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.
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 is 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.
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.
This picture book biography introduces readers to history, Chinese culture, and physics.
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?
9 and Up
9 and Up
Put this on your "must borrow" list. If you have a child interested in science, definitely consider this as a "buy" recommendation.
|Title||Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom|
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|
|Genres||Science, Biography, Asia | Asian People|