BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Marie Curie: A Life of Discovery by Alice Milani, translated by Kerstin Schwandt [in Booklist]

In Milani’s graphic biography of the iconic Marie Curie, soon-to-be Nobel winner Ernest Rutherford explains the theory of transmutation in less than a dozen panels to Marie Curie’s “interested in science” daughter, Irène – so young, she calls it “tramputation.” That transparent accessibility repeats throughout, underscoring Alice Milani’s remarkable ability to present complex scientific concepts to layreaders with logic and clarity. When Milani isn’t explaining in the text – fluidly translated from the original Italian by Kerstin Schwandt – she relies on atmospheric, pencil-and-watercolor art to augment the narrative of Curie’s brilliant life.

From Polish governess to University of Paris (Sorbonne) graduate in physics and mathematics to unparalleled scientist and double Nobel Prizewinner (the first woman in 1903; becoming the only Nobelist in two different sciences in 1911), Curie’s tenacity resulted in both worldwide achievement and personal derision, especially as a woman pioneer in a male-controlled field. (Her “tramputation”-curious daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won her own Nobel in 1935.) Additional endmatter – a detailed contextual essay co-written by Milani’s scientist parents, as well as a bibliography and source notes – enhance Milani’s biography, marking it for potential classroom inclusion.

Review: “Graphic Novels,” Booklist Online, June 21, 2019

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2019


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