An admirable tribute to a life that holds some timely lessons.

A collection of poems charts the life of Lise Meitner, a pioneering scientist who survived two world wars.

As a young Jewish girl in 1880s Austria, Meitner longed to study chemistry, but her options were limited due to her gender. After she finally managed to earn a Ph.D. and became a professor in Berlin, she was “both flattered and annoyed” to be compared to Marie Curie; “no one expects every man to be like Pierre Curie.” Deliberate, delicate verse describes well the blistering unfairness of sexist academia and the complications inherent in having mentors who don’t share one’s marginalized identities. Appearances by other European physicists, including Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Meitner’s longtime collaborator Otto Hahn, show these revered minds as generally forthright individuals struggling against the rising tide of fascism. While at first reluctant to leave the German laboratory where she worked for years, Meitner eventually escaped to Sweden in 1938, where she continued her work with Hahn from afar. In 1946 she experienced the bitterness of seeing Hahn accept the Nobel Prize for discovering nuclear fission—without mentioning her central role. More than that, though, the devastation of the atomic bomb and the Holocaust haunted her. She lost trust in her home, and “there can be no science without trust.” Appropriately, the fictionalized biography ends on a decidedly bittersweet note.

An admirable tribute to a life that holds some timely lessons. (author’s note, timeline, biographies, selected bibliography) (Verse biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-250-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021


A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters.

Unlike the rest of her nature-obsessed family, Louisa wants to be a musician, not a biologist.

But when Louisa’s mother finds out that the Australian government is about to destroy the Tasmanian rainforest camp their family has managed for decades, she insists that Louisa leave Toronto and spend the summer on the strange, small island with her even stranger uncle Ruff. But when Uncle Ruff gives Louisa a copy of her great-grandmother’s journal, Louisa becomes fascinated with her family’s history of secretly protecting endangered species, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger, widely regarded as extinct. With the help of her new friend and neighbor Colin—a boy who has autism spectrum disorder—Louisa deepens her connection with her family’s land, with history, and with her love of music. Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways. The book’s small cast of characters (principals seem all White) is well drawn and endearing. Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts, something rarely seen in books about environmental degradation. Louisa’s narratorial voice strikes the right balance of curiosity, timidity, and growing confidence, and her character’s transformation feels both incredibly natural and incredibly rewarding to behold.

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-054-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale.

Following the precise coordinates of geocaching doesn’t yield the treasure Kirby Zagonski Jr. seeks: his missing father.

Geeky eighth-grader Kirby can’t understand why his mother won’t call his dad after their generous landlady dies and they’re evicted for nonpayment of rent. Though his parents have been divorced for several years and his father, a wealthy developer, has been unreliable, Kirby is sure he could help. Instead he and his mother move to the Community Hospitality Center, a place “for the poor. The unfortunate. The homeless.” Suddenly A-student Kirby doesn’t have a quiet place to do his schoolwork or even a working pencil. They share a “family room” with a mother and young son fleeing abuse. Trying to hide this from his best friends, Gianna and Ruby, is a struggle, especially as they spend after-school hours together. The girls help him look for the geocaches visited by “Senior Searcher,” a geocacher Kirby is sure is his father. There are ordinary eighth-grade complications in this contemporary friendship tale, too; Gianna just might be a girlfriend, and there’s a dance coming up. Kirby’s first-person voice is authentic, his friends believable, and the adults both sometimes helpful and sometimes unthinkingly cruel. The setting is the largely white state of Vermont, but the circumstances could be anywhere.

Middle school worries and social issues skillfully woven into a moving, hopeful, STEM-related tale. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-548-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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