Science is the Medium, Courage is the Takeaway

Summary:

In the early 1900s, when Wu Chien Shiung was born, being a girl came with societal restrictions. Her parents, however, thought differently. They wanted their daughter to be educated, so they founded a school just for girls. When she had outgrown what her parents could teach her, Chien Shiung moved to a school 50 miles from home. It was at this school she discovered a love of math and physics. She also showed great leadership skills, helping her peers and leading protest marches.  In 1936, Chien Shiung came to the United States, where she studied physics at several universities. Despite her ground-breaking work, male scientists took the Nobel Prize - not once but three times! Still, she pursued her work and was ultimately recognized for her contributions to physics.


Parent Perspective:
Once again, I have found a book where I ask myself why have I never heard of her with every turn of the page. The author's primary focus is on Chien Shiung's life and career, but there SO much more that jumps from the page for young readers. The historical context of years won't have meaning for them, but the parallels to the world they live in will be infinitely obvious: civil resistance to social inequities, prejudice, racism, sexism, courage, and - most importantly - being true to one's beliefs and following your path, even when there are obstacles.

Please don't mistake this as a "book for girls" because the featured subject is a woman in science. Readers can readily empathize with her feelings for her family, her love of her work, and the various disappointments, too. Those are universal.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

You don't need to have a science background to enjoy this powerful story of courage and determination. Ultimately, the history of physics is secondary to the amazing courage and impact that Wu Chien Shiung had on the world.

Content Awareness Factors:

None.


Type of Book:
This picture book biography introduces readers to history, Chinese culture, and physics.
Educational Themes:

In addition to being a biography of Wu Chien Shiung, this picture book also has layers that can invite discussion: family, culture and tradition, sexism and racism, as well as personal goals and perseverance.

  • Do you think Wu regretted her work being used for a bomb?
  • Do your readers (or you) wonder why we've never heard of Wu?
  • Do any of those themes above play into that reasoning?
Reading Level:
4.3
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Put this on your "must borrow" list. If you have a child interested in science, definitely consider this as a "buy" recommendation.
book cover

Title Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
About

People Who Shaped The World, Book 6

Author Teresa M. Robeson
Publisher Sterling Children's Books, Imprint Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © 2019
Illustrators Rebecca M. Huang
ISBN 9781454932208
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Biography, Science - Physics, Asia | Asian People
Cybils

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