Sisters in Science

By Heidi Frankel
March 10, 2023

By Linda Elovitz Marshall | Illustrated by Anna & Elena Balbusso

Ages 6 – 9

Book review by Heidi Frankel

I was never very interested in science as a little girl. The books were too technical and boring!

But I did not have any books written by Linda Elovitz Marshall and incredibly illustrated by twins Anna & Elena Balbusso.

Sisters in Science is magnificent! The life of Marie Curie is told through her unbreakable bond with her sister and fellow pioneer, Bronia Dłuska. Raised in Poland, the sisters were determined to get an education. At the time, girls were not allowed to go to school, and studying science was not what girls do. After their mother and sister died, Bronia was determined to become a doctor and Marie a researcher.

They participated in secret classes that moved from home to home to achieve their goal. But they did not have any money to study at a university when the time came. So, they created a plan: Marie would first support Bronia’s education at the Sorbonne by being a tutor, and once Bronia had graduated, she would do the same for Marie.

“There is nothing more wonderful than being a scientist; nowhere I would rather be than in my lab, staining up my clothes and getting paid to play.” —Marie Curie

The story dives deeper into Marie’s accomplishments, her two Noble Prizes, and her research into the then-burgeoning study of nuclear physics. But the story also tells of Bronia’s accomplishments as a doctor. It shows the sisters’ bond, how their lives were consistently intertwined, and how they relied on each other for support and encouragement.

The Balbusso twins’ artwork is a magnificent combination of math and science. In each illustration, atoms, numbers, and symbols synthesize flawlessly into intricate images.

The book does not mention the dangers of radiation but shows the sister’s determination to get an education in the fields they loved.

Bronia and Marie made a pact and honored it. Sisters in Science is a fascinating biography about two innovative women who worked together and made a legendary impact on chemistry and health care. The two sisters created distinct paths while keeping their bonds of sisterhood strong.

I love how the text is specific but also easy to read and understand. The illustrations enhance every part of the story. I also enjoyed reading the timeline of the sister’s life and the author’s respect and determination to share their story.

Regardless of whether your kids are fond of science, they will enjoy this beautiful true story.

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