Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe

Nothing Stopped SophieNothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe; illustrated by Barbara McClintock. 2018. Pen-and-ink, watercolor, and collage. Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Sophie lived during the French Revolution in Paris.  During this turbulent time in history, Sophie was interested in math. Her family tried to get her to stop studying at night by taking away her candles, fires, and warm dresses to keep her in her bed and not calculating complex math problems.  By age 19, she wanted to go to a university to study math, but that was unheard of for a woman to do that. She was able to get notes from math classes and turned in assignments signing them “Monsieur LeBlanc”.  A professor came to her house and discovered she was the student. She met several scholars and was quietly becoming known. Her most famous math contribution was when she was able to find a mathematical formula that would predict vibration patterns. The Academy of Sciences had a math contest that had a prize of 3,000 francs. Sophie applied had the wrong solution. She kept testing and experimenting until 1826 when she found the answer to the problem and won.

Comments: Sections in the back are: short bio sketch, Is this Math or Science? Discover the Effects of Vibration for Yourself, Notes from the author and illustrator, and a bibliography.

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Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel by Lisa Pliscou

Brave Jane Austen

Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel by Lisa Pliscou; illustrated by Jen Corace. 2018. Gouache, ink, acrylic, and pencil. Published by Henry Holt and Company.

Brief summary: Readers learn about Jane’s childhood in the 18th century including how children lived during that time; what they did; and the limitations of career choices especially with girls. Jane did not have the same dreams and did not follow the usual footsteps of women during that time period.  Although she lived in a large house with many brothers and sister and students of her father’s, the family does have periods of poverty. We learn how difficult it was for Ms. Austen to have her stories published and how she was inspired to keep writing despite the odds against her.

Comments: This narrative nonfiction book does not have a glossary or index in the back. It does have these back sections: From the Pen of Jane Austen, Jane’s Admirers, and Learning More About Jane Austen.  The biography does not go into deep detail of her life but does give readers an idea of what it was like to be raised as a female and the limited career options women had in the 18th/19th centuries. Students will learn that it was rebellious of Jane to not marry and write instead. It was not common for women to earn their own money.