The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner

Abrams. Apr. 2022. 264p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419758539.
Gr 4 Up–The story of a brilliant physicist’s life intertwined with Nazi Germany and the development of the nuclear bomb. Lise Meitner loved physics, and her discoveries were some of the most respected and celebrated in the 20th century. Her story of discovering nuclear fission develops as Nazi Germany comes to power and invades Europe. Lise, a Jew, must escape Germany and leave her lab behind. Eventually, other scientists and governments use her discovery to build the first nuclear bomb, devastating her. The book recounts how German scientists also sought to build a bomb, which would have changed the outcome of WWII. The book concludes with Meitner’s later years and her long overdue recognition by the scientific community. One-page comic drawings introduce each chapter and bring further life to the story. Moss presents a spectacular story of history, science, and women’s struggle for respect through the narrative of Meitner’s life. The writing style is captivating and the book is a quick page-turner. A time line, glossary of physics terms, scientist profiles, bibliography, and index enhance the story and point students to further learning.
VERDICT An excellent biography that is a first purchase and deserves a place on every nonfiction book list for children.

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