help others, including purposefully not patenting some of her discoveries so that they could benefit the entire world.

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