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Hedy Lamarr's Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  32 reviews
“Revelatory to young audiences in more ways than one.” —Kirkus

“Many STEM-for-girls biographies fan excitement over women’s achievements, but this title actually brings the central scientific concept within middle-grade reach.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Movie star by day, ace inventor at night: learn about the hidden life of actress Hedy Lamarr!
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Sterling Children's Books
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4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Simple and informative and adorable.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
When my sister and I were kids, there was nothing we liked better than to watch an old black and white movie on a rainy, snowy, and/or cold Sunday afternoon. And among the films we watched were more than a few starring Hedy Lamarr. She was a wonderful actor. We never would have guessed that she had led a double life as an inventor and that one of her inventions would impact our lives years later.

In her picture book biography for older readers, Laurie Wallmark looks at both sides of Lamarr's life
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An engaging and entertaining tale of the brains behind a Hollywood legend. I love how playing the piano inspired Hedy to invent a secure torpedo guidance system. This book gives clear and easily understood descriptions of frequency hopping and how her pioneering work helps us keep cell phone calls and texts private. My favorite quote: "Do good anyway...think big anyway."An inspiring message from an inspiring woman.
Diana Murray
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally thorough and well-explained account of a fascinating historical figure. It's about time she gets credit for her amazing contributions! This book has loads of classroom applications and would definitely stir up a desire to be inventive. And I loved the illustrations.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iris
IRIS March 7
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Loved how the author showed the complete life of this talented woman. Also loved the fact that I could causally mention her story to my sci-fi loving brother and he knew all about Hedy’s contribution.
Gina Perry
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating story about a Hollywood legend AND inventor. Before reading this, I hadn't known anything about Hedy Lamarr's life as an inventor and the specific invention shared in this story. Kids and teachers alike will love the layers of information in this book, beautifully married together by the illustrator, writer, and designer. Certainly a great STEM book, but also so appealing for young students interested in biographies.
Kirsti Call
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Engaging and informative!
Tonja Drecker
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hollywood glamour meets scientific brains in a way to inspire kids that even more interesting dreams can come true.

Hedy Lamarr was a famous actress, known for her films with the biggest stars, but she had a lesser known side to her life too. Hedy was a curious person with an inventive touch. Noticing things which could be improved around her, she created various inventions in her free time. Most were never patented. But one invention of hers was quite ingenious and is now used in daily life toda
Baby Bookworm
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends! Our book today is Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor, written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu, a look at the talented and brilliant icon.

While most of the world may know Hedy Lamarr as a beauty and Hollywood starlet, many never knew that she was a brilliant and prolific inventor. She never sold any of her inventions, finding satisfaction in solving problems and improving products using her ingenuity and intelligence. That is until she
Chana Stiefel
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In Laurie Wallmark’s newest picture book, readers are introduced to the surprising and fascinating double life of Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr. Not only did Lamarr star in 35 films, but she was also a brilliant inventor who designed a secret communications system known as frequency hopping (among many other more fun inventions including a glow-in-the-dark dog collar and fizzy flavor drink cubes!). The illustrations by Katy Wu blend perfectly with Wallmark’s spot-on storytelling and gift for expl ...more
Gabrielle Stoller
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not going to lie, but I did not really know the backstory of Hedy Lamarr. Granted, I watched her in several Hollywood films. BUT I did not know that she was an inventor. Wow. There is so much more to her story than being an actress and having six marriages.

This picture book talks about her "frequency hopping" invention that she worked on in the 1940's. Her hope was that it would block transmissions so the Nazis would not intercept American tordepos. However, this technology was not even declassi
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sterling Children's Books is doing a fabulous job of acquiring titles about women in STEM and Hedy Lamarr's Double Life is yet another great addition (the same author has written about Admiral Grace Hopper). The story of Hedy's interest in science and invention plus her love of acting describes how both of those interests grew from her childhood on and how she and another scientist came up with frequency hopping, which is used today as a security feature in modern electronics. While I would have ...more
Lilith Day
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most people knew Hedy Lamar as an actress. However, she was more than just a pretty face. Behind closed doors she was an inventor and engineer. The loved creating new things so much, she invented technology that we use on a daily basis.

This book was not only a fun biography, but it spoke to many groups of people.

This was a lesson on female empowerment as well as a book with a strong female role. Hedy was an inspiration as well. When the whole world thought one thing, she perused a whole side o
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are those who embrace the occupation or calling for which they are best known every single day. There are others who do what they love outside of the public eye. Many pursue daily work in order to afford to follow their true passion. The secret is to not give up your dream. You are destined to make a difference.

