Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

Determined Dreamer

The Story of Marie Curie

Determined Dreamer The Story of Marie Curie

What is this book about?

Before Marie Curie was the first woman in France to earn the high­est degree in physics,

before she dis­cov­ered two new radioac­tive elements,

and became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (and then the first per­son to win two!) —

she was a lit­tle girl named Marie Sklodows­ka who dreamed of being a sci­en­tist — and was deter­mined to make that dream come true.

This is a com­pre­hen­sive and acces­si­ble pic­ture book biog­ra­phy of Marie Curie, the ground­break­ing sci­en­tist and two-time Nobel Prize win­ner whose life and lega­cy con­tin­ue to inspire to this very day.


“The book’s hand­some illus­tra­tions range from pre­cise­ly delin­eat­ed draw­ings of sci­ence labs to a scene show­ing Paris at night. Hopkinson’s con­cise, well-word­ed nar­ra­tive empha­sizes Curie’s back­ground, her unshak­able sense of pur­pose, and her strong work eth­ic. But it also sug­gests that child­hood aspi­ra­tions are achiev­able for those who are deter­mined.” (Book­list)

“How does a young woman shoul­der past per­son­al tragedies and gen­der prej­u­dice to achieve her dream? In Marie Curie’s case, by being ‘unstop­pable’ in her desire to become a sci­en­tist. This out­line of her bril­liant career fol­lows her from ear­ly years…to well-earned renown as the win­ner of not one but two Nobel Prizes. Hill places her small, qui­et­ly res­olute fig­ure in var­i­ous fine­ly detailed peri­od set­tings from a gen­teel fam­i­ly home in War­saw to the clut­tered lab in Paris where she con­duct­ed most of her labo­ri­ous ear­ly research.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Inter­spers­ing descrip­tion with quotes from Curie [and] a con­clud­ing seg­ment on the X‑ray units that the fig­ure helped orga­nize dur­ing WWI fur­ther ampli­fies the book’s focus on Curie’s con­tri­bu­tions. Hill’s gouache, water­col­or, and dig­i­tal illus­tra­tions echo edu­ca­tion­al text with a mut­ed palette for scenes that zero in on Curie’s stu­dious qualities—speaking to any­one start­ing out ‘as a child who want­ed to learn.’ ” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

“The text itself is easy to read and engag­ing. Hill’s illus­tra­tions illu­mi­nate the world of this era and show the obsta­cles Curie faced. Togeth­er Hop­kin­son and Hill have cre­at­ed a win­dow into the life and times of an acclaimed sci­en­tist for a young audi­ence.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“The text is par­tic­u­lar­ly impres­sive, with its plain­spo­ken yet com­pre­hen­sive expla­na­tion of the com­plex work for which Curie earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 and in Chem­istry in 1911. Hill’s appeal­ing gouache and water­col­or illus­tra­tions com­ple­ment the tex­tu­al approach, paint­ing only the impor­tant con­text for Curie’s life.” (Bul­letin of the Cen­ter for Children’s Books)

Determined Dreamer The Story of Marie Curie

author, Deb­o­rah Hopkinson
illus­tra­tor, Jen Hill
Balz­er + Bray
ages 4 and up, 2024
ISBN 978–0062373328

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