Tu Youyou’s Discovery: Finding a Cure for Malaria

Albert Whitman. (She Made History). Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807581117.
Gr 2-5–Scientist and researcher Tu Youyou, the first Chinese woman ever to win a Nobel Prize, is profiled in this fascinating book about the discovery of a traditional Chinese remedy to cure a deadly disease. Youyou’s lifelong desire to study science and help people, strengthened by her own long recovery from tuberculosis as a child, led her to study medicine at Peking (now Beijing) University. Later assigned to lead a research team with the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Youyou and her team were tasked with finding a cure for malaria. The scientists are shown experimenting with various plants and failing over and over—190 times in all—until Youyou chanced on the solution after reading about an ancient Chinese remedy. An interesting historical note explains that even though the cure was first discovered in 1971, it was not approved for use for 14 more years. All characters in the charming illustrations (except those at the Nobel Prize ceremony) are depicted as Asian. Back matter includes a time line of Youyou’s life, an author’s note, and a selected bibliography. Of particular interest is a description of the scientific method and how each of the steps was carried out by Youyou and her team.
VERDICT A much-needed biography of a woman scientist and great addition to any library’s STEM collection.

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