An important if sometimes-awkward study of two scientists who helped to change the world.

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RADIOACTIVE!

HOW IRÈNE CURIE AND LISE MEITNER REVOLUTIONIZED SCIENCE AND CHANGED THE WORLD

“Radioactivity was the first new property of matter discovered since Sir Isaac Newton defined the law of gravity in 1686,” and the work of Irène Curie and Lise Meitner in the early 20th century helped to open the door to modern physics.

Irène Curie was the firstborn child of the world’s “ ‘First Family’ of science.” Lise Meitner was the daughter of a Jewish lawyer in Vienna and a victim of Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. Curie and Meitner, working independently, were research rivals, each seeking a name in the field of theoretical physics that was about to change the world. Conkling discusses the two scientists separately, Curie in the first several chapters, Meitner in the next several, and their stories come together in a final section when the race to create an atomic bomb was on. It’s an uneasy blend of biographies, though astute readers will see that it’s the science itself that links the stories, not a personal connection between Curie and Meitner. Readers interested in a more succinct and compelling look at Meitner’s work on fission than what’s presented here will find it in Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb (2012). Flat writing and too many pages of dense text unrelieved by photographs or other visuals mar a volume that might have been suspenseful.

An important if sometimes-awkward study of two scientists who helped to change the world. (timeline, glossary, who’s who, chapter notes, bibliography, for more information, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-415-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others.

ALWAYS SMILE

CARLEY ALLISON'S SECRETS FOR LAUGHING, LOVING AND LIVING

When the late Canadian figure skater and singer/songwriter Carley Allison, was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer at 17, she shared her difficult journey through treatment.

This authorized biography draws from Carley’s blog, text messages, photos on social media, and interviews with family and friends. All testify to Carley’s popularity, upbeat personality, athleticism, competitive drive, and generosity throughout her brief life. She set and met tough goals for herself through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Medical intervention exhausted, she tried residential treatment at an alternative Florida institute claiming cancer cures via a raw, vegan diet. Against her parents’ wishes, doctors told then-19-year-old Carley that she was dying. The timing of events isn’t always clear, and interviews are undated, but the clear intention is to inspire others to remain optimistic and positive: When an effort fails, there’s always something else to try. Contradicting that message is the equally strong portrait of someone exceptional afflicted with an exceedingly rare cancer. Carley, who was of European and Iranian descent, was supported by a loving, financially comfortable family and a loyal network of friends. It’s when the mask of cheery optimism falters that readers truly connect with Carley; then her journey becomes ours. Readers comfortable with social media will be drawn in by the large number of photographs, varied formats, and brief segments.

A touching portrait of a remarkable celebrity influencer who used her exposure to inspire herself and others. (Biography. 12-16)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0040-0

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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