Kati’s Tiny Messengers: Dr. Katalin Karikó and the Battle Against COVID-19

Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063216624.
Gr 2-4–What can one determined person do? A lot, it turns out! This narrative biography of Nobel Prize–winning Dr. Katalin Karikó tells of her life and study of RNA, as well as the application of the mRNA to the COVID vaccine. Karikó demonstrates her persistence to learn and understand the science of mRNA throughout her entire life, from her early days in Hungary in a one-room house without electricity or indoor plumbing, to her university days where she had to learn English in order to take the classes she wanted, to her exodus from Hungary to the U.S. Using this depth of knowledge, Karikó was able to connect her learning to create a vaccine for COVID-19. The folkloric artwork gives a feeling of humanity to the book, allowing readers to connect on a more personal level to the narrative. Teachers will want to use this story as model of perseverance and dedication for their lessons; elementary readers will like learning that overcoming obstacles still matters. An author’s note, time line, and sources are included.
VERDICT This narrative biography about one of the creators of the COVID-19 vaccine will be an excellent addition to collections needing modern biographies.

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