Review Blog

Feb 15 2019

The extraordinary life of Stephen Hawking by Kate Scott

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Ill. by Esther Mols. Extraordinary lives series. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241373927.
(Age: 7-10) Highly recommended. Themes: Biography; Stephen Hawking; Scientists; Science; Cosmology. In a very unpretentious format, with simple language and naive illustrations, this biography of Stephen Hawking introduces this amazing man of Science to youthful readers. Explanations of his journey as a scientist and cosmologist, while coping with the difficulties of his diagnosis and life with MND, are described with side notes to explain any complex terms. Basic family history and Hawking's appearance or influence in popular media and film are also included. Obviously, the science of cosmology needs to be explained at a fundamental level for the target audience, and this is done well. Disability and the resilience of Stephen Hawking is described with sensitivity. A time line of his life completes the biography.
This series makes biography a great alternative to a fiction text for youthful readers. This is certainly easy enough for readers aged 7-10 to manage. The use of green text and illustrations also will appeal to the visual generation. The book also includes excerpts from two other biographies in the series: Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama. With more biographies planned to be released, this will be a great series to collect for school libraries or to add to a reading program.
Carolyn Hull

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