Review of Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dłuska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood

Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dłuska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dłuska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood
by Linda Elovitz Marshall; illus. by Anna and Elena Balbusso
Primary, Intermediate    Knopf    40 pp.
2/23    9780593377581    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780593377604    $11.99

Marie Curie (1867–1934) is a household name; Bronia Dłuska (1865–1939), not so much. But, as this captivating picture-book biography reveals, Marie might never have achieved that name recognition were it not for Bronia, her older sister. Childhood tragedy (losing their mother and another sister to illnesses) shaped both girls’ career paths, with Bronia eager to become a doctor; Marie, a researcher. Alas, 1880s Warsaw frowned upon women’s higher learning, so the two studied alone until joining the “Flying University,” an underground college for women. The pair then set their sights on the prestigious Sorbonne. To afford its fees, Marie pledged to tutor students to pay for Bronia to attend; in turn, after finishing her education, Bronia paid for Marie to study there. With Marie’s arrival in Paris, the book’s focus shifts to her love for science, the radioactivity research for which she won her first Nobel Prize, and her many other groundbreaking accomplishments. Periodically, Bronia pops back into the narrative, as she opens a hospital, introduces Marie to future husband Pierre, and directs Marie’s second Radium Institute. Certainly, Marie gets more of the spotlight here, but “the power of SCIENCE—and the power of SISTERS!” is wholeheartedly celebrated, and further honored with whimsically patterned, richly textured mixed-media illustrations by—fittingly—twin-sister artists. A timeline, an author’s note, and a “Partial List of Works Consulted” are appended.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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