Today is International Women's Day 2019. The theme this year is #BalanceforBetter. It's time for a more gender-balanced world with, for one, notice given to the achievements of wome
Jenna Grodzicki
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hedy Lamarr was known throughout the world as a famous actress. What most people didn't realize, however, was that she was also a brilliant inventor. Her invention, frequency hopping, which she developed with George Antheil, is used today in cell phones and other electronics. Laurie Wallmark's engaging text grabs readers right from the beginning and explains the intricacies of Hedy's invention in a way young readers can understand. Hedy was a woman who didn't have to choose between her two passi ...more
Katey Howes
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hedy Lamarr is remembered for her starring roles and stunning looks - but behind that pretty face was an incredible mind. This latest picture book biography by talented author Laurie Wallmark helps readers understand Hedy's curiosity, passion, and penchant for understanding how things work - and creating ways to make them better. Katy Wu's bright illustrations are a great compliment to the straight-forward text, and quotes from Lamarr are sprinkled throughout. Illustrations and explanations work ...more
Melissa Stoller
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this STEM picture book biography, Laurie Hallmark shines the spotlight on a famous movie actress who was also a brilliant inventor (who knew?). As a child, Hedy was passionate about acting and also inventing, and as an adult she was able to do both. Hallmark makes a complicated invention easy to understand for young readers, and her back matter about Lamarr's invention and also her movies, as well as the historical context of the time period, provide extra enrichment. Also interesting is that ...more
Eileen Meyer
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating biography of film star and (little-known) inventor Hedy Lamarr. Katy Wu's illustrations are gorgeous and provide an engaging backdrop to Laurie Wallmark's insightful text. Who knew about the STEM skills of a glamourous Hollywood film actress? Hedy and George Antheil's tale of teamwork and perseverance is a great example for young scientists who have a passion for solving difficult problems, too! Hedy's story demonstrates that people are multi-layered and multi-talented, and ...more
I loved this fascinating picture book biography of one of my favorite classic movie stars. I had no idea that this famous actress was also a brilliant scientist and inventor! With boldly colored illustrations and narrative text that tells a compelling life story, young readers will be inspired to follow their own dreams. I love how Lamarr's father encouraged her to pursue science at a time when young girls generally didn't. She also followed her artistic dreams, which led her to become a Hollywo ...more
Jessica Rinker
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing Women in Stem biography from Wallmark. Hedy was a renaissance woman and I love how all of the facets of her life are explored. Some quotes are included in this story, giving us a real look into her character as well. There's a lot of detail about the technology she developed, which will really please young readers who are into science and technology, and overall the message of how beauty is lovely, but not everything. Hedy embraced herself and her talents to the fullest and that ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: engineering
The explanation of frequency-hopping spread spectrum here was fantastic, in both the text and the illustrations.

The book shows Lamarr's family and friends working with her and encouraging her in both acting and her STEM interests, which I appreciated. Collaboration is really valued here, as well.

Also appreciated that Lamarr was allowed to be frustrated/angry in the book.

Some of the order of the story didn't quite feel natural to me, like it was trying to roadmap but wasn't clear about it?
Andria Rosenbaum
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The vibrant illustrations and crisp, rich text of this biography are easy to digest. Laurie Wallmark's scrupulously researched story shows readers that Hedy Lamarr was much more than just a pretty face. She had a brilliant, inventive mind and was eager to solve technological problems. Her love for engineering and science will inspire kids of all ages. Readers will be impressed by the fact that her inventions play an important and relevant part in today's technology. Highly recommended!
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hedy Lamarr's extraordinary life deserves an extraordinary book, and Laurie Wallmark delivers in this biographical picture book about Lamarr's life as a big screen actress, and her incredible inventions that still make life easier for people today. The in depth back matter provides even more interesting details about Lamarr's life and achievements. Katy Wu's beautiful illustrations perfectly match the subject matter. Another wonderful biography of women in STEM!
Jodi McKay
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an extraordinary book about an extraordinary women! Hedy Lamarr's brilliance shines in this story. Her curiosity, creativity, drive, intelligence, and philanthropic spirit were center stage whereas her name usually brings up only her beauty and movie screen persona. I'm so glad that children (and adults) get to learn about her other life and in turn, truly learn what it means to not judge a book by it's cover. Bravo to Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu!
Kayla Harren
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this empowering story of a woman who was more than just a beautiful face. The illustrations are excellent and I was captivated by this amazing story. The complicated science was explained and drawn in a way that even I, someone who cowers at the mention of numbers and frequencies, was able to understand.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating biography of actor and inventor Hedy Lamarr should be required reading for all children, because it shows that one can be and do so many things in life and that one passion informs and even makes the other's possible. Hedy is a Renaissance woman who followed many muses and is a role model for a life well lived.
Katie Lawrence
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent picture book biography on Hedy Lamarr's work both in film and in technology. I thought Wallmark did a great job making something kind of technical understandable for any reader. It seemed like a good amount of information for a 3-4 grade reader with great additional resources included at the back. An amazing contribution to science/tech that still impacts our day-t0-day lives.
Sophia Gholz
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing and thorough account of a brilliant historical figure. Wallmark captures the tale of actress Hedy Lamarr in fascinating and easily accessible way that will enchant readers of all ages. The STEAM themes and engaging back matter provide excellent resources for teachers and librarians. This must-read will make a fabulous addition to any library.
Maureen Tully
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Award-winning author Laurie Wallmark’s debut picture book, ADA BYRON LOVELACE AND THE THINKING MACHINE (Creston Books, 2015), received four starred trade reviews (Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal) and many national awards including Outstanding Science Trade Book and Cook Prize Honor Book. Her picture book biography, GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE (Sterling Chil ...more