NONFICTION

Marie Curie: A Life of Discovery

Graphic Universe. Aug. 2019. 208p. bibliog. chron. notes. Tr $33.32. ISBN 9781541528178; pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781541572867.
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Gr 7 Up–This graphic format biography of Marie Curie, the first woman Nobelist, is told in a series of flashbacks from the point of view of one of her daughters. In 1889, Curie was working as a governess in Poland, well educated but with few options beyond marriage and frustrated with her circumstances. An invitation from her sister and brother-in-law in Paris opened up opportunities to study math and physics at the Sorbonne, where she met her future husband, Pierre Curie. Large panels filled with vivid washes of watercolor and colored pencil set the tone and mood, depicting scenes in her laboratory as well as at home and around Paris. Glimpses of Curie’s thoughts, discussions with other scientists, and even the occasional diagram provide depth and scientific authenticity, conveying Curie’s brilliance and why her work with radioactive materials was so important. More subtly, the author shows over time how the radioactivity affected Curie physiologically, eventually leading to her death. The story swings between her professional and personal life, including the despair she felt after her husband’s death and a subsequent affair with a fellow scientist who was married.
VERDICT With a complex story structure and sophisticated science content, this addition to the canon about Curie is ideal for upper middle and high schoolers

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