A compelling introduction to a passionate and tenacious Chinese researcher.



From the She Made History series

A picture-book biography about the persistent Chinese researcher whose medical discovery has saved millions of lives.

In 1969 Tu Youyou, a researcher at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, was chosen to be a part of a research group to find a cure for chloroquine-resistant malaria. Spread by mosquitoes, this life-threatening disease was making people sick around the world. Using her subject’s given name, Daemicke describes how Youyou’s dedication to both traditional and modern medicines sprang from a life-changing battle with tuberculosis as a teen. In her search for a malaria cure, her observations and openness to traditional remedies led her to the plant qinghao (sweet wormwood). Many experiments failed, but her 191st experiment was finally successful! Youyou led her team to create the medicine artemisinin, also called qinghaosu in Chinese. Her contribution to the project was obscured for decades, but in 2015 she became the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize. This inspiring picture-book biography provides a much-needed counterpoint to harmful Sinophobic rhetoric around the origins of Covid-19. Brief text focuses completely on the linear story of Youyou’s dedicated search for a malaria cure, with a mention that during her research, male researchers weren’t happy with her lack of results or her leadership. Round shapes and bright colors create inviting illustrations with cartoonish characters. Nearly all characters are depicted as Chinese.

A compelling introduction to a passionate and tenacious Chinese researcher. (bibliography, author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8111-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners.


The cadences of a familiar nursery rhyme introduce concerns about ocean garbage and what we, who made the mess, can do to help clean it up.

With the rhyme and meter of “The House That Jack Built,” Lord builds the problem of plastic waste in the oceans from the fish that must swim through it to a netted seal, a trapped turtle, and overflowing landfills before turning to remedies: cleaning beaches and bays, reducing waste, and protesting the use of fishing nets. Two pages of backmatter describe problems in more detail, while a third elaborates potential solutions; suggestions for individual action are provided as well. Blattman’s images begin with a racially diverse group of youngsters in a small boat in the center of a plastic trash gyre. The children, shown at different angles, bob spread by spread over trash-filled waters. To accompany the words, “Look at the mess that we made,” she adds a polluted city skyline and a container ship belching smoke to the scene. Finally, the dismayed young boaters reach a beach where a clean-up is in process. From their little skiff they help scoop up trash, rescue the turtle, and wave protest signs. The message is important, even vital in today’s world, but many caregivers and many environmentalists would eschew this doomful approach as a means of introducing environmental concerns to the early-elementary audience who might be drawn in by the nursery rhyme.

Well-intentioned but likely to overwhelm the intended readers and listeners. (map) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947277-14-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again.


From the Cece and the Scientific Method series

Cece loves asking “why” and “what if.”

Her parents encourage her, as does her science teacher, Ms. Curie (a wink to adult readers). When Cece and her best friend, Isaac, pair up for a science project, they choose zoology, brainstorming questions they might research. They decide to investigate whether dogs eat vegetables, using Cece’s schnauzer, Einstein, and the next day they head to Cece’s lab (inside her treehouse). Wearing white lab coats, the two observe their subject and then offer him different kinds of vegetables, alone and with toppings. Cece is discouraged when Einstein won’t eat them. She complains to her parents, “Maybe I’m not a real scientist after all….Our project was boring.” Just then, Einstein sniffs Cece’s dessert, leading her to try a new way to get Einstein to eat vegetables. Cece learns that “real scientists have fun finding answers too.” Harrison’s clean, bright illustrations add expression and personality to the story. Science report inserts are reminiscent of The Magic Schoolbus books, with less detail. Biracial Cece is a brown, freckled girl with curly hair; her father is white, and her mother has brown skin and long, black hair; Isaac and Ms. Curie both have pale skin and dark hair. While the book doesn’t pack a particularly strong emotional or educational punch, this endearing protagonist earns a place on the children’s STEM shelf.

A good introduction to observation, data, and trying again. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-249960-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet