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Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

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"What if superheroes didn't have supernatural powers, but were humans with incredible drive, who worked really hard to expand their knowledge? What if our superheroes were scientists?"

This first book in the My Super Science Heroes series is about Marie Curie and her remarkable power of persistence. Using a fictionalized storytelling approach, readers will learn about key moments in Marie Curie's life that showcase how she used her persistence to discover Radium and Polonium.

The My Super Science Heroes series aims to highlight key traits and characteristics (super powers!) that all children embody, showing how those skills can play a meaningful role in helping people reach their dreams. Each trait is paired with a specific scientist who flexed that super power to great effect in their own life, in this case - the indefatigable Marie Curie.

This is the AMAZING (mostly) true story of how Marie Curie used her superpower to change the world.

This series is scientifically vetted and supported by the Marie Curie Alumni Association, which promotes the worldwide advancement of knowledge. The series

48 pages, Hardcover

Published April 1, 2020

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About the author

Karla Valenti

7 books34 followers
Karla Arenas Valenti is the best selling author of LOTERIA and other magical realist novels, chapter books, and picture books. Her storytelling is heavily influenced by her Mexican heritage and often seeped in Mexican mythology and lore. Profound philosophical concepts provide the foundation for many of her stories. She currently resides in the Chicagoland area.

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5 stars
43 (58%)
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22 (30%)
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7 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,828 reviews508 followers
January 27, 2020
Who doesn't love a book about a strong female character? Especially a girl like me who grew up needing some strong female influences!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence is a wonderful, little book that is a must read for children.

To begin with, there is a super, evil villain who has decided the best way to ruin the world is to stop the spread of knowledge! This monster is big, mean and scary and seems to be content with his super devious plan. In walks Marie Curie, a woman who will turn into a superhero scientist through her amazing intelligence and experiments! Our evil villain wants Marie Curie stopped before she can get too smart and stop his wicked plans. Along the way, we will learn how Marie Curie is full of persistence in many different ways!

This little book is a wonderful mix of fiction and non-fiction. There's lots of learning opportunities about this super scientist scattered among the pages. Definitions, facts and timelines about Marie Curie and information about the things she studied and created are all available to see. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good STEM book for their kids, especially since it's about Marie Curie. She was a legend!

Also: references... in a children's book... I LOVE IT.

On a side note, I thought the pictures were lovely and very unique. I haven't seen this style a lot in children's books, so I was impressed. It was colourful, fun and had lots of awesome details.

I am so thankful for this book. It is absolutely amazing and I wish I would have had books like this in my youth. Hopefully many kids are able to pick this book up or many educators get their hands on it! Seriously, we need more books like this - educational and fun!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Explore for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book!
Profile Image for debbicat *made of stardust*.
733 reviews108 followers
April 2, 2020
5 stars!!!! This is an adorably illustrated, well-written book that blends biography and juvenile fiction. Persistence is at the core of what Marie Curie trusts in. She fights some monsters and villains to get the job done and thankfully comes out a winner. So well done. Kids will love the superhero concept and will be engaged while reading. I really loved it and highly recommend it.

I am thankful to NetGalley for a digital copy to read for review. This the first in a series of this type and I hope to get to read the others. A great book for our kids to read in the world today.
2 reviews
November 25, 2019
I backed this book from its crowdfunding campaign, and therefore received an advanced copy. I love it.

I love the concept of empowering children to become real-life superheroes, using role models who in fact have achieved acts of "heroism" without having to recur to make believe powers.

This books talks about the power of persistence. This is such a critical value for children to learn, and an important one for them to see play out in the life of Marie Curie. A real-life superheroe who must have been faced with, seemingly, a perpetual set of roads that should have ended in dead-ends for her.

And yet - she persisted. And through persistence was awarded two nobel prizes, among many other more lasting achievements that we all benefit from today.

A great book for your kids! I look forward to more books from this series to come out!!
Profile Image for Carolyn Leiloglou.
Author 3 books55 followers
December 6, 2019
Such a fun way to introduce kids to an amazing scientist and encourage them to build their own perseverance! Kids will be pulled in by the super hero motif.
Profile Image for Alexis.
360 reviews5 followers
January 9, 2020
This is an adorably illustrated, well-written book that seamlessly blends biography and juvenile fiction. The parallel stories of Marie Curie beating the odds at every turn, while her monster tries to stop her, create a very kid-friendly metaphor for working hard at what you find important. The underlying message of ignorance breeding fear and making people easy to control, on behalf of the bad guys, is a message more timely than ever. Our local 3rd graders do biography projects every year and I can’t wait to recommend this book when it is “Wax Museum Season” at the library.
Profile Image for Vivian Kirkfield.
Author 10 books138 followers
April 15, 2020
When I was a kid, I always loved nonfiction...I'd even read the Encyclopedia Britannica. How awesome that kids today can have a book like Marie Curie and the Power of Persistance! I love how the author engages the child reader with this modern Super Hero slant, while staying true to what Marie Curie was all about. And the illustrations are FABULOUS...just look at the cover! A must have, especially for young girls!
Profile Image for Jess.
Author 3 books11 followers
February 21, 2020
There is a lot to love about this book - the focus on important women in science history, the well-crafted text, the vibrant illustrations - but what really stands out to me is the theme of persistence. I love the way the author weaves in a nemesis in the form of Opposition, and Marie must persist through all kinds of barriers and doubt. Whether you are a young person interested in a career in the sciences, the arts, or Olympic handball, persistence is a character trait you need to develop and grow in order to succeed, and this book exemplifies that on every page.
Profile Image for Angela.
125 reviews
December 11, 2019
My ten year old can't get enough books about women in STEM fields. This was a hit with both her and her much younger sister. The biographical material kept one interested while the monster voices and nice graphics appealed to the other. It was a bit long for the younger kiddo, but regardless, it was enjoyed.
Profile Image for Mrs. Mazzola.
258 reviews15 followers
June 30, 2020
This fictionalized biography of Marie Curie is fun and engaging and has an interesting structure (a frame story where a super villain is attempting to stop her from growing to be a science super hero by sending one of his minions to create obstacles in her life), that will definitely make this appealing to my students. The back matter is great and includes a glossary, timeline, and extra resources. My only one concern is that the blend of fact and fiction might make it confusing for those without any background information on Marie Curie, so I would want to pair this with a different reference-style biography to supplement that information.

**Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a digital copy in exchange for this review.**
Profile Image for Sho Lala.
46 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2021
Surprise PERFECT library find on our first day of homeschooling. Perfect messages for kids persevering in these years of pandemic school. We loved it!
33 reviews
April 2, 2020
Where would we be without Marie Curie? I love how this book posed the work of Marie and mixed in some "monsters" that tried to slow her down and stop her along the way. What a great way to show that persistence and hard work goes a long way!
Profile Image for Johnell Dewitt.
30 reviews10 followers
February 23, 2020
My favorite books when I was young were the Value Books, a series about remarkable men and women and their accomplishments as it related to an attribute. For example, the value for the biography on Louis Pasteur was titled: The Value of Believing in Yourself. Harriet Tubman's was The Value of Helping, and Florence Nightingale's was The Value of Compassion. The protagonists throughout the series had fictional companions, such as a bird, mouse, etc., that encouraged them along the way. These animal companions drew me even further into their stories while never detracting from the factual elements. I checked those books out of my library hundreds of times over the course of my childhood, and when I had children, I tracked them down until I was able to acquire my favorites. I wanted my children to have access to the same stories that had empowered me to push through discouraging times.

MARIE CURIE AND THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE is a wonderful, modern telling of Marie's story that warms me in the same way my favorite childhood Value Books did. I am a kid again learning empowering values through people that really lived! And the same courage that The Value Books instilled in me is found in Valenti's narrative.

The aptly named "Super Evil Nemesis" dispatches his minion Mr. Opposition (Mr. O) to convince Marie to give up whenever a struggle lands in her way. Illustrator Annalisa Beghelli's depictions of the two villains makes them prickly but not overly scary, and relatable to a child whose fears and obstacles take on the life of a monster with teeth and claws.

Marie persists through the misogyny of the day, family disasters, and personal setbacks, with Mr. O at her side. Nemesis, meanwhile, is growing angrier that Mr. O has not been able to stop the determined Marie from gaining and sharing knowledge--something Nemesis is firmly against as it will ruin his plans to maintain power through ignorance. While Marie remains strong in her resolve to gain and spread knowledge throughout the book, Mr. O weakens (in perfect correlation with Marie's successes and recognitions) until Mr. O is overcome and Nemesis' evil plans are foiled.

The text and art are engaging for young readers, even as early as kindergarten, but the facts woven in and strength of Marie's life will work equally well with older readers. In short, MARIE CURIE AND THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE is a book I would have read thousands of times as a child and fallen in love with each time. It's a tale of hope and resilience that many parents, educators and young readers wish they had more of. And now they do.
Profile Image for Becky Shillington.
32 reviews47 followers
February 26, 2020
From the first pages of Valenti’s brilliantly conceived story, little Marie Curie conquers every obstacle in her way and refuses to let the evil Mr. Opposition keep her from reaching her goals. This persistence serves Marie well; although she lives at a time when women are not encouraged to pursue college educations, she continues to defeat the opposition and earns degrees in physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. After marrying scientist Pierre Curie and going on to have a stellar career researching physics and chemistry, Marie wins two Nobel Prizes, becoming the first woman ever to win this prestigious award and accomplishing a long list of other things, as well. And although pesky Mr. O keeps trying to make her fail, Super Science Hero Marie ultimately defeats him, once and for all!

In this fun, informative picture book, Beghelli’s colorful, detailed illustrations blend with a superhero vs. villain storyline to create a unique and fast-paced read-aloud for kids. Marie Curie’s story is compelling and fascinating, and the obstacles the real-life historical figure faced were tremendous. Valenti’s forthright account of Marie’s life mixed with sneaky Mr. Opposition’s interference will hold children’s interest and encourage them to seek out more information about this important woman. The scientific facts sprinkled throughout are well-explained and accessible and encourage readers toward further study. Chemistry and physics are also nicely presented here, giving elementary readers a brief introduction to these concepts, as well.
Profile Image for Derick Wilder.
30 reviews3 followers
February 25, 2020
Karla Valenti cooks up an appealing compound of fact and fiction in “Madame Curie and the Power of Persistence”. Stirring in the colorful, bold illustrations of Annalisa Beghelli results in a story that depicts an incredible scientist, highlights a strong female historical figure, and illustrates the countless roadblocks Marie Curie overcame on her journey to scientific discovery.

But while books have been written about her life, what sets this one apart, and makes it especially engaging for readers of all ages, is the superhero theme. Deep in his cave, Super Evil Nemesis plots to the rule world by, bwa-ha-haaa, stopping the spread of knowledge. And Nemesis believe he has just the minion for the job, Mr. O (Opposition). But will Mr. O be able to thwart Marie Curie’s indomitable spirit, or will he ultimately succumb to her superpower: Persistence?

This first edition of My Super Science Heroes blends a fun storyline with back matter than includes a glossary, a timeline of Marie Curie's life, and a summary of the impact of her discoveries…making it indeed super!
Profile Image for Jami Gigot.
Author 6 books12 followers
March 2, 2020
A fantastic book about determination against opposition. The story is entertaining and fun with Mr. Evil Nemesis and his minions, but still chock full of interesting facts and details of Marie Curie's life and accomplishments.
Profile Image for Melanie Dulaney.
1,376 reviews66 followers
February 20, 2020
Interesting amalgamation of fact and fiction in this biography of Marie Curie. I personally found the presence of super villains attempting to thwart her pursuit of knowledge in an attempt to curb the increase of knowledge enabling them to take over the world a bit off-putting. However, reading this book to students 12 and under, it would allow for great voice adaptations which increases engagement between listener and reader. Also, the theme of persistence is illustrated in a very kid-friendly way by using not only the facts of Madame Curie’s life but the actions of characters who are quite relatable to today’s fans of the Avengers, etc. Both Science and ELA teachers will find much to like in this book: text features such as timelines, text boxes abound, difficult vocabulary is defined in a non-traditional glossary as well as with context-rich text, and science and mathematics are presented as exciting fields of study for both men and women. Art teachers could conceivably use the excellent illustrations in their classrooms as well. Understandable omission from this very positive presentation of the advancement of science is the deaths of both Marie and one of her daughters, likely due to the very materials that led to such scientific advances. All in all, a great selection for a great variety of uses with readers ages 8-12. (Thanks for the ARC, Sourcebooks. It’s higher than usual quality presentation will make it a great gift for one of my library patrons or a teacher on my campus.)
Profile Image for Kaitlyn.
138 reviews16 followers
February 25, 2020
Karla Valenti has created an exciting and innovative way of reading about important people in STEM. Kids and teachers are going to eat this up for its inventive analogy and entertaining storytelling. And BONUS, they'll be enjoying learning! As I was reading, I kept thinking how creative this approach to writing is. The story itself is wonderfully told and the facts included are interesting as well as presented in a fun, cool way that I just adore. And illustrator Annalisa Beghelli's creative art is the perfect match for this inventive storytelling style.
177 reviews
February 12, 2020
"My Super Science Heroes" is a new series that puts the spotlight on significant contributors in the science field. Illustrator Annalisa Beghelli, creates a vivid world of rich colors and elaborate detail on each page of this book perfect for 8-12 year olds to read on their own (or for younger children to be read to).

Author Karla Valenti adds an element of fantasy by introducing "Nemesis" who employs minions to thwart heroes on their journeys. Mr. Opposition shows up as a fantastical bird-like creature who inserts himself into Marie's life. He represents hurdles encountered throughout her life such as the limited educational options for girls or the financial hardships that delayed her pursuit of higher education. But Mr. Opposition was no match for Ms. Curie's superpower of Persistence.

Young readers will be amazed at all Ms. Curie accomplished during her lifetime. This series will certainly inspire current and future generations to persist in learning, growing and discovering more about the world around them. I highly recommend this thoroughly engaging and educational book!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence from NetGalley for the purpose of review. Opinions expressed are mine.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
2,093 reviews26 followers
February 1, 2020
With a fantasy element of Super Evil Nemesis and his minions, particularly Mr. Opposition (Mr. O for short), this book tells the story of Marie Curie's life. The colorful illustrations support the story line of a young superhero as she develops her skills, in spite of obstacles in life, by using the power of persistence. Facing down challenges such as restrictions on education for women or the cost of university life in Paris, Marie overcomes each difficulty and forges ahead. Mr. O and Nemesis are cartoon monsters who do their best to block Marie's progress in pursuing her dreams and adding to human knowledge. The fictional opponents personify actual hardships and make the story more approachable for young readers. Back matter includes a glossary of terms that explains concepts such as the Nobel Prize and radiography, a timeline of important events in Curie's life, and a brief review of the impact her discoveries made.

