Book review: Marie Curie

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 24th February 2017

I love the idea behind the Little People, Big Dreams series for children.

Aimed at five to eight-year-olds, this collection tells the stories of famous women who achieved remarkable things. The title stems from the fact that women like Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Coco Chanel and Frida Kahlo began life as small children with big dreams – which they all went on to fulfil.

The books are stunning and I was thrilled to discover that two more are being published this week.

This time round, the series follows the lives of a brilliant scientist and a prolific writer – Marie Curie and Agatha Christie.

I was particularly pleased to see the Marie Curie book because with the current shortage of scientists, mathematicians and engineers, we need to encourage more girls to take STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at school. It helps, of course, that Marie Curie is such a fascinating character. Born in Warsaw, she was the first female scientist to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman, so far, to win Nobel Prizes in two different subjects – physics and chemistry. She developed the use of X-rays to help injured soldiers during the First World War and founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw, which are still centres of medical research today.

Agatha Christie is the bestselling novelist of all time, although young children won’t necessarily have heard of her. They’ll be gripped, I’m sure by the story of how she taught herself to read at the age of five, learned about poisons and toxic potions as a young nurse and incorporated her knowledge into her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple novels. Even more enthrallingly, she wrote more than 100 books and invented enough victims to fill an entire cemetery.

Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Frau Isa (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, £9.99)

Little People, Big Dreams: Agatha Christie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Elisa Munso (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, £9.99)

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