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Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain



by
Cheryl Bardoe
illustrated by
Barbara McClintock

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Hachette Book Group
Imprint
Little, Brown
ISBN
9780316278201

Awards and Honors
2019 Cook Prize Honor
2019 Mathical Prize Winner, Ages 05-07
2019 Golden Kite Award Honor, Picture Book Illustration
CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events
NSTA Best STEM Books - 2019
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This is the true story of eighteenth-century mathematician Sophie Germain, who solved the unsolvable to achieve her dream. More about Sophie Germain. Note on referenced math and science concepts. How to re-create an experiment in the book.

Selected bibliography. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Full-color illustrations created with markers, gouache, and collage.

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Details

Format

Print

Page Count

40

Trim Size

10 1/2" 10 1/2"

Dewey

510.92 B

AR

4.9: points 6

Lexile

1030L

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

3

JLG Release

Sep 2018

Book Genres


Topics

Sophie Germain (1776–1831). Women mathematicians. Biography. Mathematics and mathematicians. Nineteenth-century history of France.

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*, The Horn Book Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Booklist

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
An illuminating look into the life and work of Sophie Germain, a self-taught mathematician, who was the first woman to win a prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences. Bardoe’s prose injects the title refrain often as the story unfolds. Germain, who came of age during the French Revolution, studied math despite her parents’ wishes. Women were not allowed to attend university, but she secretly got notes from math classes and sent in homework using a male name. She worked for six years on a theorem to predict patterns of vibration, and experienced rejection at least twice before her work was accepted. The artwork—created with pen and ink, watercolor, and collage—is truly a sight to behold. McClintock depicts Germain’s inner thoughts, often numbers and equations, surrounding her and at times isolating her from others. This makes the penultimate spread of Germain’s prize-winning equation extending from her person and wrapping around the male scholars, even more triumphant in comparison. Extended back matter includes more about Germain’s life, recommendations for further research and activities, a selected bibliography, an author’s note, and an illustrator’s note. VERDICT Excellent illustrations elevate the inspiring prose, making it a highly recommended choice to the growing shelf of picture book biographies featuring women in STEM.—Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library, LA

Horn Book

An early, vivid anecdote draws readers in to this compelling picture-book biography: young Sophie Germain, in Revolutionary France, would sneak out of bed at night—to study math! “One morning Sophie was found bundled in blankets, asleep at her desk, next to a pot of ink that had frozen solid.” At nineteen, the ever-determined mathematician borrowed university course notes and surreptitiously submitted homework under a male pseudonym. Later, she twice failed an Academy of Sciences contest until finally, with her third entry, she became the first woman awarded a grand prize, for her work on predicting vibration patterns. Bardoe’s writing is graceful and lyrical: “Telling Sophie not to think about math was like telling a bird not to soar.” And it’s powerful, too: the phrase “nothing stopped Sophie” is repeated throughout the story, serving as a nevertheless-shepersisted refrain that also ties in neatly with current math education thinking on “grit and growth” mindset. But what will make readers revisit this book are McClintock’s spirited illustrations. Rendered in gouache, collage, and colored markers, they feature turn-of-the-nineteenth-century details (period clothing, quill pens, oil lamps) and bold, whimsical touches: Sophie’s swirling math equations literally knock the hats off male scholars’ heads. It all adds up to an inspiring portrait of the plucky, self-taught mathematician. Further biographical, historical, and mathematical information; a bibliography; and author and illustrator notes are appended. -Tanya D. Auger, Horn Book

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
An illuminating look into the life and work of Sophie Germain, a self-taught mathematician, who was the first woman to win a prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences. Bardoe’s prose injects the title refrain often as the story unfolds. Germain, who came of age during the French Revolution, studied math despite her parents’ wishes. Women were not allowed to attend university, but she secretly got notes from math classes and sent in homework using a male name. She worked for six years on a theorem to predict patterns of vibration, and experienced rejection at least twice before her work was accepted. The artwork—created with pen and ink, watercolor, and collage—is truly a sight to behold. McClintock depicts Germain’s inner thoughts, often numbers and equations, surrounding her and at times isolating her from others. This makes the penultimate spread of Germain’s prize-winning equation extending from her person and wrapping around the male scholars, even more triumphant in comparison. Extended back matter includes more about Germain’s life, recommendations for further research and activities, a selected bibliography, an author’s note, and an illustrator’s note. VERDICT Excellent illustrations elevate the inspiring prose, making it a highly recommended choice to the growing shelf of picture book biographies featuring women in STEM.—Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library, LA

Horn Book

An early, vivid anecdote draws readers in to this compelling picture-book biography: young Sophie Germain, in Revolutionary France, would sneak out of bed at night—to study math! “One morning Sophie was found bundled in blankets, asleep at her desk, next to a pot of ink that had frozen solid.” At nineteen, the ever-determined mathematician borrowed university course notes and surreptitiously submitted homework under a male pseudonym. Later, she twice failed an Academy of Sciences contest until finally, with her third entry, she became the first woman awarded a grand prize, for her work on predicting vibration patterns. Bardoe’s writing is graceful and lyrical: “Telling Sophie not to think about math was like telling a bird not to soar.” And it’s powerful, too: the phrase “nothing stopped Sophie” is repeated throughout the story, serving as a nevertheless-shepersisted refrain that also ties in neatly with current math education thinking on “grit and growth” mindset. But what will make readers revisit this book are McClintock’s spirited illustrations. Rendered in gouache, collage, and colored markers, they feature turn-of-the-nineteenth-century details (period clothing, quill pens, oil lamps) and bold, whimsical touches: Sophie’s swirling math equations literally knock the hats off male scholars’ heads. It all adds up to an inspiring portrait of the plucky, self-taught mathematician. Further biographical, historical, and mathematical information; a bibliography; and author and illustrator notes are appended. -Tanya D. Auger, Horn Book

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