Review Blog

Feb 12 2019

Stephen Hawking by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vagara

cover image

Ill. by Matt Hunt. Little people, big dreams series. Frances Lincoln, 2019. ISBN 9781786037329.
(Ages: 6-10) Recommended. Themes: Physicists. Biographies. 'However difficult life may, there is always something that you can do and succeed at.' Stephen Hawking's life was truly amazing and this Little people, big dreams biography opens up his life and scientific endeavours to a younger generation. Vagara presents the key facts, milestones, accomplishments and personal struggles in an enjoyable and relatable style. 'Children are sponges absorbing the world around them,' is her impetus for writing these biographies. Hawking's life is pleasingly portrayed by Matt Hunt's crisp, linear digital illustrations where dark skies shimmer with stars, dark and lighter tones shape the setting and simple stylised characters show stages of life.
Young Stephen was born during World Ward II in Oxford, England, to a family who loved science and encouraged education. His nickname at school was Einstein, he even built a computer from clock workings and an old telephone. His passion was studying the universe and he studied cosmology at Oxford University. When diagnosed with ALS, a neurodegenerative disease he determined to study the stars rather than be limited by his condition. Vagara presents this information with a simplicity suited to younger readers.
Hawking's brilliant mind turned to the study of black holes, where he discovered tiny lights escaping from them, named 'Hawking radiation' in his honour. Utilising a robotic voice, he dictated his scientific books and helped the world understand the universe. A comprehensive biography concludes this picture book, just right for students to begin researching. Vagara's Little people, big dreams series opens up children's eyes to inspirational, authentic and unique world changers.
Rhyllis Bignell

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