Lexi and Marie Curie Saving Lives in World War I

July 19, 2014

According to myth, cats have nine lives, and Alexander Catt II (also known as Lexi) has spent his former lives with scientists of medicine throughout history. In these adventures, Lexi witnesses medical breakthroughs and discoveries, and learns the value of hard work and integrity.

In Lexi and Marie Curie Save Lives and Limbs in World War I, Lexi lives in France with the Curie family at the beginning of the 20th century. When injured soldiers return from the warfront, Marie realizes the need for x-ray services, and sets to work providing these to the doctors at the front. In doing so, she saves countless lives and limbs.

 

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“This is a fascinating and unusual book for readers in intermediate grades. Lexi and Marie Curie introduces readers to the amazing story of scientist Marie Curie, whose isolation of radium, among other discoveries, led to her being awarded the Nobel Prize in both Physics and Chemistry. Shut out of much of the formal scientific academy, Marie forges her own path, one that paves the way for her daughters and for generations of girls and women whose curiosity is sparked by “STEM” – science, technology, engineering and math.

Author Marian Keen’s eye for detail draws the reader in to Marie Curie’s life, her triumphs and disappointments. Published to coincide with the centenary of the start of the Great War, the book brings readers back to the tremendous upheaval of this terrible conflict. Readers are treated to details about the roles of animals at the front, the challenges of cooking when food is scarce, and the important contribution of women nurses at the front. The story focuses on Marie Curie’s lesser known work in setting up mobile x-ray units in field hospitals that could accurately locate shrapnel, allowing field surgeons to save lives and preserve limbs. The writing is accessible and the descriptions of war are honest but age-appropriate.

This book will serve as a useful reminder to both girls and boys that women have been making history in all fields of endeavor for a very long time, and that our pioneers ought not to be forgotten. Lexi and Marie Curie will encourage girls, in particular, not to take “no” for an answer and to rely on their wits and ingenuity to find a solution to even the most difficult problems that life throws their way.”

Janine Benedet, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada

“Through the eyes, ears, and tail of Lexi Catt, Marian Keen brings to life the wonderful story of the Curies, told in an immediately engaging style for children.  Marian skilfully weaves in difficulties experienced by women during that era, and how they were overcome by Marie and her daughters through their dedication, skills, and knowledge.  The telling of the work of Marie and the “petites Curies” during World War I is remarkable in its emotive immediacy – the reader is carried along in the scenes with them.  Marian’s bringing together of the history of war, the history of science, and the attitudes and ways of thinking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in a way that is understandable and attractive to children, is masterful.”

Richard Coles, Ph.D., former teacher of Physics and other Sciences, research geophysicist, past president of a branch of The Royal Canadian Legion.

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About the author:

Marian Keen (Meg) has been writing in a variety of genres since the 1980s, with a special interest in historical fiction for children and youth.

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