Recommended for middle grade readers who enjoy biographies, graphic novel illustration style, and scientific breakthroughs. I read an e-book provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Savannah.
318 reviews30 followers
September 8, 2020
This is a fun way to teach kids about one of the most accomplished women in science! Marie Curie broke so many barriers down so we could succeed.
Profile Image for Maria Marshall.
362 reviews68 followers
June 3, 2020
Karla Valenti decided instead to "break with literary paradigms." Instead of a traditional nonfiction biography, she created an informational fiction that explores the character traits and abilities of Marie Curie which enabled her to succeed in earning two Nobel Prizes.
I think this book will appeal to multiple audiences. Annalisa Beghelli's colorful, comic book-like art, particularly of the head villain "Super Evil Nemesis" and Mr. Opposition (Mr. O), will help some kids enjoy learning about Marie Curie. While the fact-filled evaluation of Marie's personality, persistence, and intelligence will appeal to those who prefer a more expository format.
The sidebar "Alerts," wonderful historical elements within the illustrations, glossary, and a timeline add to the factual offerings of the book. Overall, it succeeds in being an unusual and fascinating look at the personality and determination behind the super scientist Marie Curie. One that I think will appeal to many kids.
Profile Image for Beth.
3,182 reviews13 followers
November 15, 2020
The conceit of this book is that Mr Nemesis, a blobby supervillian, dispatches his minion to thwart Curie since before she can do great things. But despite the drag of the colorful creature she learns to read, saves up for education, makes discoveries, and eventually wins the loyalty of the minion and Mr Nemesis is left to gnash his teeth. So the beats and illustrations of major life events have the sneaky minion lurking somewhere, which gives some extra fun to the read.

Of course, the metaphor is fairly real in that sexism was a huge drag on her career but I don't think there's a mastermind behind it, just basic human nature. People are pretty awful a lot of times. But it's a fun read and informative. The backmatter is internet webpages for more information and a summary of the lasting effects of Curie's discoveries: radium, x-rays, atomic nature, and the truth of women's capabilities.
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,417 reviews12 followers
January 17, 2021
Picture book biography. Illustrated, thorough biography of Marie Curie that goes from her birth through multiple levels of schooling to meeting her husband and her science work as an adult. I loved the way this information was presented, I have a better understanding of radioactivity as an adult now. The amount of backmatter included was impressive--4 page glossary, detailed timeline, summary of the impacts of her discoveries, and a web resource list. Though I appreciated the emphasis on persistence and think that was a great thing to emphasize, I did not care for the "villain," Mr. Opposition who kept telling her she couldn't do it. I thought that was distracting and also confusing (why is there a 4-legged red bird watching a toddler closer than her parents?) Overall a solid biography if you can past the cartoony villains in the illustrations.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
June 17, 2020
Hmmmm. Maybe better for students who already know about Marie Curie, this picture book blends fact and fiction, posing that evil supervillains are trying to take over the world by disrupting science superheroes like Marie Curie. Try as they might to prevent her from her scientific accomplishments, Curie persists and becomes the science superhero she was destined to be. It's a cute concept and I think it has the potential to really appeal to kids, but I'd make sure to pair it with an actual biography because I think it needs some scaffolding.
Profile Image for Anne Y.
6 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2020
A clever and unusual take on the picture book biography. Valenti has woven the facts of Curie's life into the much larger picture of what the scientist epitomises, and created an inspirational story. Readers will enjoy discovering the way Beghelli's bold pictures add a parallel consideration to the text.
That I got goosebumps on my second reading, days after the first, attests to its re-readability. A standout book.
I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.
Profile Image for Raven Black.
1,964 reviews5 followers
January 26, 2021
This biography has pieces of information I was unaware of about Curie. It is a good introduction to her. And even if you think you know, you might pick up things as well. The only part I did not like was the fantastical element of "fantasy beasts" that want to stop Curie (and in turn the knowledge she gains and gives to the world) by tossing in obstacles and other hardships. However, it will be the perfect addition to stop the flow of traditionally biographical information in a story format.
Profile Image for Mary Norell Hedenstrom.
567 reviews6 followers
August 16, 2020
Maria Curie's story ws manufactured into a fantasy where supposed minions were trying to thwart her superpower/success/intelligence.
Profile Image for Bon Kim.
464 reviews
September 29, 2020
This book was fun. I learned about how Marie Curie persisted and got an education.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews

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