Sisters in Science: Marie Curie, Bronia Dluska, and the Atomic Power of Sisterhood
Linda Elovitz Marshall
Illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso
February 14, 2023
Marie and Bronia grew up in a home surrounded by love, learning, and tragedy. Losing their mother and sister when they were quite young inspired the sisters to discover ways to help others. They supported each other through school and beyond in their journey to become a doctor and scholar in search of medical miracles. Each grew to make significant impacts on their chosen field, and on each other’s lives, through their curiosity, determination, and courage. This picture book biography of Marie Curie and Bronia Dluska explores the lives of the brave and brilliant sisters as they broke gender boundaries and cultural norms in late 1800s Poland to educate themselves and others in their quest to save the world. Marshall tells the story of their progress from young students to scientific trailblazers in a factual, often bleak, manner, broken by moments of whimsy. She describes the struggles between work and family obligations, accompanied by a moody-toned illustration of the conflict, leading into a spring-like spread of Marie and her husband Pierre on their bicycling honeymoon (p. 10-13). She balances moments from their personal biographies with their professional accomplishments, crafting an example of strong, but well-rounded women in science as role models for young readers, developing scientists, and sisters of all ages. Sisters Anna and Elena Balbusso’s geometric, sepia-toned, mixed media illustrations capture the STEM focus and historic setting to perfection. Utilizing imagery of atomic bonds, equations, and lab equipment against poignant images of the family, they reinforce the conflicting priorities that must have been a constant struggle for the women during that time period (and often still are). A time line and reading list (for children and adults) adds weight to this inspirational addition to STEM and Women’s History Month collections and programming.
A story of sisterhood and intellectual curiosity that lead to some of the great medical and scientific discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries.